Well truth is I don’t think it does! For years I have seen people hung up on the holy grail of information flowing seamlessly from their ERP (or any other system for that matter) to their CRM system – and back again in many cases. Some have been convinced by their ERP provider that a fully integrated  system is the way to go only to find poor adoption – some have gone the best of breed method with extensive integration only to find poor adoption.

So what’s the problem – a lot of the time the problem is the information overload that accompanies seamless integration – sales professionals value their time and want to avoid getting bogged down in non-value add activities. A poorly designed    CRM often results from the following – these approaches are all understandable are well intended but if they are not grounded in overall organisational innovation they can miss the point:

  • Sales control driven – we want to monitor all our sales teams activity so we have greater control
  • IT technology driven – we think we need to implement a CRM because everyone else is doing it
  • Finance efficiency driven – we think if we give the sales team more information so they can deal with all the customer issues
  • Marketing lead generation driven – we can get our sales team to capture lots of information from our customers so we can use it to generate more leads.

Compare this to thinking of a CRM project based on innovation (Eliminate, Reduce, Improve, Create). How will the CRM help our our organisation connect more effectively with our customers, potential customers AND our influencers. How will it make our customer facing team (actually the whole organisation!) be more effective in creating new business opportunities.

Seamless integration is a cop out – it was invented by technology firms to make it all sound easy, often driven by ERP vendors more focused on internal facing processes not external. What often resulted for the sales team – “well you have all the information at your fingertips so the rest of the organisation won’t have to deal with customers you can.”

STOP – sales professionals in high performance organisations should be spending time understanding their customers business goals and objectives and helping them achieve them – they are not there to deliver information that the administration & operatiomal departments can be providing far more efficiently.

Do yourself a favour – forget seamless integration –  think deeply about innovation and design of your xRM – of what information can be easily consumed by processes that add value …. and reap the rewards.

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