After all, every bit of data that you track about your customers and prospects is in that system. You’ve meticulously set up the system, ensured that your sales force is faithfully tracking all required information, and had dashboards and reports set up for observing the metrics that are most important to you. Yet, somehow, the data isn’t providing the insight you had hoped, and tracking the reports continues to take significant time. What gives?
The problem is not that the CRM isn’t doing its job. Instead, the problem is that the CRM is doing exactly its job, and not going above and beyond. A Customer Relationship Management System remains at its core a system that is designed to manage relationships and to store and communicate information about those relationships. A system like Salesforce.com may have excellent capability to display snapshots of that information, but the actual impact has to be inferred by the user (often times with a good deal of work).
It is for this reason that Business Intelligence solutions exist for use with CRMs. If the CRM has all that information stored, there must be a framework that can be applied that will tap the potential of that information to provide clear insight into your sales force. This is where a BI tool can step in to utilize that data more fully. Recently, a new stable of easy-to-use analytical tools have emerged for CRMs. One such example would be Cloud9 for Salesforce.com. The tool integrates seamlessly with Salesforce.com and provides an additional layer of data analysis using the CRM data. Consider the advantages of such an add-on:
The implications of this change in analysis can be significant, enabling you to identify the changes without having to track everything in Excel tables. So how then do you know if you need to supplement your CRM system? It’s worthwhile to start yourself out with a couple of questions:
- Do I currently get the insight that I need to properly guide the sales force from my existing systems?
- Do those existing systems require significant investments in effort to gather that insight?
If you are getting by without this being too much of a pain point, maybe your current system is all you need. However, it is important to know that there are solutions out there that can take your CRM data and bring it to a more accessible state, and open up your Sales Performance Management capabilities.
If you’ve had experience with this type of solution, let us know how they worked out and what value you saw. Likewise, if you have struggled to get proper insight from a CRM alone, let us know.