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Arming your CRM for the experience economy

Published: 29th October 2019
by: Glenn Hewson

CRM is becoming your most important competitive weapon in the experience economy.  Gartner Group reports that by 2020, 81% of companies expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience. In other words, the customer relationship either is or should be the foundation of your company’s success with your CRM being your key enabling technology deployed throughout your organisation.

The culprit isn’t sales this time 

CRM can’t help if Sales won’t use it.  The sad but true is that most of the time the sales team finds out about the impending rollout of CRM through the grapevine, not as a project contributor.   With the requirements being driven elsewhere, the sales team is left to enter far more data than they feel is necessary for their own purposes and since the CRM sales productivity tools were left to later implementation phases, they (rightly) conclude that there is no benefit to them.  When this happens, it’s to the barricades (!), your CRM project is sunk, and no amount of carrots and sticks will recover the project.  Forget about the fact that you never got to the operations or customer support integration phases.

Creating a winning CRM strategy to maximise customer experience

Sadly, fixing your CRM usually means replacing it instead of reimplementation.  This is because your sales team will feel that it is the product’s fault rather than the implementation.  That’s okay.  Let the product take the fall and move on.  Restart by treating the project as it is: the implementation of enterprise-wide software.  Follow these steps to success: 

  • Bring all of the parties to the table: Sales, Marketing, Customer Support and Operations. The best implementations always include a couple of the top sale producers on the team.
  • Decide what CRM means to you. If you need stock-keeping make sure it’s included out of the box.
  • Create a detailed plan and a definition of done with SMART goals.
  • Shortlist at least three vendors and make them demo to your requirements.
  • Get professional help deconstructing your sales, marketing and customer support  processes and tools then optimise them for success.
  • Integrate in your accounting and inventory systems as appropriate.
  • Hold team reviews often.
  • Celebrate the small wins.

It’s worth the effort

Since the ultimate goal of a CRM strategy is to improve customer acquisition and retention, it pays to give a lot of attention to its success.  If your CRM is working properly, you’ll have people in place at all customer touchpoints in your organisation with access to all information about the customer.   The results will be amazing: higher sales volume, a higher value per sale, improved customer service and happy customers that become your best company cheerleaders. 

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