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While many elements factor into business development, many firms are finding that customer relationship management (CRM) software is playing a key role. That’s because business development today requires more than prospecting and making cold calls. In fact, these days, firms increasingly drive new business – both from existing and new clients – by developing and nurturing relationships with key influencers and decision makers. CRM software can enhance these efforts.

Research shows that organizations can expect to see ROI of $2.50 to $5.60 on every dollar invested when CRM is properly integrated. Moreover, it’s been shown to significantly improve lead conversion, revenue generation, and even improve customer service by as much as 50%.

What is CRM?

CRM software is often considered the system of record for sales teams. However, many wrongly see CRM as mainly a system for organizing and managing contacts. It’s true that CRM is used to capture and manage an organization’s information about prospects and customers, including their contact details. But it’s far more than a glorified Rolodex.

This software is designed to provide a holistic view into prospective and existing clients so firms can tailor interactions based on client preferences and interests. By also helping manage and streamline communications with prospects, the software ensures a frictionless experience that increases the likelihood of converting prospects to clients.

Why Firms Should Adopt CRM

In essence, CRM enables firms to standardize and enforce their sales process. Once the firm outlines all the steps that need to occur on every deal, the CRM system guides business development and sales staff to take the right actions at the right time. By ensuring a systematic, repeatable approach, firms minimize the risk of missing interactions that could lead to business. Specifically, CRM helps:

  • Attract new business by surfacing connections between existing and prospective clients, along with relevant issues and needs.
  • Close more deals using relationship information, such as relationships between contacts within prospective client organizations.
  • Grow existing accounts and business with existing clients by providing greater visibility into additional retention and business development opportunities.

Barriers to Success

In spite of all the proven advantages of using CRM, organizations often find themselves up against one or all of the following roadblocks to success:

  • Time and resources to adopt. Whether the firm is implementing CRM for the first time or switching solutions, change is part of the process. It’s been shown time and again that most people resist change. Plus, organizations sometimes feel stretched to find the right resources to research, purchase, install and train users on the new system.
  • Adapting internal processes. It’s essential to ensure employees use the CRM system as intended and that information flows into and out of the system as needed. Enabling this sometimes requires changes to existing processes, which can feel like a daunting task.
  • Not seeing the potential impact on the bottom line. Unless the organization’s decision makers truly grasp the promise of the software, they aren’t likely to consider it a worthwhile investment.

Conclusion and Next Steps

To boost the likelihood of success, organizations should follow these proven steps:

  • Understand what employees need from CRM and select a solution that satisfies those requirements.
  • Include select employees to help vet the solution being considered.
  • Determine the current cost to develop new business and compare to the potential promised by the CRM vendor.
  • Solicit the CRM vendor for input on identifying the right people to be involved in implementation and determining required training.
  • Pave the way for user acceptance and adoption with a communication strategy that includes advocacy by the champions involved in vetting the solution.
  • Deploy the solution and test to confirm it is working as expected.
  • Train employees to use it in the context of common everyday scenarios so they quickly grasp the value of the system.
  • Run a post-training awareness campaign that clarifies CRM is a core technology for how the firm develops business while helping everyone understand how to make the most effective use of it.
  • Publicize business development successes and revenue impacts.

Download the Don’t Dump Your CRM eBook to find out what else it takes to change your relationship with CRM for the better.