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The Panacea and Pitfalls of Hosted CRM Software

CRM Without Business Process Support Falls Short

Business process automation is both a driving factor in achieving user adoption and if achieved, one of the most cited benefits by users of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software applications. However, it is also one of the least realized CRM initiatives. In terms of business processes, the sales function is typically the least understood and documented departmental function in the company. This often results in significant staff performance disparity and large fluctuations from team to team or period to period. It also speaks volumes to the old adage, "you can’t manage what you can’t measure".

CRM systems which integrate account information with company specific business processes or best practices provide a key advantage in realizing consistent performance and repeatable successes. CRM vendors use a variety of creative tools and methods to combine account management with company procedures. Two consistently powerful components to review when comparing hosted CRM solutions are content management systems (CMS) and workflow definition tools.

Most CRM publishers provide some type of electronic file repository which is helpful but far from empowering. However, electronic file repositories dramatically increase in value when bundled with custom content management and document management functionality such as Check-In/Check-Out, version control and audit trail histories. CRM publishers which can empower users to input their policies and best practices to custom web pages and integrate those resources to specific reference or utilization points in the CRM application are providing a means to integrate account data and winning processes. Content management systems normally include both document management functionality and HTML editors used to create and publish custom Web page policy or procedural content. CRM-based content management systems should be reviewed for ease-of-use in creating custom content and simplicity in staging content where it may best be referenced.

Similarly, CRM publishers whom provide users with workflow tools to predefine alert notification conditions, map processes in optimal fashions and define repeatable or exception based business rules are creating automation and saving users and management countless hours of manual effort. Workflow tools should be reviewed for logical design, process measurement and system-wide applicability. Recognizing that users are not always logged into their CRM application, workflow and alert functionality should integrate with e-mail and/or mobile telephones.


Desktop Integration: A Top Cited User Pitfall ...  More CRM Journey

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