CRM is customer intimacy?!

“We want to increase our customer satisfaction and we are going to buy a CRM system for that.” For anyone who doesn’t know what a CRM system is (in full, Customer Relationship Management), here is a short explanation. Back to the example: “We are going to capture our (business) relationships, follow up our quotations, apply pipeline management, prepare visit reports and, if marketing wants to, we can also do something with campaigns for lead generation. If we do all of that, our customer satisfaction will increase … Customer Intimacy!”

Altruism Foundation (Stichting Eigenbelang)

‘This will be successful’ I can hear you thinking. Lots of buzzwords with a leader at the front. At a company that probably isn’t even used to recording things for its sales activities, a system is suddenly forced upon them. I know for sure that all of your field staff are now impatient to start creating visit reports, updating their sales opportunities and issuing regular digital reports. This system will simply lead to the success of the sales department. NOT!! A CRM system can of course facilitate this, but it is still going to be the work of people. It should become second nature for people to record things. Something that can help immensely is to engage people in their current work and to better define and structure the advantages it offers. The ‘Altruism Foundation’ works very well here. Think of closing deals more quickly, or appointments that are no longer forgotten (not the appointment itself, rather the preparation for the appointment). Or colleagues who can help out in the event of absence or illness, a field service that has been properly informed and can therefore provide assistance, the list could go on.

Continuous improvement

Before buying just any CRM system, it is therefore useful to perform a (culture) check with your people and to give thought to which implementation approach you will take. The best approach is often gradual engagement; start simply and, based on how quickly your people adopt the system, gradually add more things. This is an iterative process, in which you gradually have to include your people. Imposing this from above is not really the best way. This will gradually enhance processes and more and more functionality will be used. Unfortunately, this does mean that when you start, you don’t really know where you will end up. Therefore, when choosing a CRM system, look at how the system can support transitions of this kind. So start small and take steps through continuous improvement. Not every CRM system is suitable for this. And not every CRM partner will be able to help you with this. If you are prepared to invest in software, take the next step by involving your people. You will then avoid the software gathering dust on a shelf, but will ensure that it will really work for you. If you continue to align both paths (software and people) in this process, you will notice that one and one can add up to three. You would be able to sell more, your losses would be lower in terms of the margin and your sales organisation would work better. In my view, every company would benefit from this, wouldn’t it?