By Egber Hernandez Diaz, independent Specialist in Marketing and Sales*
The proliferation of CRM platforms (that is, customer relationship management) that integrate the entire end-to-end sales funnel is posing new challenges in the different industries that have managed to acquire them and incorporate them into their operations. This is evident in sectors such as retail, finance, food, technology and, of course, gaming. There is no doubt that acquiring the platform and putting together an instrument tailored to your needs does not directly lead to success. Furthermore, I believe that it does not even represent the beginning of what really is a transcendental change on how businesses operate.
Therefore, in this article, I will discuss the main challenges that management teams face when incorporating cross-cutting platforms that affect the entire organization and its customers. I will also explain how to handle the adoption curve and obtain results without falling into the alienation of tools that don’t have the best connection with users.
ACCEPT AND IMPLEMENT A CULTURAL CHANGE
While it is true that these new platforms solve the massive clumping of data, they also represent a change in the way work is conceived on these platforms. These modifications in the way of planning, developing, executing and measuring activities in multiple segments complicate the operation of teams used to environments where the responses are more on demand and not so much related to the masses, in some defined times. Moreover, roles such as creating journeys or segment-specific activities require different time and development than the marketing plans of yesteryear, when an activity was projected in three months, which now, with these platforms, is planned to execute in the same day. Here, the support of the general management or the CEO is essential in order to insist that the entire organization adopt these platforms, without hesitation or backtracking.
INTEGRATE ALL AREAS OF THE BUSINESS
While it is true that customer attraction and retention begins in marketing, operations are the face shown to the customer. Therefore, from the blueprint of the implementation of these CRM platforms, it is necessary to involve all areas (management team, marketing, customer service, operations, sales, IT, BI, administration) so that the appropriate flows are drawn for meet the central objective defined when acquiring the platform. If this integration does not occur and work in silos, the adoption curve and subsequent shock in the implementation will give excessive headaches to work teams that did not see such conflicts coming in the flow of information, the product of multiple systems intertwined with different areas. Here, I insist, the recommendation is the integration from day 0 of all areas and the conviction of the management team that the acquisition of these platforms will have the goal of achieving success in the processes and increasing the income of the organization, knowing that any internal battle between the departments will keep this success away due to the lack of conviction of the operational team.
GENERATE NEW FUNCTIONS AND JOBS
By the way, the implementation of these new CRM platforms that integrate the entire sales funnel requires the establishment of new roles and responsibilities within the IT, BI, Marketing and Sales departments. The aim will be to be able to take advantage of the full potential of the contact tools, and to generate greater and better interactions with clients, which will lead us to obtain the maximum results. It is clear that companies must work seriously and objectively with their human resources areas to detect and empower their work teams in new ways of operating. The focus must be placed especially in the marketing areas, which are the most affected by this new change in the way of operating.
UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS VITAL THAT IMPLEMENTERS HAVE WORKED IN YOUR INDUSTRY BEFORE
When acquiring a CRM platform, the package also includes a firm or team that is responsible for its implementation. These teams are hired as third parties to join the company that bought the platform. It is essential that the decision makers of the buying company have a special and clinical eye to detect the true expertise of this implementing firm. One of the great mistakes that can be made is to assume that this team knows absolutely what it has to be done, without proving it. This type of error is very costly, and can take months or years to correct within an organization. Consequently, it is vitally important to detect the expertise and usefulness of that expertise in the industry. This will be a key aspect for the success of the implementation and operation of the CRM. A common example of this is when a very good product is poorly implemented and leads to millionaire monetary losses. Therefore, it is a priority for decision-makers to know with whom they collaborate in a project of this type, understanding its relevance.
KNOW EXACTLY WHAT COMES WITH THE LICENSE AND WHAT DOES NOT
The cherry on the cake is to really know what you are acquiring with the license when you buy a CRM platform, and how many licenses you will actually need to operate at 100%. There are countless cases in which large companies implement CRM platforms and, when they start operations, they realize that they do not have the essential plugins or apps to develop the activities necessary to connect with their customers. After that, crises begin and rents rise. If you don’t plan what you need in the different clouds that these platforms include, that shortcoming can lead you to build a very expensive Frankenstein. This will end on internal and customer short-circuits, concluding in a subsequent abandonment of the project due to not knowing how to size the scope and requirements to be able to efficiently respond to the consumer.
BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED
The last point -and I think this is the most important one- goes through the ability to buy only what you need. You should avoid acquiring plugins or clouds that are not used at the moment and that carry high rental or licensing charges. Even worse is that your company does not have the necessary expertise to be able to operate them in some instance. So I repeat that it is best to buy what you need. Keep in mind that, firstly, you must learn to operate and, then, you will develop internal expertise. Once these stages have been mastered, you will be able to acquire plugins or clouds that lead your company to a better operation of the processes with the platform. Stop falling into the clutches of wanting to buy the whole package when you only need a part of it.
Don’t get me wrong: having a CRM platform is one of the biggest current opportunities to connect in a timely and fast way with our clients or prospects throughout the complete funnel. However, all the necessary measures must be taken to build, adopt and develop a work culture oriented to these platforms, in order to obtain the desired result in the end. Remember that, in this life, change is the only constant. Please, let’s evolve, but in a step by step basis.
*For over 19 years, Egber Hernandez Diaz has been applying his knowledge and skills in marketing, sales and customer service in important gaming companies, such as the Mexican operator Logrand Entertainment Group, and in respected companies of other industries. He masters issues such as online & offline marketing and market research; he has led projects of his specialty under the PMI methodology, and has launched products with excellent results locally and internationally.
He has a degree in Marketing from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico, with a specialization in Digital Marketing from the Digital Marketing Institute. Hernandez Diaz also has MBA studies and a wide range of certifications in topics such as coaching, SEO, NLP, leadership and strategies in social networks, among others.