How to get things done faster and better, what needs to be improved to stimulate growth? These are the questions that most management teams are trying to figure out these days.
Naturally, many of them turn to technology, which is named as one of the top drivers of business growth.
Cloud technologies, web applications, various software programs, ecommerce platforms, APIs, IP telephony, even AI, machine learning and virtual reality – there are plenty of technological innovations to choose from.
It seems like all you need to do is buy these technologies, and they will make your business evolve, grow and prosper.
But is it so?
Is business growth just a click away?
Let’s clear this one out. The answer is NO.
Simply buying a piece of software or downloading an app won’t grow your business. It’s not a “click and go” situation or a one-time act meant to just solve a problem or ease a task or two.
If you decide to adopt business-critical technologies, such as ERP, CRM, CMS, as well as all sorts of human resources, procurement, reporting, data mining, project management, business performance management or document filing programs, etc. – you need to make sure your entire business model and processes are reflected in these systems, and your personnel is using them on a daily basis.
In other words – you need a strategy!
And it doesn’t matter what technology you choose to improve the way you run your business and stimulate growth. The most important thing is that you need to develop a strategy that syncs this technology with the core processes and activities that your business follows to operate!
"You need to develop a strategy that syncs the technology of your choice with the core processes and activities that your business follows."
In order to illustrate this idea better, we’d like to use our own product, SuperOffice CRM, as an example.
CRM strategy and why it matters
At SuperOffice, we sell CRM software and say that it will help you find, catch and keep customers.
Even though our software is designed to support a company’s business processes, we are 100% convinced that for the CRM software to really help you grow your business, you need a CRM strategy!
Without a strategy your CRM investment may go down the drain – as simple as that.
“The CRM strategy is not the same as installing a CRM software on your computer. It’s about the way you do your business, view your customers and envision your future,” says our CEO, Gisle Jentoft.
So, how do we know it? We learned it through our customers’ experiences with our product!
In the past we had many customers who thought that just by buying our software they would solve most of their problems and their business would miraculously change and reorganize itself, and eventually grow. But this was never the case.
Time and again, we realized that if you don’t have a serious approach to CRM, if you don’t develop a CRM strategy, the system in itself won’t make any positive changes.
“If you’re not serious about your CRM strategy, no software in the world will be able to help you achieve success. Just implementing a system won’t change anything. Simply waiting for the system to bring you results doesn’t work. The only thing it will do is increase costs, and this has nothing to do with growth,” explains Gisle Jentoft.
"If you’re not serious about your CRM strategy, no software in the world will be able to help you achieve success! "
So, what is a CRM strategy?
Our 30 years’ experience in the industry demonstrated that a winning CRM strategy that will help your business grow should be based on three main commitments:
- You need to have your business processes defined. Meaning: you need to clearly understand how you sell, what activities you do at each sale stage, how you contact your customers, how you communicate with them, and how you support them during their interaction with your brand.
- You need to make sure that the people you employ are onboard, motivated and share the same strategy. Meaning: they receive the necessary guidance, training and support in their CRM use.
- You need the right technology to support your CRM journey; i.e. a CRM software that is customizable to reflect your processes, helps you automate routine tasks and analyze your performance results, as well as offers a panoramic view of your relationships with customers and prospects.
The “Processes – People – Technology” formula for business growth
In order to enjoy an ongoing growth, you need to pay attention to three key elements: Processes, People and Technology (PPT).
All parts of the “PPT” formula should be interconnected like wheels in a clock and must support each other to be effective.
Be it sales, marketing, or customer service – all activity areas need to be outlined and defined as structures.
- You need to know what you do and how you do it (map out your activities) at each stage of the customer journey.
- You need to outline the steps and processes to ensure consistent, uninterrupted, process-based sales experience, customer service, and marketing communication.
- You need to transfer these planned activities onto the technology that you use. In our case, set up the processes in the CRM software.
- You need to make sure that your sales reps, customer support agents and marketing specialists are aware of and follow your defined processes to create a consistent customer experience.
Finally, it is very important to not only define your processes, but continuously review and improve them as time goes by.
This is how our CEO explains it: “A process-oriented approach is very important if a company wants to be successful and grow. You cannot rely on accidents in business. You need to have a system, a process, a method not only for sales, but also for marketing, customer service, etc.”
No business model or an amazing product is going to be successful if it’s not supported by motivated and knowledgeable people.
At SuperOffice, we constantly invest in people, make sure they are up-to-date with our latest innovations, that they follow the sales, marketing and service processes that we’ve outlined, and that they clearly understand the management’s decisions and are able to contribute with their own views and ideas.
“The trick here is that a CRM system and well-defined business processes should become the tools that help your people do better and support them in every step of the way,” thinks Gisle.
Although a CRM system is just one of many technologies that may support a business, it plays a crucial role in finding, catching and keeping customers for any business. But in order to work, the CRM software has to be customized to reflect all the business processes you decided to follow. It has to be synced with how you do business, not the other way around.
A CRM system cannot be just another system thrown in the technology toolbox you have. It needs to be used daily by the people who follow the processes through logging all the data on and interactions with your prospects and customers.
Streamlining your activities and maximizing your effectiveness in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service, a CRM system is there to connect all key business processes. This means marketing won’t function separately from sales or customer service. Instead, all processes are finetuned and become structurally dependent on each other.
“Technology is there to drive your business forward, assist your organization, help you reach your growth goals – be it Big Data, AI, Machine Learning, or CRM. Technology is the platform on which growth happens,” believes Gisle Jentoft.
"Technology is the platform on which growth happens."
There is no alternative to growth
Business growth is not an option these days.
Today, companies need to grow not only in order to succeed, but also to survive in this rapidly changing world.
“There is no one who ever succeeded by standing still. And if we don’t grow, then what is the alternative? There is no alternative to growth. You either grow or you die,” thinks our CEO, Gisle Jentoft.
At SuperOffice, we believe that buying a new technology is not enough to ensure growth. We believe that only if you define your business processes, outline your goals, invest in new technologies and make sure your people are onboard, informed and well-trained, you will maximize your chances of growth.
In other words, if the 3 components – Processes, People and Technology – are combined and work in synergy, your business is going to spin like a well-oiled machine that is destined to grow.