The Bill's in Your Court
Three quarters of companies say they need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that allows them to share data among their sales, marketing, finance and customer service departments, and another three quarters say they need a CRM that stores all prospect and customer information in one place (State of Customer Integration Report 2013, Scribe Software). That's a large number of companies that need to have a single view into all their critical customer data. But what is extremely startling is that, out of the companies that were surveyed, only 16 percent said their core business systems are fully integrated! That's a lot of people left wondering where their critical data is located.
Everyone knows that data is king, but with any kingdom there could be some challenges. The reason such a small percentage of companies are fully integrating their business systems may stem from the fact that accurate and consistent integration of their data is really not a small task. In a Forrester Research report, Bill Band, VP, principal analyst, states that the discrepancy between the direction of the business and the objectives of IT could hinder a CRM strategy from moving forward and reaching its full potential. Band also stated that the strategy is not always obvious for the people involved, and these individuals need to know that there is some value in the strategy so that there is something for them to rally behind. The best way to cure slow user adoption, he says, is to "provide a reason why change has to happen in the first place."
Nobody likes bad data—partial or incorrect information can make it difficult for sales or marketing to work in the system. If the CRM doesn't provide real value for the end user, it will make it difficult to complete their daily tasks. Not only is poor data a big issue, but not understanding the needs of the end-user can be detrimental to them wanting to work within a CRM system that has the right data, that's in the right places allowing them to get to that data easily and get their jobs done.
Many of the organizational departments use and look at data differently. Just think about it: What type of data will be looked at daily to ensure goals are being met, weither it be running marketing campaigns, closing sales opportunities, getting competitive purchasing information, or, most importantly, ensuring customers are satisfied with their experience with the business? Who owns each customer record or a portion of that record becomes an extremely important issue. If employees own the accuracy and currency of the data, then the right information is critical to have in the hands of those employees.
When shifting to a consolidated and focused platform to manage customer relationships with the end goal of producing more opportunities and a rising sales levels, there needs to be a great deal of attention in preparing, cleaning, validating and migrating the data to the new platform. It usually makes a large difference in having a highly successful project and ongoing value to the company and the users from your organizations key business units. Having a well planned and measured approach to integrating data from core customer information systems will significantly increase the quality of your customer data.
- State of Customer Integration Report 2013
- State of SMB CRM Integration, IT Pain Points and Investments 2013
- The Connected Enterprise: Bringing Data Together