CRM: A Journey, Not a Destination
Suppose you bought a house, moved your furniture and appliances in, and then moved your family in. Do you think you would not change anything about the house or its furnishings as long as you lived there?
Of course not. You will want to paint, change the curtains, and swap out furniture as your tastes evolve. Your family might grow and require new furnishings and decorations. You might even outgrow the house, in which case you’ll need to decide whether to add on some rooms or move to a larger place.
The same is true of mission-critical business software systems such as ERP and CRM. No major business system should remain frozen in time after deployment. Even if the system perfectly meets the needs of the business on Day 1, it won’t stay that way forever. Enterprises have many reasons to enhance their business systems:
- Development of new products, product lines, lines of business, and markets
- Mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures
- Deployment of other systems that need to be integrated
- Implementation of new or modified business processes
- Changes in business goals, strategies, or priorities
- Availability of new features, functionality, or technology from the software provider
Your CRM system should be designed for flexibility so it can evolve as your business grows. In the ideal case, it will scale up to support any level of growth so you don’t have to shop for a new solution a few years from now.
Do You Need a CRM Enhancement?
How can you tell if your CRM system is in need of enhancement? Here are some questions your organization should ask:
- Has there been a merger or acquisition that requires migration from one system to another, or integration of two or more systems together?
- Has there been a major change in business strategy or focus that requires you to reach new markets?
- Did your organization implement new business processes that must be supported by your CRM?
- Does the user community have a wish list of features or functionality in the system that would make their jobs easier?
- Are there new reporting needs that require your system to capture data it isn’t already capturing?
- Does your current CRM require workarounds such as spreadsheets in order to support the goals and priorities of the business?
If you answered “yes” to any of these, you should think about implementing enhancements to your CRM system. But CRM enhancements shouldn’t be deployed willy-nilly. They need to be planned in advance, developed, and implemented under controlled conditions.
Managing CRM Enhancements
To keep your CRM from becoming a confused mess of contradictory, redundant, or half-baked features, changes need to be planned in a thoughtful manner. Here are some tips:
- Develop a roadmap for continuous improvement of your CRM system. The roadmap should be reviewed at intervals by all stakeholders to keep it current with business priorities and to eliminate redundancies and features that don’t support the organization’s mission.
- Implement a formal process for users to suggest improvements to the system. The process should include review and discussion of proposed changes. Proposed changes should be evaluated by cost-benefit analysis. Changes that are worth the effort should be prioritized and added to the roadmap.
- Deploy regular updates to the platform as frequently as every month. Do not let more than six months elapse without deploying updates. This strategy keeps the system current with the needs of the business and shows the user community that the system owners are invested in making the system the best it can be.
A CRM system is a major investment that supports the business—not just today but for many years to come. Keep it relevant to the business. This requires continuous improvement and enhancement.
Empellor CRM helps organizations of all sizes and in many different industries develop roadmaps to build a culture of continuous improvement around their CRM systems.
If your business is behind on its CRM enhancements, contact Empellor CRM today.