When companies feel revenue pains, it's often the "selling end" of a business that gets the focus. Owners & functional managers look for innovations from the sales team to build revenue.
The trouble is, enthusiasm for new innovations - especially over the last few years of tough times - often just dissolve into "finding the deals". At its worst, change fatigue occurs and planning for and/or executing best practices or innovations, goes by the wayside.
So, articulating the benefits of a customer relationship management proposition is a key skill. It's not enough to say "here's a great tool, where can we make it fit ?" It is all about proving where the proposition makes a difference - in terms that really matter - Increasing Revenue, Avoiding Costs or Improving Service. Returns that can be shown to be objective, detailed and quantifiable.
A good place to start is by understand the current processes in a company. How long do typical activities take to complete ? How many steps & people are involved ? What does that add up to in time (& money) ? How can they be improved - looking not just at direct costs but also the risks of lost or incorrect steps along the way. At all stages, consider how these internal processes look from a customer perspective. Then, and only then, think about CRM tools & how they can improve upon the current situation. What is that worth - in terms that really matter - Increasing Revenue, Avoiding Costs or Improving Service ?
Shape your internal conversations to reflect those findings. Talk about the returns, the money saved or the value created. The return that will "keep on giving" each & every day. Show a tangible return on investment, with real savings that can be measured in months, not years. Help the company commit to a well defined project that demonstrates tangible improvements to current processes. And be sure to engage the "selling part" of the business - find a group of salespeople willing to innovate to achieve for themselves and ultimately, their company.
Now, more than ever, measuring the success of business initiatives is key.