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Enabling productivity gains and digital transformation with CRM

We talk to Steven Foster, Intergen’s Dynamics CRM Solution Specialist, about the role a strong CRM platform plays in making productivity gains and business-wide transformation a reality.

Digital Transformation - Less Busyness, More Business

When it comes to productivity gains, and a drive towards business transformation more generally, what key trends and common business drivers do you see in the CRM space?

It’s well proved that as successful CRM systems are embedded and adopted, the more productive a sales force can be. As user adoption of CRM increases, the time people have to spend on sales-related activities increases from 54% to more than 62%.

With increased productivity and better business results as the end goal, here are some of the main trends, businesses drivers and pain points we see when we’re talking to or working with New Zealand organisations looking to either implement a new Dynamics CRM platform or to upgrade an existing CRM implementation (potentially bringing it from on-premises to online to get all the benefits of the cloud, for example).

Goodbye spreadsheet. Hello CRM

Even in organisations with big sales teams and otherwise mature business processes, it’s amazing how many businesses we see that are still reliant on spreadsheets. So one of the very first challenges is often looking at how we can remove spreadsheets from the business and get an organisation – including, importantly, all its various CRM users – to put its trust in the CRM system.

Sales force efficiency

One of the most common questions we’re asked, by organisations of all sizes, is: How can we make our sales force more efficient and effective, and provide them with the right tools, resources and processes to generate more revenue?

The challenge of sales efficiency and effectiveness is a pressing one. As consumers, we know that that the way people buy has changed forever. No longer do we get product knowledge from the sales person; we already know about the product before we speak with them. As consumers – of whatever the service or product may be – we are after outcomes and benefits. The role of the salesperson has changed, and a CRM system needs to support and accommodate these changes.


This is increasingly a prerequisite for all CRM implementations. Organisations need to enable their sales teams to work from anywhere. This could of course be by accessing CRM via a mobile device, but equally mobility is about making sure your people have the right access to the right tools wherever they area, even when they’re right in front of the customer.

Gaining insights

This is critical to the success of any sales team, but the ability to capture insights on sales is difficult without the right processes and tools in place. By spending time getting the technology and processes in place to define and report on sales insights, you can then focus your energy on acting on these insights.

In light of these trends and business drivers, what tangible productivity gains are we helping our CRM clients to achieve?

We help organisations to achieve all of the things I’ve listed above – from spreadsheet elimination which brings a single source of the truth through to mobile enablement; and from increased efficiency and effectiveness through to the ability to gain and act on important business insights.

It’s important to note that as we work with these organisations, our main focus is on delivering outcomes, not technology solutions. For example, the outcome may be: We want to increase the number of sales appointments a rep can achieve in a week. And with this in mind – and knowing the various aspects underlying this (like individual mindsets, systems and processes – we then may look at mobility solutions and business process optimisation.

Increasingly insights are part of our deliverables, looking at how we can take the data that is being generated and turn it into an actionable insight. To give one example, this may be by enabling the sales manager to focus on exceptions rather than on everyone.

Then there are all sorts of other productivity gains we see our clients achieving with their CRM systems in place, like removing the burden of admin, manual processes and the duplication of data entry and reporting, as well as bringing together information sources to increase efficiencies and introduce consistency across teams.

Tell us about the journey an organisation goes on with a CRM implementation in order to achieve organisational transformation

The key to a successful roadmap is defining the outcomes that will be delivered along the way and what the metrics are that will measure these. i.e. Has the outcome delivered to expectations, and if not, why not?

So, at a very high level, the steps are to:

  • Define the strategy and the desired outcomes
  • Define the metrics that will be used to measure progress and performance with strategy and outcome in mind
  • Define the phasing and timing of delivering the outcomes
  • Define the process>
  • Align to the technology that will deliver the outcomes

What lessons, tips or tricks can you share that can help organisations as they consider embarking upon – or continuing on – their digital transformation journey?

Based on experience, some key tips for success in digital transformation projects are:

  • Make sure you assign ownership to the pain. To cure a pain you need to buy in to a change that will see this pain go away. Without the right leadership drive and ownership the pain may ease but it will never go away.
  • Define key metrics and how these metrics will be used to deliver change and measure success.
  • Focus on outcomes, not technology. Without defining outcomes right up front, implementing a CRM – or any other – system might not deliver the desired results.
  • Don’t forget to focus on the person – either internal user or customer – and what they need from the change. Understand their role, their needs and what will make them more efficient, and always challenge based on this.

This blog entry is part of the series Less Busyness, More Business, featuring blog posts from leaders across Intergen. Each blog will focus on the digital transformation themes raised in our digital transformation guide and delve deeper into what digital transformation means for New Zealand organisations in specific technology areas.

Digital Transformation - Less Busyness, More Business

Posted by: Steven Foster, Client Director | 06 July 2016

Tags: CRM, Customer Relationship Management, Digital Transformation, Less Busyness More Business

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