This third installment of my reflections from Hitachi’s CRM 2014 Conference brings me to business processes.  CRM products are NOT silver bullets, purchasing a CRM does NOT provide you with a fix to processes that have not been documented or shared.

Before implementing any CRM product, make sure you have a solid understand of the processes that you wish to automate with the CRM. There are many advanced functionalities available within most CRM products, but understanding and being able to communicate your business processes are a prerequisite to implementing the CRM to automate said processes.

A solid CRM product should provide a 360 degree view of your customers. Integrating to other systems may be required as well as workflows to enforce a business process.

The procesess should be documented in a “living” form to track changes to the process and to understand the reasons for a process. Later there may be questions and if the process is documented you can understand (or remember) the reasoning you or someone else made certain decisions.

Having clear documentation of business processes also help you build a return on investment report that can help you justify additional expenses by showing how the funds can be recouped.

Once the vision of the CRM is defined, processes should be documented and agreed upon. Ultimate these processes are already documented and available and may just need to be refined.