Delivering Real Returns on CRM Deployments

– By Desirae Szloboda

HCRMave you ever ordered an item from an online store and had it suddenly appear at your door the next day? This delivery process has become so easy that it’s easy to take for granted all the effort and coordination of information that’s required to get that package to almost auto-magically appear at your threshold. Easy, right? Let’s take a closer look at what actually goes on behind the scenes.

First, that online store has to keep a real-time running total of every item in stock. This can sometimes involve thousands or even millions of items scattered across offices and warehouses in various locations around the globe. Regardless of where the items are physically stored, keeping track of precisely where they are and how many are available is critical. And all this information needs to be accessible by a number of people in dispersed roles and locations: salespeople, customer service reps, warehouse staff, management and, ultimately, the consumer. This type of granular accountability and accessibility requires a centralized tracking system or the whole process breaks down – and your package gets lost in the shuffle.

Now imagine if all that data was stored locally across individual computers instead of in a central system? Think of the thousands of people and companies each maintaining their own information! How would you back up the information? How in the world would you keep it updated? How would you share it with all the people who need access? This would obviously not be an efficient or effective use of anyone’s time or energy, and the disconnected data would become dated rapidly.

So, why do we think this is more efficient or effective in our own firms? Do you expect your professionals to maintain independent collections of contacts and our staff to use individual disconnected spreadsheets to track essential information?

How many steps does it take to get the information you need in a system like this? How much (billable) time and effort does it cost to send those firmwide emails to try to determine who may have a relationship with a potential prospect? Can your communications and invitations reach the right recipients? Do you have to contact finance to see who the new Clients are each month? Email the events team to see who has RSVPed for the webinar next week?

Once you consider the alternatives above, the thought of implementing a CRM system suddenly doesn’t seem so intimidating. Just imagine what consolidating all that data and managing it in one central, accessible location could do for you, your firm, your Clients, your business – and your sanity.

A CRM system is so much more than just a collection of data though. Implementing a new CRM is an ideal opportunity to sit down with the members of various areas of the firm to discuss their processes and see what is working, what is not, and what can be improved upon. Ultimately a CRM can help the firm and key professionals save time, solve problems and automate processes.

But despite the benefits, if implementing a CRM system still seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry! Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. While few people may have the experience or knowledge to successfully deploy a CRM system by themselves, working together with an experienced consultant who has handled multiple implementations can help make the process less painful and help you get real ROI on your CRM implementation. Soon, you will find your firm delivering services in the same efficient and effective the way that Amazon delivers packages – maybe even with a smile.

If you need help with CRM selection or implementation, contact the CLIENTSFirst team for a complimentary CRM Success Discovery Session. We are always happy to share information to help you succeed with CRM.

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– For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption, and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.

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