This is a cool question as it comes up in Executive Technology Strategy meetings all the time. Typically the question of “what do you think about” rolls out like the following, with a few exceptions.
- CEO: Revenue and Growth Focused and Wants Risks Managed
- CFO: Cost Focused and Wants Risk Managed
- CIO: Risk Management and Support
- OWNER: All of them all the time
Why do I say Risk Management? Because there is no such thing as Risk Control. It is always out there and as soon as we think we have things buttoned up as tight as we can from a systems, data, and application standpoint – BOOM – a vulnerability comes alive. Now I am not a “live in FEAR” guy, but management of exposure is the key. This goes across all of your systems.
I bring this up because after we conduct technology whiteboard sessions of what typical companies have, it is a lot of systems and data everywhere. Very few integrations, very few processes documented, and tons of manually created reports and analytical spreadsheets.
SOLUTION = CENTRALIZATION AND INTEGRATION
You cannot centralize everything and I get it. But you certainly don’t need all the systems you have that were purchased on a whim to take care of a pain. Usually with very little consideration for the long term effect on the company and the overhead costs that are associated with maintaining it.
I can tell you this, almost all of the sessions I have been in lately CRM has come up by everyone including the CEO/Owner. If we just want to talk about cost and risk for a minute. How much labor are you spending double entering data, compiling reports? Then spending more time determining what is going on with a client from an Opportunity, Historical Sales, and Service standpoint not to mention what kind of marketing did we send to them last. Makes most people pretty uneasy.
You can research CRM systems such as Microsoft CRM or Salesforce, but the key is to start pulling your systems together so you, your team have a true Relationships with the customers. Remember CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and gets a bad rap as a sales system.
This is not a pitch to buy CRM as my company Pinnacle sells Microsoft ERP and CRM systems. I just get the benefit of seeing how it improves operations, and addresses the Revenue, Cost, Risk components of a business.
- Revenue comes from better customer and opportunity management with real time metrics, alerts, etc.
- Costs comes from data maintenance and removal of manually maintaining data in multiple areas and real-time reporting
- Risk – all the data regarding a client including emails correspondence between your company teams and the client can automatically be captured in one spot. Now it is officially an asset. What happens when there is turnover – do you lose the customer, the opportunity, does service suffer AND where does the next person pick up? All good questions and solutions you should know.
Quick Scenario – 120 Employees on your team, 1 employee changes their mobile phone. Does everyone have to change their contact and mobile devices to reflect the 1 change? Usually the answer is YES and what a waste of time. Multiply that by customer changes and all the changes that happen in business. CRM systems are meant to take care of that for you.
- Duplicating data entry
- Manually compiling reports, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPI)
- Keeping excel sheets to validate data
- Making business decisions on accurate data?
ACTION: I know this is a lot to absorb, but at a minimum:
- Know the systems you have
- Know how they are maintained and kept accurate with the associated labor
- Know where your data is and who owns it
Start there and comment if you have any questions.