Organizations are increasingly recognizing the business case for adopting customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These CRM systems serve as critical tools to enhance understanding of clients and their specific requirements, enabling proper alignment of the right individuals with the right accounts. These systems also act as vital repositories of detailed insights about prospective relationships, capturing who within your organization has interacted with a prospect and documenting their conversations to date. In essence, the strategic business case for CRM lies in the wealth of information it stores, which empowers your organization to effectively pursue new business opportunities with both existing and prospective clients.
With so much to gain from a CRM deployment, it makes good business sense to spearhead the initiative within your firm. Here’s how you can make a compelling case for moving forward.
- Align With Your Strategic Goals
- Demonstrate the Value of CRM
- Compile Desired Outcomes
- Recommend Next Steps
Step 1: Align With Your Strategic Goals
One of the biggest mistakes CRM champions make is to focus on the technology instead of the outcomes it can enable. In the end, your firm’s powers that be don’t care what you’re buying as much as why you’re buying it. In this case, it’s critical to map the CRM purchase to your firm’s business development objectives and overall strategic goals.
Let’s say your firm’s business development goals are to:
- Reduce customer acquisition costs
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Achieve higher average engagement billings
These are high-level goals that matter to your firm’s executives – and that a CRM system can help you achieve. You need to keep these front and center as you prepare your business case.
Step 2: Demonstrate the Value of CRM
Continuing with the business-focused approach, you should now get into more detail about how a CRM system can help your firm achieve its goals. This isn’t about explaining how a CRM system works and expanding on technical details. It’s about illustrating all the ways the system can help your firm:
- Build and strengthen client and prospect relationships
- Uncover valuable insights
- Improve productivity by improving process and workflow efficiencies (such as by reducing data entry, eliminating outreach overlap, etc.)
An effective approach is to show how your firm is currently struggling in these areas due to its reliance on manual processes and an array of systems designed for other purposes. In fact, a complete understanding of your current processes is essential to determining whether or not a CRM system will provide value. Once you can confidently explain the shortcomings of your firm’s current approach, share the story of another firm that overcame similar issues by embracing CRM.
Step 3: Compile Desired Outcomes
In step one, we talked about focusing on goals and suggested a few hypothetical ones. Now it’s time to document your firm’s true goals. What would it want to achieve by deploying a CRM system? The key is figuring out the value if, for example, you can call upon more insights to strengthen client relationships. Or if your business development reps can spend 90% less time on data entry and 90% more time on prospecting.
Capturing this as part of your business case is how you show your executive team that you’re advocating for this solution for strategic reasons. Plus, these outcome goals will be your benchmark for measuring how well potential vendors can help – and ultimately, your chosen solution helps – you achieve these goals.
Step 4: Recommend Next Steps
A well-considered business case assumes that readers will come to the same conclusion as the author. In this case, that would be to pursue the purchase of a CRM system. With that in mind, wrap the business case up with concrete next steps your firm should take to move forward. This could include an outline of the research and evaluation process, a list of potential vendors, a questionnaire you will ask of each vendor, and the plan for deploying the system, training users and driving adoption and usage.
CRM can improve business development in your firm – but it can also help your firm grow. Find out all the ways it can do just that.