“I’m already paying enough for my CRM. Why should I pay extra for ongoing support?”
It’s a fair question that many midsize companies ask when switching CRMs. At face value, an annual CRM support plan seems like an unnecessary expense that could be better allocated toward revenue-producing activities, such as this year’s online ads budget. On the other hand, failing to achieve liftoff with your CRM represents a significant risk to the company’s future success, which could far outweigh the de minimis cost of a success plan.
So, is a CRM success plan actually worth the cost?
Let’s see if it’s right for your business.
1. Structured approach to onboarding and training elevates user adoption
As a marketing consultant, I’ve assisted with several CRM transitions during my career. I say “assisted” and not “led” because I’m not a CRM expert, per se. To effectively implement a CRM at a midsize company, one must possess a unique blend of skills and knowledge, ranging from sales pipelines to database management and third-party integrations. (That’s why I typically choose to support the process, rather than lead it.)
Some companies try to leverage in-house technical resources, such as an IT manager, to oversee implementation and training. Although this approach can work, there’s a chance that the IT manager lacks the practical sales knowledge to customize the platform to the company’s unique customer journey. Such misalignment causes a never-ending loop of confusion between sales and IT, which delays onboarding and stifles user adoption.
Hiring a CRM consultant is another common solution. However, this strategy has its own set of drawbacks. Granted, a good CRM consultant may be more conversant when it comes to sales pipelines, and he or she should certainly know the software. That being said, a skilled CRM consultant’s time is not cheap, and every consultant’s onboarding methodology is bound to be slightly different. What’s worse, if the consultant fails to deliver on his or her promises, the client has few options other than starting over with a new consultant.
How a CRM success plan helps: Signing up for a vendor-provided CRM success plan can lessen or eliminate many of the aforementioned risks. Remember, the CRM vendor has a vested interest to ensure you’re up and running quickly and with a high level of user adoption. (Otherwise, they won’t be getting your signature for next year’s renewal.) An experienced and dedicated success manager will listen to your business objectives and apply his or her CRM expertise to align the technology to your exact needs. Better yet, you’ll be guided through an onboarding and training workflow that’s already been tested on countless other midsize companies.
In short, a vendor-provided CRM success plan standardizes your onboarding experience, reduces the workload for in-house staff, and minimizes your dependency on high-priced consultants.
2. Personalized guidance creates stability in the face of change
To grow and compete in today’s competitive market, midsize companies must constantly adapt and evolve. Change is good, but each new change has a downstream impact on business systems—and a CRM is no exception. Just because a pipeline was accurately configured yesterday does not mean that it is useful today. Cluttering a CRM with unnecessary data fields and relying on outdated processes slows down business development, thereby increasing the chances that users will abandon the system altogether.
Despite the necessity for change, companies often hesitate to make adjustments to their CRMs. Fear of “breaking something” usually outweighs the unquantifiable gains to be had by maintaining an agile CRM instance. As a result, user adoption erodes over time, leading to a CRM that becomes even less relevant with each passing day.
How a CRM success plan helps: A CRM success plan can provide staff with the confidence they need to overcome the fear of “breaking something.” As your business grows, your customer success manager walks alongside you to co-develop strategies for adapting the software without business interruption. And, as your CRM vendor rolls out new features, your success manager will be there to brainstorm innovative use cases that maximize the system’s impact for your situation.
Simply put, a vendor-provided CRM success plan provides you with a sense of stability in a constant world of rapid business and technological change.
3. Accountability to ensure consistent usage
Of course, this can only be possible when users buy into the system and leverage it as their central source of truth. Sadly, some companies invest significant resources into the upfront onboarding process, only to resort to bad habits a few months after the switch. Without proper accountability checks in place, users inevitably gravitate toward familiar data silos, such as isolated inboxes and spreadsheets, which, ultimately, leads to a high-caliber CRM full of low-caliber data.
How a CRM success plan helps: With a vendor-provided CRM success plan, you’ll gain an added layer of accountability to keep users engaged with the system. Collaborate with your customer success manager to configure data-driven reports and dashboards that monitor usage. After establishing a baseline, it may be wise to set up email alerts to notify you (and your CSM) when usage falls below a desired level or exceeds a predefined goal. From there, brainstorm new opportunities for maximizing system utilization.
Lean on your customer success manager’s experiences with other clients to implement best practices at your company.
Choosing the right plan for your needs
One final thought about CRM success plans: Not every vendor forces you into a one-size-fits-all package. Case in point, check out the three support tiers offered by Insightly. Be sure to ask your vendor if they offer multiple support options, then select the plan that best fits your needs. You could always adjust in the future.
Interested in learning more about Insightly’s products and success plans? Request a demo and get in touch with the Insightly team.