In the last post I talked about what constitutes the 360 degree customer view and the benefits of it.

In essence, the consolidation of customer data within a CRM platform either by replacing existing systems, or by integrating with them, overcomes the issue of disconnected data silos and improves the customer experience, generates operational efficiencies, helps the company maintain regulatory compliance, increases sales and marketing effectiveness, and facilitates growth.

What I didn’t note, but perhaps should have done, is that these benefits are not dependent on universal user adoption for them to accrue, and independence from user adoption is an important consideration when considering the use of CRM technology.

To illustrate the point, let’s say our CRM system is integrated with the company’s finance system and the customer support platform. The sales team are key users of the system and easy access to this information helps them manage, retain, and grow their customers, which helps increase overall sales and margins.

While it might be desirable if every salesperson used the insight provided in the integrated CRM system, if a few elected not to, the benefits would still be generated by those that did.

However, in our example, the system is also set up to track sales opportunities with the objective of improving forecasting so that the factory can plan output so that it doesn’t manufacture too much or too little stock.

In this case, if David and Jane elect not to track their opportunities in the system, the factory isn’t going to get an accurate forecast, and the benefits accruing from better production planning won’t be realised.

It should be noted that a lot of the potential benefits of the use of CRM technology are predicated on full user adoption.

This is an important consideration. Getting people to use a CRM system, in the same way, a hundred percent of the time, isn’t easy. It generally involves a well-planned change management programme, and often a considerable investment of energy and resources over a long period of time.

It doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing to do, the benefits may prove huge.

However, the distinction is useful when considering a CRM project. If you don’t have the resources, desire, or discipline to establish universal and consistent usage patterns, focus on building a system where you achieve benefits regardless of whether everyone uses it or not.

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