Small Businesses Struggling to Adopt CRM Software

Big Business Goals with Small Business Resources? You're Not Dreaming. Commence CRM

Small businesses want to take advantage of the same technology and software solutions that larger firms are using to become more efficient with how they market, sell and provide service to their customers. This can be a significant challenge for smaller organizations however, because they typically do not have experienced sales, marketing or customer service professionals on board that can manage the implementation, utilization and support of the CRM solution.

CRM by its nature dictates change. You cannot automate and streamline your internal business processes without impacting the policies and procedures that are currently in place. This requires experienced people and management’s commitment to supporting the changes necessary to improve the performance of the business. The high failure rate of CRM implementations among small to mid-size businesses is a clear indication that one or both are missing from the equation. As a result, small businesses are struggling with the adoption of CRM software.

I have been engaged in more than 100 CRM implementations and there is a common denominator that separates the successful ones from those that are unsuccessful. It all comes down to the following:

Strong Inside Management

The management had a clear vision of what they needed the CRM solution to do and how they will measure its success for their business. They were also committed to providing the leadership necessary to ensure their success.

Outside Expertise

The management understood that they would require outside expertise and assistance to successfully execute their plan. They engaged my company’s on-boarding team to help implement a sales structure for managing the sales cycle; create a mix of marketing programs designed to build brand recognition and generate new business opportunities; and incorporate automated programs to improve the customer buying experience.

Mutual Commitment

The management was committed to ensuring that their staff was properly trained on how to use the software and realize the maximum value from the product.

These firms viewed the implementation of CRM as a critical next step to improving their business performance and were willing to make the financial and managerial commitment to its success. This is why they were successful. Too often this is not the case in the SMB community where companies tend to purchase a CRM solution based on its cosmetic appeal or price but are not prepared to make the commitment necessary to ensure the successful implementation and use of the software. You see this across the board regardless of the CRM solution selected.

The simple fact is that the successful implementation of any CRM solution requires a commitment to change management; a commitment to engaging outside resources to fill the experience gap; and a commitment to ensure that the staff is properly trained and supported before, during and after the implementation.

About the Author:

Larry Caretsky is president of Commence Corporation a leading provider of CRM software and best practices for improving marketing and sales execution. Caretsky has written hundreds of articles about CRM and an e-book, “Practices That Pay”. These can be viewed at commence.com/blog.

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