Using CRM to win and increase operational effectiveness


By our guest blogger, Basil Malik, who started working with CRM systems in the health insurance industry. He turned his interest into a passion when he was introduced to Sage CRM. Leading the CRM practice at Blytheco, Basil works with the small and midsize business (SMB) sector across a range of industries. A CRM enthusiast at heart, he spends most of his days identifying the first steps and walking the CRM journey with his customers.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM) isn’t new to the world of business and businesses that tout that CRM is the “lifeline” or “backbone” are seeing benefits such as:

  • Between $5.60 and $8.71 ROI for each $1 spent on CRM
  • Up to 41% increase in revenue sales for each salesperson
  • Increased customer retention rates of up to 27%

How do they achieve these returns?  The answer is businesses that place CRM at the heart of their operations use it as much more than just a tracking or data entry system.

1. Use CRM as an operations tool

Operations, or how a business engages its employees to follow business processes, is where CRM opens doors to endless value. Your CRM strategy should bring together multiple departments to work together in an organized way.

Yes, technically sales, marketing, and customer service have their own processes; however, breaking apart the various processes within each functional department becomes paramount.


2. Process analysis and workflow

Bringing business processes into CRM leads to measurable improvements. Users can follow consistent processes and operational bottlenecks are removed. When a business starts down this road, more improvements – instead of allocating people to low value tasks – can be built into the CRM’s scope.

3. Analyze how CRM can “do things better”

Break processes into granular steps, identifying clear “start” and “end” points. Where is data input or manual involvement occurring? What could be automated? Where should human input be retained for personal touch?

From that exercise, you can see known steps that can be automated or streamlined to eliminate operational waste without risking the business’s brand, reputation, or culture.

4. Take specific action to achieve your goals

This granular thinking makes the task of selecting a CRM solution easier. You gain an understanding of features needed and – if you have captured the “business savings” data – a level of comfort on product pricing (or cost of ownership) for your business.

Delivering these new process flows – digitizing business, if you will, is only the beginning. Then, you have to measure the results of your new process flows. What KPI’s are going to measure success and how do you measure success? Is it an increase in customer satisfaction? Increasing revenue? Make sure you establish these ‘win’ KPI’s to clearly paint a picture of your evolution to operational efficiency. Your new CRM solution should evolve to achieve maximal results. Continue collecting feedback over time from users and implement changes to the process where it yields additional efficiency.

The journey to operational efficiency in CRM

Companies that embrace CRM and achieve measurable returns are the ones that exercise patience and consistency. Trial and error, testing, tweaking (etc.) is the only sure-fire way to ensure a CRM unlocks the full potential of an organization. Commit to the journey, and the benefits touted by the organizations that swear by its CRM, can be yours with time.

This article was originally written for The CRM Connect Magazine and adapted to appear on the Sage Advice blog.

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