Is CRM truly costly to implement?

Although CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is gaining popularity within the Indian SMEs and startups, still there exists a significant number of developing companies which think that Customer Relationship Management is costly. Customer Relationship Management is considered a tool affordable and necessary only by those who have significant financial strength or operate at a substantially large scale. So, is Customer Relationship Management really expensive? Not exactly, in fact, Customer Relationship Management reduces overall operating costs drastically. Customer Relationship Management makes sure that no enquiries are missed or skipped, which automatically increases sales. Customer Relationship Management helps decreasing stress between the sales team and sales managers, by giving more clarity about the activities and not just focusing on the results. It’s much easier to sell more to existing customers, rather than sell to more customers. Customer Relationship Management provides detailed analysis and insights on consumer categories and behaviour patterns, which can result in more sale per customer. With mobile Customer Relationship Management, coming in along with lots of new technological innovations, Customer Relationship Management has become an almost indispensable tool for businesses today. Customer Relationship Management increases customer experience, decreases stress, improves sales and profitability. Above all, it brings stability into organisation against changes in team members, since now the business related information is stored by a system and not by people individually. Then why do people think that CRM is costly? Is there any misunderstandings? If we dig down deeper, there is a serious problem in the way people see Customer Relationship Management. Companies are not getting the value for their investment in Customer Relationship Management is due to some hurdles that are faced along the way.

Considering CRM as a software and not a culture

Many times companies think of Customer Relationship Management as a software just like MS Excel or Outlook. They think that they can just install it and then start using it. What eventually happens is that the team is not able to get any tangible business benefits out of the same and then frustration sets in. Such a scenario leads the people into thinking that the Customer Relationship Management solution is costly as they are not getting the expected returns.

Not allocating enough resources for training

There are two kinds of challenges here (A) No training at all, thinking that the users will figure out how to use the software themselves (B) Training only a few members of the team and believe that these people will train others. Both these scenarios give very nightmarish results. There is a mass refusal or reluctance amongst team members regarding the use of Customer Relationship Management. Untrained staff results in its minimal utilisation, which prompts the thought that is is costly.

Planning without preparation

Business processes when automated will be drastically different (and easy) as compared to doing it manually. Companies don’t plan to figure out changes in their procedures. Many times they don’t even have written (even understood uniform) process available. So everybody thinks of Customer Relationship Management system in their ways and plans in own individual ways to take this ahead. Improper planning is the reason there are no improvements in business after Customer Relationship Management, and then we feel that Customer Relationship Management is costly.

Trying Free CRM and then giving up

There are lots of companies which fail miserably while trying free Customer Relationship Management because either that was not the right choice for them or their team did not have the technological capability to implement the same. Instead, consulting an expert would have been a better idea before choosing Customer Relationship Management platform.

Buying off the shelf, Online CRM

Generally online portals selling Customer Relationship Management are suitable for DIY (Do it Yourself) kind of people, who have enough technical and managerial skills to implement entire Customer Relationship Management on their own. There is a huge difference between implementing something by reading documents and getting some consultant (or Vendor) who provides tips and tricks and best practices. Without a proper consultant to help implementation, companies remain unaware of the true potential of Customer Relationship Management with respect to their business. Thus not getting the required returns.

Most importantly, not using it to the fullest

When people buy Customer Relationship Management, it is with the excitement over the possibilities in Customer Relationship Management. These possibilities can be actualized only by the proper collaboration and coordination of the vendor and the customer. The vendor/ Customer Relationship Management cannot fulfil the expectations alone, the support and enthusiasm of the user is must. The efforts taken to monitor and implement Customer Relationship Management with respect to the company’s demands are not recognised by the buyer, thus causing a problem. The Customer Relationship Management platform has tremendous capabilities but companies fail to utilise them just because they don’t put enough efforts to implement things correctly.

How to make sure CRM provides value for money

Plan Properly

Before deploying Customer Relationship Management, plan for selecting a technology, select processes to be automated, who should be involved, what will be the technical and personnel requirements. It is a good idea to get an expert’s guidance. But if it is your first Customer Relationship Management implementation, always go for a Consultant or a Customer Relationship Management vendor who will provide consultancy also. Do not buy online Customer Relationship Management without calculating implementation efforts required from your end.

Drive from Top

Most of the time management team does not give required importance to this. Customer Relationship Management is a cultural change, and it has to be driven from the top. Failure in steering the Customer Relationship Management project by the top management leads to poor adoption and ultimate failure of implementation. Implementation of Customer Relationship Management is one of the best ideas for SMEs and start-ups. Implementing in phases makes sure that over investment is not done. Phase wise implementation also means lesser and smaller changes which are easy to bring to an organisation. The phased implementation also allows the entire processes to be monitored closely. It will also help measure the ROI of total exercise.’ Hence Customer Relationship Management is not costly if used appropriately and thoroughly. But failure to utilise Customer Relationship Management for business benefits leads to the thought that Customer Relationship Management is expensive. Also, companies don’t perceive Customer Relationship Management as highest priority for businesses. Maybe, that is the reason it seems to be costly.

Limesh Parekh

Limesh is the CEO at Enjay IT Solutions. His vision is to make Enjay the bridge between technology and business solutions. He studied the Indian economy and identified the gaps that technology could

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