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Business Phones and CRM Adoption: The Link

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Executives invest in CRM because the idea of having information about every interaction with a prospect or customer is absolutely compelling.  Complete and up to date information about sales and support activities is critical to making good business decisions and driving the company through the front windshield, not the rear view mirror.  Sadly, many CRM implementations fail to live up to their initial promise for one simple reason, people don’t use it dependably.  Sure, they may log major account status changes, update opportunity stages, or mark a deal closed won, but to rely on every person to manually enter every call, email or voicemail is foolish.

So, how do smart organizations overcome this challenge?  One very effective approach is to integrate the business phone system with the CRM.  Doing so joins call data with customer information, making both systems much more powerful without requiring more effort on the part of the user.  In fact, this approach benefits the user and makes using the CRM a productivity saver, rather than a chore.

What’s in it for me?

Users of CRMs that are integrated with business telephones might enjoy several productivity enhancing features.  The most common is “click-to-dial.”  By clicking on a phone number in the CRM, the phone is automatically dialed, saving 15-20 seconds a call.  “Fat finger” mistakes are eliminated.  Another indispensable feature is inbound screen pops.  Sure, caller ID might tell you who is calling, but an inbound call screen pop from your CRM tells you why.  You can answer the call confidently and provide outstanding service by getting right to the matter at hand.  The best integrations also simplify and automate the process of taking notes.  After a call, a “wrap up code” or pre-defined result description can simply be selected from a menu.   Giving CRM users these tools makes it a no brainer to document every call. Within just a few days post implementation, reps start to see how the integration is helping them sell more. And the managers are no longer complaining that they are not entering in their call activities.

Measure What Matters

Once users are given an incentive to make calls directly from the CRM, managers gain the data necessary to measure both call quantity and quality.  You’ll be able to answer key questions, such as; What % of calls are with someone who is not in the CRM database?   What’s the mix of calls to prospects vs. existing clients?  It may be that the calls you define as quality change depending on circumstances.  For example, you may want your sales people targeting new prospects during the first of the month, but focusing mainly on activities associated with open opportunities toward the end.  Only a well-designed CRM implementation with telephone integration can give you this depth of information.   Once sales and service representatives become aware that this information is being measured and managed, adoption will increase yet further and managers realize that it is not enough to track who made the most calls, they must track who made the right calls.

Inspire Healthy Competition

It is not uncommon that sales and support staff who use their phone time the best are the ones who exceed quota and delight customers.  Creating real-time dashboards to share call data with the team will often result in an immediate bump in productivity.  Not only will staff be more certain to ensure that calls are logged in the CRM, they’ll likely make more, and higher quality calls.

Even in today’s digital world, the telephone is still the primary way that clients and prospects interact with sales and service representatives.  Integrating the phone system with the CRM is an excellent way to gain powerful insight into the business without and additional data entry burden on staff.  Good analytics and adoption can be achieved without a sacrifice to productivity.