Revisit CRM, an accelerator for your business objectives

28 January 2020

Microsoft Dynamics 365

Technology is a means, never an end in itself. Although a CRM system falls into the category of a "refined technology tool", its smart side will only really surface when this tool is deployed properly in a business context. It can empower employees and make customers feel that you understand them better. The satisfaction levels of both your employees and your customers will increase. And when your employees are committed, they will deliver a positive, unique customer experience. Are you constructing your CRM system with this in mind?

Do your customers enjoy answering the same question twice?

Whenever someone gets in touch with a customer, picks up the phone to speak to a new prospect or follows up on a promising lead, they will learn something new and potentially valuable. Traditionally, all this information was squirreled away in personal notes or even just in the heads of different people. For years now, however, there have been all manner of CRM systems available to collect, share and analyze this kind of information. What we are seeing in practice, however, is that the technology is often used without any clear vision of how it can support business targets. The system is there, the need is (often superficially) met, and that's the end of it. In practice, customers are often presented with the same questions more than once, contact details remain buried in email archives, and leads continue to slip through the cracks.


An accelerator for growth and strategic goals

Many companies also dream of having a single system that allows employees to find a complete overview of what is happening within the company. It would provide a visual image of how the business is doing at any given time, with alerts that actively draw attention, for example, to the fact that support activities are taking too long for an individual customer and that something needs to be done about it.

Your long-term dream is hidden away in the answers to the following questions:

  • What do you want CRM to do for you?
  • What does it need to contribute?
  • How do employees want to work with it?
  • How will teams need to be organized around it?
  • What are the requirements? What does the system need to be able to do?

At its heart, there should be a store of interesting data to which analyses can be applied, and to which smart actions can be linked that help a business to grow.

The real voyage of discovery consist not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust

If we see the flag, we can all look for the path leading to it

General business targets and a strategy are set out for a particular period. They are a visible flag towards which the whole business should be moving. We strongly believe it is people that make the greatest difference, and we are convinced ICT can help people and companies to work more efficiently and simply. This is why we developed a CRM Awareness & Design Study. We want to hold a few workshops, take a deep dive into your business context, and map out together how a CRM system (existing or new) can help to pave the way forward.


During the study, we take the specific challenge facing your company at this time as our basis. A CRM system is a business strategy, not a destination; it is important that it is repeatedly aligned to the needs of the business along with its employees, customers and partners. To start with, we brainstorm on the possible impact of the CRM system. By choosing not to get into the technical details straight away, we can rely on the involvement of all the relevant parties. This way, we will often unearth hidden treasures that could potentially bring huge added value to the company. Based on the information we collect, we list the preconditions for the solution, as organized by their priority and added value. This enables us to build in enough flexibility to respond to ongoing changes and further insights.

Experience has taught us that this approach ensures greater involvement by all parties, a clear definition of the targets and requirements, and improvements to existing business processes. Your company will be able to make the shift away from reactive decisions and toward proactive insights. There will now be a strategy behind the use of your CRM system that realizes the full potential of the tool, its users and your company.

Every project narrates a story about goals, the team, timing, deliverables, and it requires detailed project planning to get the story right and keep the characters out of trouble. Some of those stories are short and sweet, while others are long novels with twists and turns. We were in the latter category, characters of a long novel with complicated turns. The advisory study we did with Realdolmen in the initial phase of development of the Dynamics 365 Events Marketing tool helped us tell our story in a very eloquent manner, and put structure where we were lacking it. It helped us clarify the project scope and its objectives, and we were able to start the project with clear objectives in mind, and with a concrete mapping of what the software offers, the challenges and limitations. It was also a team building exercise and we loved the visual approach Realdolmen used. Highly recommended for small or large projects, gets you started with a clear head.

Andreea Calbeaza, Corporate affairs manager, Microsoft EU Government Affairs

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