5 Reasons to Work with a CRM Technology Partner
Why work with a CRM technology partner at all?
So you’ve decided to implement a new CRM system. Congratulations!
Maybe this is your company’s first foray into customer relationship management software. Maybe you’re replacing an old or failed system. Regardless, this is a big step.
Now, before you take that step, I’d like to offer some advice: don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The CRM market is now the top business software market. But far too many CRM projects have failed along the way to that top spot.
Way back in 2001, a Gartner study determined 50% of CRM implementations failed to meet organizational goals. Since then, study after study has reported failure rates between 30% and 70%.
Many of those failed projects are the result of organizations going it alone despite lacking experience with CRM. Too many people assume implementing CRM and using CRM is simple, like flipping a switch or waving a magic wand.
But that is not the case. And sadly, the results of those assumptions are laid out in study after disheartening study.
CRM is an incredibly powerful tool, and there are aspects of its use that are quite intuitive. But it is not just a technology solution, and it is certainly not a magic wand. Treating it as such is setting yourself up for failure.
Getting the most from your CRM system requires training, time, and expertise. That’s why we always recommend you work with a technology partner to get your system up and running.
Here’s five of the most important reasons why you should work with a technology partner on your CRM project:
1) Save time
Do you have CRM experts on your team already? No? Well, you do now.
Working with a technology partner gives you instant access to expertise. There’s no wait while you train up experts in-house, and none of the risks associated with handing the keys of your expensive new investment to someone who doesn’t yet know exactly what they’re doing.
And if you do already have an expert or two in-house? Odds are you can still save time by working with multiple experts who do CRM for a living. Plus, now you don’t need to pull your people off their current projects until it’s time to train on your new, fully implemented system.
All that said, your mileage may vary on this one. Some organizations really can get themselves up and running just as quickly as they would by working with a technology partner. But those organizations are few and far between, and many of them are technology partners themselves.
Basically, if you don’t already have a proven track record of in-house CRM implementation and training, you probably aren’t going to match the speed of a good technology partner at either. In that case, you’re better off working with an experienced CRM technology partner.
2) Save money while you make money
When it comes to CRM, time is definitely money. According to a 2014 Nucleus Research study, the average return on a CRM investment is $8.71 for every $1.00 invested. That’s up from $5.60 per $1.00 in 2011.
That’s a lot of potential to boost your bottom line.
But before your business can start reaping the benefits of your new CRM system, you need to get it up and running and get your team trained to make the most from it.
That’s where your CRM technology partner comes in.
When you outsource your CRM implementation and training to a CRM technology partner, you minimize the time it takes to get your system up and running and your team up to speed, and you maximize the time your team spends doing what they do best in the meantime.
So really, this section shouldn’t just be titled “Save money while you make money.” It should be titled, “Save money while you make money, then make more money faster and sooner.”
Less catchy, yes, but more accurate!
3) Ensure CRM success
All those eye-popping return on investment numbers are contingent on you and your team successfully incorporating your new CRM system into your day-to-day operations. And that leads us to revisit some more sobering numbers.
Research over the past two decades suggests CRM implementations fail between 30% and 70% of the time.
Granted, there’s a lot of inconsistency when it comes to how those organizations define both success and failure. Nevertheless, the numbers still make a lot of new CRM adopters nervous, and we certainly can’t blame them! After all, CRM is not cheap. It requires a real investment, not only in terms of capital, but also in terms of time and personnel.
That’s why it’s so important to work with a technology partner who understands CRM not just as a technology solution, but as a tool to improve your business practices.
Those inflated CRM failure rates aren’t typically the result of bad products or bad luck. Most often, they are the result of a fundamental misunderstanding of what CRM is, does, and requires.
A good CRM technology partner will stick around beyond the system implementation phase to ensure your team understands and uses the system to its fullest potential. The training offered by partners like Azamba can dramatically improve your odds of seeing CRM success.
We offer a 100% money-back guarantee, and we’ve only had 2 failed projects out of more than 300. That’s a 99% success rate! Compare that to the dismal numbers from organizations that go it alone, and hiring a technology partner starts looking like a no-brainer.
Think of it this way: if you buy a stock car, who do you want training your team to drive it?
Kyle Busch? Kevin Harvick? Jimmie Johnson?
Or that guy Maury from sales who’s pretty sure he can get this baby set up in no time flat?
Sorry, Maury, but I’m gonna have to put your chance of success at less than 99% on this one…
4) Add value to your CRM solution
Many technology partners differentiate themselves by adding value to your products. Value-added resellers (VAR) bundle your CRM licenses and onboarding with add-ons, customizations, consulting, training, support, or some combination of those extra features and services.
For example, at Azamba, we offer our OnTrack CRM Success System with your CRM license. OnTrack includes access to exclusive add-ons and customizations, as well as development and tech support to maximize system value. Plus, you get a calendar of activities, instructional videos, workbooks, and additional materials to smooth your CRM adoption.
Every organization’s wish list is different, and not every CRM technology partner will offer what you really want. But the odds are very good that you can find a CRM technology partner who does. And when you do, you can probably check a whole lot off that wish list!
5) Improve long-term viability
If you’re considering CRM, you understand the importance of maintaining strong relationships with your customers. Well, those of us who sell CRM understand that, too, and one of the best ways to maintain a strong relationship with you is to ensure the long-term viability of your product by providing updates, support, customizations, and additional training.
A good CRM system is a lot like a good car. It can last a long time, but only if you maintain it well. All too often, though, we interview prospects who have let their CRM rust in the backyard.
A good technology partner, then, is like a good mechanic. Your partner can help ensure your CRM is still going strong years down the line, and can even help you soup up your system over time by offering more specific tools and training as your team gets more experienced.
For example, at Azamba, we offer yearly system check-ups, deep-dive sessions and workshops, and an ever-expanding suite of customizations to keep your team and your system humming along in harmony for years to come.
How can Azamba help you succeed with CRM?
We believe CRM done right can transform your business, but we know what often happens when CRM is done wrong, or when a company chooses the wrong partner or system for their needs.
So when you contact us, one of our first tasks is to determine the best fit for your business. If it’s not us, we’ll tell you so, and do our best to recommend someone more likely to fit your needs. We’d much rather send you to one of our partners than sell you a solution that won’t make you any money.
We also know that without proper process and training, too many implementations fail even when you choose the right CRM system.
That’s why we developed the OnTrack CRM Success System. Our OnTrack system is a structured approach to CRM adoption, training, and implementation that is guaranteed to ensure the short-term success and long-term value of your CRM system.
OnTrack is a fixed-price subscription service with a full money-back guarantee. We provide a calendar of activities, step-by-step instructions, videos, workbooks, worksheets, coaching calls, deep-dive sessions, custom add-ons and solutions, and ongoing support, all of which are the product of hundreds of successful CRM implementations over the last ten years.
And in that time, only 2 customers have ever asked for their money back. That’s right: while industry experts predict 30-70% failure rates, we’ve had only 2 failed CRM implementations out of more than 300 projects.
That’s the power of a proven partner and proven methodology.
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David Marincic is head of publishing at Azamba. He focuses on education and outreach, and manages and edits Azamba publications and social media channels.
David believes in the importance of good planning, sound practice, effective communication, and continued education in order to get the most from any technology solution.