Most professionals and leaders are well aware of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems’ basic benefits. Unfortunately, actually driving adoption and getting as much value out of the system is an entirely different beast. When it comes to CRM adoption, there are several reasons why most implementations fail. This “reason” applies to marketing automation platform (MAP) implementations as well. A MAP is a solution built for marketers that allows them to capture, nurture, and convert leads, maintain customers, and identify advocates. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management. However, most companies manage their MAP and CRM separately.
How do conversations around adopting or transitioning strategic business systems start? And why do the implementations often fail?
CRM and MAP Adoption Starts with IT
The driver behind strategic business system adoption, like CRMs and MAPs, is to solve a business problem, like increasing customer satisfaction, improving lead management, or reducing churn. More recently, there is a shifting focus on the customer experience (CX), and businesses see that as a reason to invest in CRM technology. The problem is that in most cases, there is no CX strategy. Instead, people have a vague idea that something like improving customer interaction is valuable.
Once there is a common understanding new software is needed, the process of selecting a vendor begins. During that process, the IT teams’ expectations rise in seeing the considerable innovation and functionalities in modern CRM and MAPs. Like most companies, there is no internal expertise, making it a harsh job to select the most suitable software solution. Software vendors with the best demos, flashy interfaces, and exciting new functionalities like artificial intelligence often get the deal.
The Process of Implementation
Once the solutions are chosen, external consultants will assist with the implementation…and, that is when the first itchy issues arise. Where do we start, and what is our vision and strategy on managing customer relationships? What do we prioritize? What is our lead management and contact strategy? What customer data do we want to host in our CRM systems, and what do we want in our marketing automation system? What is our CX strategy, and what customer data do we need when to improve the customer experience? And because those driving the adoption and implementation lack an understanding of the business value around marketing automation and CRM, the external consultants advise on what makes the implementation of the tool most effortless.
By the time the systems are operational, most users are disappointed and untrained. The systems don’t deliver what they expected and were promised. The consultants have headed to the hills, and the product owners of the CRM and MAP are now on their own. The result is often disappointment and poor user adoption.
Similar to what occurred with CRMs 15 years ago and is still occurring now, organizations struggle with MAPs due to lack of substantiated vision, no action plan, and no relevant business knowledge.
This lack of a strategy around the systems and the lack of shared knowledge is becoming a big issue that is contributing to the low adoption rates in the industry. But ultimately, of all the things that have gone wrong, the biggest problem is the lack of leadership and shared knowledge on what the consequences are if the organization falls back on old habits that no longer serve them. What is next? How are we escaping this valley of despair and preventing, at times, the cancellation of the project?
The Solution: Invest in Business Fundamental Know-How
Successful organizations have one thing in common: business knowledge about the value of a CRM and MAP within their organization. They know that IT knowledge alone is not enough. Based on the requests of customers as well as vendors in the Netherlands, we have developed a CRM Business Fundamentals Course and a Marketing Automation Business Professional course. Aimed at customers who want to educate their staff more on the business fundamentals of CRM and MAPs, this course helps address the problem that customers are facing: not having enough CRM knowledge on the business side.
Most companies offer technical and product training to their customers. For example, SugarU is a great resource for Sugar customers to expand their knowledge of the Sugar products and become certified through different courses.
Beeckestijn Business School understands the value of both product education as well as business education. Ideally, all employees involved in service, marketing, and sales have to make use of the software, and our online course aims to help organizations do so. Once there is a shared understanding of the business fundamentals and value of solutions, organizations can plan for full usage of CRM and MAP solutions. When professionals successfully finish the CRM Business Fundamentals course, they become a certified CRM Business Professional (CCBP). Likewise, when professionals successfully complete the Marketing Automation Business Fundamentals course, they become a Certified Marketing Automation Business Professional (CMBP). Unlike many other online courses, we coach participants to apply the knowledge they learn to their organization. Meaning they not only finish the course with a better understanding of business value, but they can also immediately apply what they learned to their organization, which drastically improves adoption rates.