Big value in customizing CRM databases?
A financial services company developed their CRM into a system for managing loan applications through to loan settlement.
An after-care products supplier for new car buyers developed their CRM into a customer service system.
A telecommunications company that builds cellular networks developed their CRM into a job tracking system.
Businesses evolve their processes, differentiating by finding strengths and efficiencies that can be marketed as additional value. I asked 10 of my business associates if they would rather have:
A database designed to support their unique business processes or
A Sales Management CRM database?
Most preferred the database for their unique business processes. They saw the value of customer data being protected by them owning it (separate article needed on this), and potentially moving it to a different CRM, while the database written for their unique processes improves and increases the value of their Intellectual Property (IP). When I asked if they would look at covering both the CRM and unique business processes in the same database, they all said yes, even if their IP was utilising existing software with modifications.
My associates believed this sounded difficult to do and expensive, but exploring this concept with a CRM consultant can begin informally using the whiteboard in the office or a pen and paper in a café. If there is a wider scope for using the CRM then you might reveal a list of the problems you would like to solve with a database, and short list your highest priorities.
There are many ways for a CRM consultant to initiate a project. There is no unilaterally agreed method on how to explore ideas. Projects have begun as hand drawn concepts in a diary on the trunk of a CEO's Mercedes or conceptually illustrated in the sand at the beach during a chance meeting while walking the dog. I have seen a prototype presented to a CEO and stakeholders including data entry people who asked senior management if they could have the new program tomorrow.
Projects may be suited to phased implementation. Success at the first phase may lead to changes in the plan for the second phase in order to aim for higher goals.
Buy a standard CRM by all means, remembering the old saying, "When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail", but a series of customizations can transform our ability to work with data and release the big value lying dormant in a database.