In this series, we’ve covered why CRM has failed in the past, what is really needed for a CRM today, what we at Pipeliner are doing about it, just how Pipeliner empowers salespeople, and where CRM should be in the future.
For our final article in the series, let’s talk about why CRM is so vital today—and why it is that, if you don’t have it, you’re not going to make it.
The Internet and the digital revolution has created an “age of the buyer” in which the buyer wants to be addressed personally, individually, and very clearly.
On top of that, today we’re in a global economy. That means customers are, quite literally, everywhere. And as businesses become more decentralized and more people are working remotely, so are the employees quite literally everywhere (note: this is a description of my own company). For both these reasons SaaS businesses continue to boom tremendously.
It All Leads Back to Processes
All of these things create a crucial demand for processes. Everything done in a company is done on a process, and requires a process. A process is how things get done—how staff know to, speaking figuratively, pick up the ball and pass it to the next player.
The demand for exact processes goes back to manufacturing. The original master of process creation was Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric. In the early to mid-1980s Welch pushed manufacturing to a whole new level—and it was all through optimizing processes. It is worthy of note that during his tenure the company’s value rose an astonishing 4,000%.
Processes in the Digital Age
Today the requirement for processes has become extremely acute—if you don’t have every one of your processes optimized, your business runs less efficiently, which of course can lead to a loss of marketshare or even failure. Hence the digital revolution is constantly forcing people and companies to think in processes.
It’s a cold, hard truth that whether or not you create and hone your processes, your competitors will. They’ll be continuing to address customers, vendors and needs with digital processes, and with ever-improving agility. As stated by Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture: “Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.”
0So it has become a very salient fact that without core processes—whether they be for accounts, contacts, activities, sales, HR or whatever—your business is lost and will not survive.
Processes and CRM
Which of course leads us back to our main topic: CRM. For it is CRM that is expanding to incorporate all of a company’s processes, beginning with its most important activity: sales.
In order for a CRM application to stand up to the demand for processes, and in order for it to integrate and run with them, a CRM:
- should be reasonably priced, so that companies can acquire and implement it with relative ease.
- should be easy and fast to get up and running. Companies can no longer afford administrative runways of months on end, and fortunes spent on administrator training.
- should be intuitive and easy for users to train on. Training times of weeks and months are no longer acceptable—should be hours or, at most, days.
- should empower users, no matter where they exist inside or even outside the company. Users should have their jobs made easier, not more complex.
- should be extremely flexible and customizable, as no 2 companies are alike.
These are the deciding factors of who will in the battle in the CRM industry. While it may seem that Salesforce today has all the good cards, user polls clearly show that users don’t like Salesforce.
So the question remains, based on the above deciding factors, who is really the winner?
I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself.
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