In the past, organizations seeking to integrate CRM into business practices could simply implement a CRM software solution, go live, and then get back to business as usual. Yet with the high rate of technological advances and continually changing business climate, this approach is not sustainable. Today, an effective CRM strategy incorporates an ongoing program rather than just a one-time implementation.
What changes are pointing companies toward a CRM program strategy?
1. SaaS and the cloud
With on-premise solutions, major updates can be disruptive because they require time and resources to plan, purchase, and prepare the updated hardware, install the software on servers, test the backup and recovery systems, and train the team. Now, with software as a service (SaaS) and cloud hosting, updates can take place behind the scenes with little or no organizational effort.
2. Customer expectations
Customers are increasingly expecting organizations to meet their needs on their terms. They expect purchase- and service-related processes on a level with those of top internet retailers. As a result, organizations can no longer dictate when and how customers communicate and interact with them. They must adapt.
3. User empowerment and adoption
When a CRM solution is slow, difficult to learn, outdated, and hard to use, users tend to resist it and then develop workarounds. As a result, an organization’s CRM solution can quickly become a technological dinosaur. Organizations need to keep up with implementing system improvements, many of which are driven by user feedback. Improvements can help increase productivity, make users’ jobs easier, and enable a business to operate more efficiently.
4. Instant access
Tablets, smartphones, and apps have rapidly changed how people access and share information. Users now expect to be able to receive information instantly because their personal experiences have influenced and heightened their expectations for workplace applications.
5. The pace of technology
Continued advances in technology help users do more with vast amounts of data and organizations to deliver more meaningful outcomes at a better price. Microsoft continues to push the envelope with technology and use of data, two critical components that help organizations innovate and transform their businesses. In July 2018, it announced plans to release two major CRM updates per year. Because release notes tend to be extensive, staying current with technology can require significant time for researching, prototyping, and planning the implementation of the new capabilities.
6. An agile mindset
It’s critical for leaders to have the flexibility to pivot, reprioritize, and focus limited resources such as time and money on the things most important to a company. Months in R&D, months for deployment, and a delayed return on investment are no longer acceptable. On a regular basis, leaders need to be able to quickly and easily justify the value of a CRM system.
How do these changes affect CRM strategy?
We judge by our experiences: We need to see, touch, and use things to determine if they meet our needs. When users experience improved efficiency created by continuous improvement processes, they are more likely to be willing to adapt to new processes and contribute innovative ideas.
As the volume and frequency of updated CRM capabilities and new third-party apps grow, more capabilities are being infused with artificial intelligence (AI) from Microsoft™ Azure™ Cognitive Services. Expanded capabilities create new ways to sell, service, and market to customers and can help organizations excel. A smart way to improve is by building a program for proactively managing change.
An ongoing CRM program
The Crowe CRM team believes that organizations should adopt a different mindset about their CRM investments. In our experience, organizations that choose continuous improvement programs rather than one-time CRM technology solutions have higher adoption rates and achieve better returns on investment.
Part 2 of this two-part series will explore the characteristics and approaches that can help a company to implement and build an ongoing CRM program.
Visit CroweCRM.com for more information about Crowe CRM services for Microsoft Dynamics 365 software. Have a question or interested in evaluating the CRM functionality in Microsoft Dynamics 365? Contact us today.