Has your financial institution avoided adopting CRM? Or do you have an older CRM solution that has quietly slipped out of use? If you are considering raising the topic of modern CRM with your leadership team, here are a few ways to pitch the topic effectively:
Combat complacency by pointing out the downsides of the “status quo”. Chances are good your FI has a series of tried and trusted methods for handling customer interactions, and your leadership team may be very comfortable with this ‘business as usual’ mode, even if you see it as inefficient. You can shake loose their complacency and start the discussion by focusing on your organization’s most critical sales or service problem.
Start by addressing how the problem is symptomatic of larger business process issues and underline the importance of having a seamless customer experience across channels at your organization. Use the issue to talk about the need to find a long-term solution to a problem the whole organization wants to be resolved.
Tailor your message for maximum impact. Be sure you are connecting with each leader by identifying the specific benefits CRM can offer their staff. A sales executive, for example, will care about pipeline management, while your VP of marketing may be much more interested in improving marketing ROI.
Carefully acknowledge how CRM could help meet each stakeholder’s goals for their department, then extend the discussion to the organization as a whole. Demonstrate that you understand how without CRM, missed sales and service opportunities can have a cumulative effect on KPIs across the whole organization.
Sell the idea of establishing a CRM task force. The idea of CRM implementation can be daunting, so give your leadership team time to consider how to approach it. Don’t try to sell CRM as the one-and-only solution to the recent issue at your financial institution, and don’t try to get people to sign on without time to consider.
Instead, sell the idea of setting up a small working group to explore CRM, that’s it. All you are pitching is getting a few people together to talk about it. Once you’ve got the right people in the room, you can gently point out how CRM will streamline operations and improve day-to-day life for customers and staff alike.
Understand objections and be ready to counter them. Like any good salesperson, you will need to overcome common objections. Financial leaders aren’t often fully informed of the benefits that CRM offers. They may express concerns about the value of CRM overall (“We already have a process in place for handling all this”), or be concerned about the scope and timeline for implementation (“I hear these projects never get finished, or they get finished but then nobody uses the software”).
The best way to respond here is to do your homework and prepare to provide reassurance as needed. Yes, CRM can be complex and difficult to implement, but not if you find a tailored, proven solution for community financial institutions. Yes, CRM adoption can be a challenge, but not if you have a plan in place to train employees and incentivize their use of the software.
Close by asking to confirm follow-up. Remember, in this first meeting all you are doing is selling the idea to explore CRM as a solution. After you’ve laid out the benefits, overcome objections and reiterated the need for long-term planning to support the overall customer experience, ask if you can send your leadership team a follow-up email proposing next steps for exploring a CRM project.
Then thank them for their time, and don’t forget to send that follow-up message. CRM implementation is a cultural shift, so you’ll have to be patient as your team wrap their heads around it, but the payoff is worth the wait. Want some hard evidence? Check out our eBook on CRM ROI, or just get in touch with us, and we’ll share some of your peers’ success stories with you.
About the Author
“As the VP of Demand Marketing at Doxim, Olga helps financial institutions grow through improved customer experience and increased engagement. She is passionate about helping businesses choose the right technology to solve their challenges.”