CRM: Big Brother Watching?

Why do some sales people view a CRM application as “Big Brother Watching?”  CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, software has changed rapidly over the last 5 years.  I remember when it was just a contact management system that sales people used to enter prospect or customer contact information. A contact repository if you will.  A system used to capture basic company and contact information with an occasional note entered for a phone call, email, or site visit. Oh and let us not forget about the opportunity pipeline, “if” the sales person was even logging these into the system.

Today, “CRM” is so much more and businesses in all industries are adopting it as a platform for capturing critical decision making data.  CRM is not just a sales tool but a business tool.  Businesses communicate with external customers in many different ways today.  There is Facebook, LinkedIn, email, Twitter, press releases, and the list can go on and on.  Communicating and capturing this information can help business leaders identify new or expanding opportunities.

To answer my original question, CRM is not Big Brother Watching but a business and productivity tool.  Top sales people do not like to waste their time entering basic account and contact information into a CRM solution.  This is admin stuff and “takes time away from selling.”  Well what if the CRM system is capturing it for you?  What if all you had to do was look up an Account record and the system shows you your key contacts, latest news releases, trending market analysis for that particular companies industry?  Could you not use this information for prepping your next sales call?  In some cases, just by capturing industry information within the CRM application, the system is identifying opportunities and putting them on the screen for the sales person to act upon.  Marketing can use this information for strategic campaigns, marketing analysis, and planning. Oh and now track the campaign itself to include respondents to opportunity.

CRM does not enter the opportunity itself so yes; the sales person must be accountable and enter their opportunities.  CRM solutions today have workflow engines that help guide busy sales people through their company’s defined sales process. Once an opportunity is entered, let the system’s workflow engine help guide the next steps through the sales process.  How many times has a sales person been so busy they let a small activity with opportunity impact slip through the cracks and have to back track before the process derails entirely?  Too many!

If used properly a CRM solution is a business tool.  Not big brother watching.

At KTL Solutions, we implement Dynamics CRM and work with our customers to define the use of CRM and the positive impact it will have on the organization as a whole prior to beginning an implementation.  We operate with change management in mind to increase user adoption.

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