Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and data management are now widely understood to be a crucial strategic tool for many organisations. Customers expect an improved personalised experience and want to be better understood. Organisations strive to be better at understanding and better at communicating.
If done well, this can only lead to increased value for end customers meaning longer term relationships and the associated increased revenues and profit for the organisation.
We’re continuing to see a shift from “Is using CRM right for us?” to “what’s the best way for us to leverage the data within our CRM?” and it is important to understand the various options available. In this post, we consider the option that organisations have to outsource aspects of CRM and data management to a specialist partner and the many potential benefits of this approach.
Developing and implementing a CRM and accompanying data strategy can be complex. There are many systems, potential lack of expert support and many common pitfalls which can halt progress.
The option of outsourcing CRM and data management has been an emerging trend used by many consumer brands and is now happening more frequently in B2B environments. It has become a serious option for organisations considering moving forward quickly with their CRM strategy or who want to get more from their customer data.
Here are the 7 reasons why you should consider outsourcing your CRM and data management:
1. CRM and data requires specialist expertise
Outsourcing any functional area which requires a depth of expertise that the organisation would find difficult to hire, train or replicate has its merits. We strongly believe that CRM and data falls into that category. As well as the initial system(s) selection and implementation,
CRM also requires organisational design, data management, data analysis, segmentation, profiling, marketing planning, campaign management, email marketing, customer surveys and staff training. CRM and data management has many specialist areas that require consideration and as CRM continues to adapt and change, using experts means you know you can rely on the latest thinking and ensure maximum returns.
2. De-risk your implementation
Choosing CRM/data management systems is a minefield. There are no shortage of vendors telling you that they have the system you need and others who will offer to build something bespoke from scratch. There are so many different aspects of CRM that it has become a risky, time consuming and complex decision. The list of required functions from a CRM system is huge and getting it wrong can be very costly in terms of financial spend and disruption to the business. It can also leave your users damaged from their experience meaning future changes become even more difficult.
Outsourcing the operational management of your CRM often means that you get the systems you need as part of the service. The agency frequently goes through the process of systems selection which you then get the benefit of.
3. Get an extension to your sales and marketing team
Typically, commercial, marketing or digital teams will include someone who has some accountability for CRM and its data, but also with responsibilities for much more – especially at busy times.
For example, creating data-driven email campaigns may end up being just noise blasts as you simply don’t have the time to use your data more effectively, despite best intentions.
A CRM agency can become an extension to your team which means that when those typical peaks and troughs arise you have a committed people ‘on the bench’ waiting to help.
Trying to recruit all the required skills can often be prohibitive when budgets are tight so buying into an agency that has all the required skills means you can access those skills immediately when they are needed, being a more efficient and effective use of budget than recruitment.
4. Staying current with best practices
Sometimes you may be reinventing the wheel with your CRM efforts. An agency will bring a fresh perspective to the table and ensure you can keep up with best practice more easily…from both inside and outside the industry.
For example, CRM agencies will be up-to-date on email marketing best practice and how it can potentially work best for your organisation. It is their job after all and they do this for a living. Why not let the experts worry about the finer details?
They will also work with several other clients and therefore will have current tried and tested methods to help you hit the ground running and avoid the many pitfalls. In essence the CRM and data agency provides experience and expertise that can prove invaluable in delivering your ROI more quickly.
5. Upskill your own staff
It’s a common objection that by outsourcing you won’t see any internal investment in your staff or any expertise get transferred to your organisation.
In reality however, it is often the complete opposite. Most CRM agencies will offer training as part of the package and may also even take a member of your staff under their wing and train them up to become your in-house expert. It’s virtually impossible not to pick up knowledge as you go!
Agencies don’t have to be forever either, so don’t be put off by the fear of long term reliance. Instead, you should focus on the immediate benefits and time/cost savings outsourcing to the experts can achieve and then if you want to do it yourselves later you will be well on the road to success.
6. Greater measurability, improved results
If you choose a partner that is dedicated to your data and CRM activity, they will make sure that they measure their results, and yours, in order to demonstrate their value. After all, it is their business and their reputation relies upon this. They will implement measures and reports to prove ROI and this measurement also leads to a greater likelihood of improved results as they will want to report good news. When you pay an agency for their services you can hold them to account to deliver and it is in their interest to make sure they do.
An agency will be more likely to report on your sales progress without the natural bias of an internal manager, so it can be a good way to remove this burden and improve accountability.
7. Flexibility of service
A full service CRM and data agency offers a wide range of services with the flexibility of allowing clients to pick and choose the relevant package for them. For example, this can include systems provision, training, reporting, customisation, data analysis, segmentation, e-campaign management and support.
Also, it is easy to switch on extra services in peak times as and when required meaning you don’t have the headache of recruiting extra staff just to manage the peaks in workload (e.g. for seasonal campaigns).
The results available from CRM and data techniques can be significant for organisations looking to build better relationships with their customers. However, a lack of resources (people, specialist skills and systems) can often mean that the rewards from this approach are never realised. Using a CRM/Data agency can be an extremely attractive option available to organisations with enough flexibility to allow a full or partial outsource depending on specific requirements.
It can lead to significantly greater results due to the extra focus and specialist expertise available whilst at the same time reducing the risks of going it alone. If it’s the approach used successfully by big firms and you can do it affordably then it’s certainly worthy of consideration.
The Hatchit Managed CRM Service
Hatchit is passionate about helping organisations improve their customer relationships through a data-driven, insight-led approach. We provide a tailored service, with a blend of the necessary skills and resources required, to generate results from your CRM software. We become an extension to your CRM/Data Marketing team and work in partnership with you with to achieve your CRM and data goals.
Our expert consultants help you to develop a strategy, cleanse and maintain your data, generate insight, manage campaigns, advise on best practice and ultimately generate returns.