Computer programmer and wiki inventor Ward Cunningham famously asked a question that too few companies consider when they implement customer relationship management (CRM): “What’s the simplest thing that could possibly work?”
The shortest path from problem to solution is generally an uncomplicated one. Despite this, technology-driven solutions tend to embrace complexity and celebrate features that end users ultimately find distracting, or worse, deal-breakers.
This is why so many employees turn their backs on expensive CRM deployments.
If your team hates the CRM you just rolled out, simplicity is the key to winning them over. Here are three ways to leverage Cunningham’s question to reap greater returns on your CRM investment.
Nobody wants to completely overhaul a familiar process, and your CRM should be flexible enough to accommodate the retention of the workflows that, well, work. Don’t hold so tightly to new task management processes that your team fights to retain the old ones.
Instead, focus on the core features people need to do their jobs well. You might sacrifice some of the bells and whistles you bought, but you’ll cut down on training time and increase the likelihood that employees get onboard by entering thorough data and actually using it.
Remove the middle man
The more complex the system you use, the more likely your team will spend part of their days waiting for responses to service tickets. The simpler the feature set, the more likely it is that your team can figure out what to do when they delete data they need or realize they imported bad data.
Similarly, simplicity in your CRM can help disparate departments communicate directly and easily. When business development needs to speak the same language as, say, pharmacists, an uncomplicated CRM can serve as the liaison and allow for easier sharing of work across departments.
Remove root problems
If you’ve stripped down your CRM to its most straightforward functions, but you’re still not seeing the benefits you expected, it might be evidence of a deeper problem. Maybe your leads are disappearing at the moment they look most promising. Or the contact data required to keep workflows running is as outdated as it was when your team relied on Excel spreadsheets and individual Rolodex files.
New tools can’t solve every sales problem. It’s possible your team has a process challenge that goes deeper than the technology you’ve provided to help nurture customers and close new deals. If you suspect this is the case, fix your human challenges first. Once you do that, your simplest CRM should help enhance the power of your well-functioning team.