CRM Special Report- 8 Critical Factors That Make or Break CRM
The next question became how to handle orders. Should the salespeople enter them online using laptops? If so, the order-entry job remained a clerical one. This wouldn't solve the problem of customers calling with inaccurate product information, which the CSRs couldn't correct.
Managers decided it would be better to put product and customer information online and upgrade the CSRs' jobs to empower them to manage customer orders. But a heated argument ensued about salespeople's roles. Some argued that if they put the customer online they could eliminate the sales force, a shift that was too radical for most managers.
It wasn't until company officials were into the implementation process that they realized they faced more challenges, only one of which was technical—notably, the extent of workflow changes and the cost of employee re-skilling. First, managers had to convince the salespeople to structure and report the information they'd received about their customers' changing requirements. This bothered salespeople who gained prestige by being the sole source of information about the directions their customers might take.
The second problem: educating the CSRs. Managers had chosen to reduce expenses by hiring unskilled people for this function. Many CSRs wouldn't be able to transition to greater responsibility.
The third concern: The CFO said the information for which he was responsible shouldn't be made available to people who didn't understand security requirements. He also was concerned that part of his responsibility—deciding on the conditions of credit to be extended—would not be in his control.
Additionally, the CFO faced a major change in his technical architecture for which he was unprepared. He'd been running on an enterprise-wide system that needed more extensive integration than anticipated because the company network included remote geographic locations. He'd just finished training his people to understand the client/server environment.
Managers structured their project teams to include all points of view. They added the manufacturing vice president because of the need for product information. The CEO said it would strengthen the relationship between manufacturing and sales, which had been strained in the past. They formed a steering committee and picked a project leader.