Summary of an interview conducted with Mr. Réjean Perron, support and IT manager, and Mr. Patrick Gouin, business development manager, both of whom are experts in CRM solutions at Gestisoft.
Erosion of knowledge for optimal use of a CRM solution
Especially noticeable on CRM projects is the heavy involvement of the interested parties in the project’s implementation phase, user training and handover of the CRM solution to the customer. However, as the months and years go by, staff turnover and memory loss, combined with new functions added to the software, mean that a proportion of what’s known about the software’s capabilities diminishes.
Since people only retain about 80% of what they learn on a training course, when information is passed on to someone, that person will in turn only retain 80% of it! Meaning that, in the medium term (36 to 48 months), only 30 to 40% of a software’s capabilities are known. The end result is a solution that is used much less frequently, and often without updates, so all the new features remain idle. The CRM solution thus becomes less strategic in the business.
Ownership of the CRM solution
A CRM solution is implemented in a company to manage sales. That’s often done by a new manager or new vice-president of sales, who’s already familiar with the software and who wants to implement it on his new sales team. The problem is that the CRM solution is often implemented in a silo, far away from senior management, so the company has no strategic objectives for the CRM solution.
For example, a project sponsor implements a CRM solution and trains his sales team but, because of a high staff turnover rate, knowledge is lost, and since senior management is unaware of the CRM solution’s objective or strategic value for the organization, the underrated tool ends up being shelved.
Such phenomena are much less prevalent in ERP systems, because extremely tight controls are applied every month, so if processes have been forgotten, we’ll be notified in the monthend, reconciliation or yearend process.
The types of corporate functions supported by the ERP system, such as finance, are crucial. Though sales are just as crucial, they’re not governed the same way. Significant accountability for accounting, production, inventory, etc. is involved, where the standards and structures are more rigid.
When management is involved in an ERP project, it becomes a strategic decision for the company to implement such a solution. The ERP system is used to manage finances, operations and day-to-day activities so the company can continue to run flawlessly.
When a project is launched to implement a CRM solution, the management team’s support and a strategic goal for the company are critical so the CRM solution fits into the corporate culture, since it’s not just a solution, it’s a way of selling and managing business, and becomes a stakeholder in the organization’s culture.
We feel that it’s essential to choose a “champion” in the company to make the solution viable and to ensure its knowledge remains intact over the long term. Management must ultimately be involved and believe in the value of the CRM solution, which is well established in the organization.
Feel free to contact us as soon as possible to talk more about this problem and the best practices that can be used to halt the erosion of knowledge related to the optimal use of CRM systems.