CRM has a way to go to be fully implemented
From a poll amongst the attendees of this webinar, it was clear that CRM has a way to go to be fully implemented in many if not most organisations. As Rick Carberry commented: “I think the ideal state is that you want to serve customers and you want to serve the business. There are four quadrants: There's the sales and marketing piece, and then there's a support and service piece. It's difficult to implement all four together, but the sales and marketing piece can run together and so too can the support and service piece. This should make implementation easier”
Rick also suggested to start with a sales and marketing CRM piece. Design the system for the salespeople because complexity is inversely proportional to adoption in sales. Make it easy and efficient for them, push some of the reports and tools to them so that they will see value. You can also “beat the salespeople with a carrot”. In other words, “if it's not on the CRM, it doesn't exist, and you don't get paid”.
Mike Pettigrew added: “The first step is to decide what you want to use the CRM for.
We're executing one and we've chosen more of a customer experience model where you're going to gather in data and input from across the organization and make sure there's kind of a single point of information for whoever's going to interface with that customer so that they can add to the experience.”
You want to understand what your customers are doing so data archives are important. You want to be able to use that from the sales and marketing perspective over time as territories change and people move in and out. The customer demographic piece is always interesting, but don’t slice data too thinly, as it can cause issues between sales and marketing. Sales, marketing and support alignment is vital. CRM data will help all to agree up front what sales, marketing and support are responsible for.
But Sales and marketing understandably see CRM through a different lens and that's part of the risk of confusion and can divide the functions. Be aware and prevent that division taking place.”
Jasmine offered some additional advice: “Think big, yes, look at what you want to achieve in the short term and in the long term, but start small and build up. Otherwise, this is going to get overwhelming really quickly, whether you're a big company or a small company and move quickly to get internal processes set up and aligned.”
Is it all about the customer experience?
There is a theme here about early and clear definition and Mike’s point about customer experience is interesting and not very common yet in Life Sciences. The customer’s experience is crucial to the relationship. It's about how they are feeling about their suppliers.
Rick underpinned this point: “If a customer calls your company in one of the functions, sales, marketing or service support, then the ‘Holy Grail’ is to make that customer experience feel positive and connected, so when the phone rings, it's connected to the record because you've set it up that way and whoever receives the call can look at the customer, their nickname, a little bit of their history. ‘Oh, we appreciate that million dollar order you just placed. How can I help you today because it looks like you have been working on xyz research?’ It makes them feel like we know them, and it helps connect all the functions and makes that information accessible to everybody.”
So, personalizing the experience is important. It builds confidence and trust.
What then of the thorny question: who should own the CRM? The panel agreed that what is the MOST critical component is not who owns it, but that everyone knows who does and agrees to the operational plan. However, the sales operations function is the most common and logical place”.
Jasmine also commented on complexity of data: “Market segmentation, targeting your audience and then personalizing that message to the target audience is super important but if you start splitting hairs, you're going to get down to an impossible number of data selection criteria and salespeople not knowing which to pick. Your own customers may not to know which segment they belong in because you've sliced it so finely..”
So, if you want to give the customer a greater experience, you have to work on that up front and get input from all the different parts of the organization and make sure everybody's on board. Then you have to make sure that sales and marketing are aligned. That process may drive your choice of CRM as well.
Should the use of a CRM system be mandatory and what tips are there to encourage adoption?
Mike’s view is: “If you're going to spend the money on it, it should be mandatory, there's no reason to invest in it and then not use it. If you're talking about a sales team and sales managers and you get to the point where the tool will automatically push analytics and reports to the sales managers, so they can look at their reps and have well informed discussions, then you are on the way to a good system. You’ve got to create good and visible outcomes for everybody and that will be easiest when you keep it simple.”
The same applies to marketing, there's got to be value for everybody in CRM so that it pushes out reports to the marketing teams as well. An example is the percent of leads that come from campaigns and which campaigns and so forth, then marketing will be willing participants.
Rick added: “If the sales reps, the marketing managers and product managers see their managers using the CRM, see them get reports, get information and then use the information, there is a greater likelihood of adoption. Data integrity is vital to building belief in the system, so cleansing needs to be routine.”
As a guide to sales usage, Rick suggested using ‘attack days’. “For example, call all the prospects we have for this one product, this one service or campaign [in a single day]. Attack days help with cleanup too”.
Do not view CRM as just a repository
It comes back to the axiom that you must use CRM in ways that are actionable and help drive business decisions. Do not view CRM as just a repository.
Is there a best practice for converting CRM from being a cost to a revenue generator?
Mike: “I think of two things. One is that kind of a more macro level where you start to look at the CRM and say let me see how territories are developing and secondly at how markets are developing. CRM should drive growth in markets and territories and guide you as to where you need to invest.”
Jasmine: “From a marketing perspective, I think that it can be helpful to the sales and marketing relationship, what I'm referring to is attribution models, where there's an agreement ahead of time between the sales and marketing leaders on what is a marketing qualified or sales qualified lead. What are thresholds of steps and actions that a visitor to your website should follow? For example, responses to different marketing campaigns. That's one aspect of decision making that the CRM can help with. The other is around marketing, learning about market insights. What pieces of content are more popular than others and can increase the customer experience and customer relationship? The CRM can capture that sort of data for a marketer to analyze and help take the messaging to that next level.”