Workbooks Platform Gives New Meaning to the ‘R’ in CRM

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A new era of customer relationship management is emerging, with a focus on innovative design and strategic platform goals. Businesses rethinking their use of these platforms can improve profit margins, enhance customer satisfaction, streamline operations, and foster innovative engagement strategies.

According to Dan Roche, chief marketing officer at Workbooks CRM, two factors are driving this change. First is the realization that CRM is not about features and functions but relationships. The second is the re-evaluation of bloated CRM implementations.

His company is positioning itself at the forefront of this new CRM direction, focusing on CRM platform features it hopes will redefine how businesses navigate the shift towards tailoring efficiency, fostering relationships, and making informed choices for their customers’ better economic success.

The “R” in CRM is usually about the relationship between a company using a CRM system and its customers and prospects. Surprisingly, the connection between the customer and the vendor is an aspect that has been considerably neglected, he argued.

“We already suspected that this had a real impact on the success of a CRM project, and that’s just what our research uncovered,” Roche told CRM Buyer.

Against a tighter economic backdrop, the focus is shifting to seeking efficiency. Roche sees businesses realizing they bought a Rolls-Royce-style CRM equivalent (think Salesforce) when they need a VW with some well-chosen options and excellent aftercare.

“The savings can be enormous, and the usage of the system rises significantly, meaning better value and productivity, as the system is tailored for the users, not the other way around,” he said.

CRM Deployment Trends

The SaaS platform provider of Workbooks CRM recently conducted a survey that revealed that 64.9% of businesses currently favor a single-vendor approach to CRM deployment. This shift allows them to establish direct relationships with one CRM provider who provides the software and handles the implementation.

Those firms that opt for the multi-party route select software from one vendor and then engage a third-party provider to roll out additional software features. The research revealed that businesses engaging in multi-party deployments reported lower satisfaction levels than those with direct relationships.

One reason for this is that 75% of CRM buyers choosing the multi-party route reported they had incurred unexpected costs during deployment. Within this response group, 14% of buyers incurred significant additional costs.

Roche noted that these findings highlight a critical but not well-understood issue: The multi-party CRM approach often works against the buyer’s interests, leading to increased risks and potential deployment failures.

Also driving this new era of CRM technology is the consumerization of B2B software. Individuals, whether consciously or subconsciously, anticipate a user experience that offers something similar to the App Store’s seamless functionality or Amazon’s effortless purchasing process when engaging with any new software.

“Gone are the days when business software was a specialist-only affair, characterized by clunkiness and solely deployable by IT teams. The landscape has evolved to a stage where non-technical users are actively involved in both procuring and implementing systems that form the backbone of crucial business processes,” he said about the evolving uses for CRM platforms.

Multi-Party CRM Pitfalls

Multi-party CRM involves a vendor selling you the software and a partner handling its implementation. This is a prevalent practice in enterprise SaaS, explained Roche. That process, however, involves a misalignment of interests.

On one hand, vendors typically aim to maximize license sales and, as a result, may not invest extensively in deployment, which offers less financial reward.

On the other hand, deployment or consulting partners derive their revenue from time and materials, which, in turn, incentivizes longer projects, often irrespective of the ultimate outcomes.

“This represents a huge conflict of interests, which tends to have consequences for the buyer,” said Roche.

New CRM Strategies for Business Success

Part of this redefinition of CRM software is the potential for more successful selling in the business-to-business realm. Business buyers possess a clear vision of their desired outcomes.

The challenge lies in navigating all the different routes available to achieve them. The transformation will reshape how these buyers embark on the CRM journey, ushering in a new era of decision-making, suggested Roche.

CRM features that address efficiency, foster better connections between customers and sellers, and provide informed choices will play a key role in bringing about innovation for economic success.

“The more effectively a CRM system is implemented, the higher the user adoption and the better the business process will work. The outcome is improved efficiency and business growth,” said Roche.

Revamping Bloated CRM Systems

Roche has a simple answer to why this new operational approach has not been available or desired until now: Not enough analysis or research has been conducted into the existing relationships between CRM providers and customers.

“We saw this first-hand, speaking with our customers who were unaware that there was a more effective approach out there,” he quipped.

The need for businesses and platform developers to re-evaluate things like feature bloat suggests that “more is better” is no longer pertinent in CRM platforms, agreed Roche.

“A bloated CRM often arises from projects that lacked initial planning or experienced shifts in business requirements since the project’s inception,” he added.

Another common scenario involves the individuals or groups spearheading the CRM project transitioning to different roles or leaving the company. Consequently, the CRM responsibility falls onto someone else’s shoulders, possibly a new entrant to the business.

“This is when challenges arise,” noted Roche.

Holistic Approach to CRM

U.K.-based Workbooks CRM also has U.S. operations. The company takes a unique approach by serving as both a vendor and a deployment partner to provide a relationship-centric strategy that actively mitigates commercial risks by investing alongside its customers.

For instance, the company’s Shared Success program matches its customers’ investment in Workbooks licenses with complimentary consulting days. If a customer’s annual license value is $50k, Workbooks CRM provides an equivalent of 50 free consulting days.

“Our primary goal is to speed up the acquisition of customers for you as cost-effectively as possible so you can witness the intrinsic value of a well-implemented CRM solution, both internally and externally. Subsequently, we work towards implementing a tailored solution that seamlessly aligns with your existing business processes,” said Roche.

Jack M. Germain

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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