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Why does your company need a CRM champion?

Do you know what’s the trickiest thing about CRM? Nope, it’s not the cost, or maintenance, or customization. It’s getting people to actually use it! Why? Because CRM is only useful when people are using it.

Even though a lot has been said over the years about how to encourage people to adopt a CRM system as the key tool for their everyday work, CRM adoption rates around the world for a long time remained low and are only now slowly improving. General CRM adoption has increased from 61.6% in 2013 to 67.8% in 2018, states CSO Insights.

Meanwhile, the failure rate is still high. According to CIO, the CRM failure rate was between 18% and 69% in 2017, making the average of 30%!  

Not surprisingly – the main reason why CRM projects fail is low adoption rates. According to CSO Insights, only 45.7% of companies reported an adoption rate above the desired 90% in 2018. Meaning that over 50% of companies had low adoption rates, below their expectations.

Commitment is the name of the game

The paradox of CRM lies in the fact that it is not so much about technology, but about the processes of building relationships with people. That’s why it is the commitment and motivation of the people involved that could only make it work.

Businesses that don’t want their CRM investment to go down the drain need to make extra effort to get everyone onboard.

Unfortunately, not many businesses realize this and often treat CRM as just another tool thrown in the already full technology toolbox. Instead, for CRM to work, companies have to consciously and purposefully use it in their everyday tasks, put information into it, update, etc.

CRM has to take the center-stage to really be efficient and offer its biggest business value – help you create long-lasting relationships with customers.

But in order for everyone to see the good in a CRM system, you need a person (or people) who would take a lead in breaking the old habits and embracing the new and effective ways of working. In other words – making CRM work.

That is why, a CRM champion, evangelist, ambassador, enthusiast – call them what you want – is a person you need on to have on your team!

The portrait of a CRM champion

A CRM champion is not a job title or a position in the company.

In fact, the most essential thing they need to have is a passion for all things CRM. So, let’s draw a portrait of an ideal CRM champion.

Be IT literate. Let’s start with the obvious – a person needs to have a decent IT knowledge to be able to not only understand how to use a CRM system, but also devise an implementation plan and show others how they can benefit from the solution.

No, they don’t need to excel in scripting or programming, but they do need to have a firm grasp of general technology to be able to lead a CRM implementation project. They need to be able to set up at least the basic function of the system, troubleshoot minor problems, and understand the logics behind the way data is collected, stored and organized in CRM.

Be a great communicator. In order to spread the “good CRM word” a CRM champion needs to be able to explain how it works and what it does to others in an easy-to-understand and compelling manner. This means they need to know how to translate at times complex technical stuff into everyday language.

CRM processes can be hard to grasp, so it’s vital that the champion knows how to present them and show how to use certain functions to streamline and automate tasks, as well as to analyze data. And do it with patience, tact and respect.

Have a strategic mind. Just like any project manager, a CRM champion needs to strategize and plan. They need to be able to devise and stick to the implementation plan, outline achievement milestones and lead the team to CRM proficiency. A winning CRM strategist has to understand the company’s priorities, goals and key business processes, as well as have a clear vision what each employee needs in their everyday work and what challenges they face. For that – you need to think and act strategically.

Be passionate. Finally, they have to really believe in CRM and what it represents. This means investing your time and effort into learning all about the system: how its processes work and complement each other, look for productivity tips and tricks, and be generally curious about what else can be improved with a CRM system.

5 reasons why you need a CRM champion

Now that we know who the CRM champion is and what traits they should possess, let’s take a closer look at why you need them.

  1. Onboarding and training

A CRM champion will ensure that everyone has the system installed, has access credentials and user roles set up. Such simple things as login and password or user account should be taken care of in an organized way.

Also, a super important part of the champion’s duties is the organization of group or individual trainings. For this, a champion needs to devise a training plan and stick to it, as well as organize access to all the necessary resources.

  1. Design and implement processes for CRM use

Having a solid plan is job half-done. But the other half is by far the hardest – making sure everybody is following the plan.

A CRM champion is tasked not only with outlining the processes of CRM use and aligning them with the company’s business methods and goals, but also implementing them across the company. Everybody should clearly know when and how to enter data into the system, what to double-check and keep an eye on, how to draw and use reports, how to make data selections, register customer requests, archive documents and emails, etc. For each of these tasks you need a process and a CRM champion to overlook its timely and consistent execution.

But no processes should be set in stone. And that’s another role of the CRM champion – to identify what does not work and make continuous improvements.

  1. Troubleshoot problems

One of the biggest contributions of the CRM champion is that they serve as a single point of contact if any questions or problems concerning CRM arise. People simply know where to go and whom to ask for help.

A CRM champion ideally is a person who can help fix small problems, explain why some functions may not work, come up with a workaround, test, show a helpful tip, and even troubleshoot minor or recurrent glitches. This way every CRM user won’t need to contact the CRM vendor’s customer support themselves and have a CRM champ to rely on when a more serious escalation is required.

  1. Connect and coordinate teams

Usually there is a number of different teams in a company: accountants, sales, administrative, marketing, executives. They all have different goals and different tasks, and a result they work in silos, using different software programs and tools.

A CRM champion is the person who can help unite their activities by explaining and showing the value of doing what they do in a CRM system. The CRM champion is the one can streamline disjointed processes and make different teams see the value of working together in a one, centralized location, where all data is easily accessible and the results are clearly visible.

A CRM champion will also coordinate that everyone sticks to the set processes of data input, as well as improve data collection, sharing, protection, and clean up.

  1. Keep the enthusiasm high

Finally, a CRM champion is the ultimate advocate of the CRM project. It’s his or hers responsibility to keep the CRM spirits high and enthusiasm alive.

Being the main “cheerleader”, a CRM champion displays the desire and determination to succeed with CRM, to learn more, become more effective in everyday activities, increase sales, automate routine tasks, attract better quality customers, and – most importantly – build long-term relationships with them.

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To sum up, CRM has the potential to change the way you do business altogether. The CRM system can streamline, organize, centralize and maximize every single effort you make in winning new and retaining the existing customers.

But in order to make it all work, you need a CRM champion to help your organization really benefit from the wealth of potential that a CRM system can offer.


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