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Building a CRM culture essential

User Adoption can be made easy when everyone works together

Rick McCutcheon, President, Dynamics CRM MVP

If you can convince a business, from the C Suite down that there’s money to be made from adopting a CRM culture, then you’ve got a win.

If you can convince a business that there’s time to be saved by the efficiency of unified customer data collection and CRM generated reports, that’s a win too. Every business is looking for that edge in customer relationship management.

But not all have mastered the most efficient sales process and access the best tools for their return on investment of time and money. Often, the problem is rooted in a lack of understanding of available technology.

Technology can make the difference

Senior managers often don’t know about the power and diversity of tools like CRM and have no sense of how technology can contribute to their specific measurements of success.

Without these tools, too many sales forces rely on individual practises of follow-ups, sales tracing and benchmarking – and this means multiple variations of spreadsheets, notebooks, follow-up procedures and calendars. As client contact expectations go up, efficiencies of individual systems go down.

Would you put 100 people in a car plant and ask them to take different approaches to building the car, and then expect a high efficiency vehicle with consistent specs and performance?

Not likely. In fact, not at all. So why build a sales process and accumulate customer data that way?

That’s where building a CRM culture becomes essential for maximum productivity (time) and maximum business results (money.)

Even when a C Suite leader or even a sales manager gets intrigued by the concept of CRM, too often it’s left to an IT department to implement in isolation from the end users. IT will develop but won’t harness the complete power to a sales, marketing or customer service staff – let alone the power of unifying customer information from all staff sources. That of course leads back to the necessity to adopt a culture of CRM throughout a business.

C Suite demands business optimization

The C level manager is extremely busy, with changing priorities all the time. They are always looking ahead, always looking at the big picture. They want to hear big thinking. They want to hear about dropping customer costs. They want to hear about improving results, closing rates, and information the security. If they see CRM through the lens of value, it will change their willingness to drive implementation.

That vision has to be shared by senior leadership in the departments who may benefit from use the CRM. Marketing leaders tend to have a favourable view of CRM already. They are either using contact tracking methods or well aware of the growing influence of social marketing.


They often quickly seize on the advantages in terms of campaign feedback, social listening and better response time.

Build customer service efficiency

In many organizations, customer service teams have built their own tracking models, however, they are removed from sales and marketing efforts. Sometimes businesses have at least three different groups on information on the same customer. That’s an inefficiency that means lost opportunity to a business and is easily seen as duplication of effort by any business manager.

The toughest leadership group to crack are sometimes the sales managers. The bird’s eye view of CRM often is that inputting data takes time away from the sales function. And their own view is often shaped by an even more vocal perception shared by their commission-based sales staff.


Better data keeps sales forces in the field longer

But by showing analytical data that shows how strong CRM adoption can keep sales forces selling longer, with better customer data, competitive analysis and more productive lead information – i.e. make more money, you can turn around a sales force’s objectives. If CRM data can win back some of the 77 percent of time spent servicing a non-existent or broken sales process and converting that into dollar-building sales time then it’s a win.

Building a CRM culture starts when a company has the desire to learn from the past to build a stronger future. It’s the understanding of what didn’t work and how can CRM implementation fix it.

The right people have to drive the business from early discussion to implementation – and then it must be benchmarked to identify successes, tweaks, successful users and those who need increased training.

Nowhere is the culture more important than the in the adoption phase. Drivers must make it exciting and continue to communicate the positive metrics.

Here are some of the best practices for building a CRM culture

  1. Get the right people Involved early - leadership drives the culture
  2. Learn from the failures and successes of your past.
  3. Get C Level buy in and ownership
  4. Define It - Teach It - Measure It - Live It - Reward It
  5. Have fun.
  6. Evangelise your CRM Success.

We say that CRM lives and changes forever. Show the business the power of CRM through successful implementation and keep building your CRM culture!