How do CRMs support enterprise processes?

Beyond the typical CRM conception

Corporate companies typically acquire licenses for Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce CRM to automate and centralize information related to their sales, customer service, and marketing efforts in a single platform. While the traditional idea of what a CRM software is used for dates back to the 1980s, there are many other applications for CRMs today. The bigger the company and the more people who are involved, the greater advantages there are to using a CRM platform to standardize key processes.

Once they have acquired a license, companies can begin optimizing conventional CRM processes such as sales, marketing, and customer service, by uploading and organizing information about the customer. When that optimization is complete, they can move onto other customer-centric processes, where they can facilitate greater economies of scale through the previously uploaded information. After implementing these processes, companies can also manage non-customer processes in their CRM, such as assets, employees, partners, and stakeholders, thereby, maximizing their platform's value.

In short, the process would be:

  1. Adopt the typical commercial processes (sales, customer service, and marketing)
  2. Implement other customer-centric processes
  3. Extend the value of the platform by implementing additional non-customer-centric processes

Additionally, companies can make the most out of these “expensive” platforms and reach a higher level of maturity in their operations. This results in an increase in the company’s overall value thanks to maximum use of a profitable, scalable technology.

Traditional CRM concept

CRM platforms like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce can centralize information from different departments across a company to allow sales, marketing, customer service, and other teams to make quick, informed decisions to improve responsiveness, client communication, and management.  

During the different sales processes, bottlenecks are identified through SLA internal measurements, which can be standardized in the CRM. A comprehensive view of the pipeline allows sales teams to make more accurate forecasts and, therefore, work more efficiently and improve their sales conversions.

Post-sales incidents, or what is sometimes called case management, generate after-sales. These incidents begin to accumulate in a set of various cases that have individual processes and phases in which multiple different departments participate. Standardizing these case management processes with a CRM allows members of your customer service team and other departments to see issues that have already been resolved so that you can better engage with clients.  

CRM platforms can also help teams identify the leads, prospects, and activities needed to captivate audiences and generate new business opportunities at earlier stages of the commercial funnel. This can be done by segmenting clients, using mass mailings, and automating marketing efforts. By automating the pre-sales process, companies can decrease the manual labor involved in activities like initial and follow-up emails and other communications.

CRM customer-centric processes

After companies perform the CRM platform integration and initiate early-stage processes, they typically move forward with other customer-centric processes that also require automation and standardization. Customer-centric processes are not strictly associated with the three traditional areas that CRM addresses but are related to a customer’s commercial needs instead.  

Customer-centric processes usually include procedures like:

  • Customer retention, which requires a specific and standardized protocol to optimize the recovery of clients who request service termination
  • Onboarding and offboarding clients, which triggers a series of coordinated internal actions involving different areas of the company
  • KYC (know your customer) processes that focus on keeping customers’ data updated to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and bank policies
  • Collections or debt recovery processes to systematize and measure efforts and results in activities that are critical for certain companies

All of these processes can be complex and can potentially create problems when multiple parties are involved. With the support of powerful CRM platforms like Dynamics or Salesforce, along with their low-code extensibility, teams can:

  • Standardize and automate these processes to streamline their customer information processes
  • Use software to proactively help people, rather than the opposite
  • Hold people accountable and keep them informed by using a centralized system

CRM non-customer-centric processes

Once they have implemented customer-centric processes, companies can leverage the CRM by standardizing and automating non-customer-centric processes, such as those focused on employees, vendors, partners, fixed assets, stakeholders, loans, and vehicles.

Here is an example of a project we’ve worked on:

A gas and oil company implements “X” CRM solution with Dynamics 365, where the “X” indicates an asset, not a customer. The custom-built application allowed the company to manage a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) based on ITIL Standards. More than 5,000 assets grouped in different configurations in more than 300 gas stations were managed throughout the app.

We implemented a 360-degree view of those assets/configurations, preventive maintenance processes, on-site audit inspection protocols, and problem identification procedures, among other processes around the assets. As a result, today, the client not only has an all-in-one solution to holistically manage their key assets but was also able to take advantage of other key entities they had already loaded in Dynamics such as users, employees, vendors, locations, products, services, and types of cases. This is in addition to what the platform already included, such as logs, forms, looks and feels, reporting, and workflow engines. This is a more effective solution compared with building an additional isolated application from scratch or adopting a packaged solution that doesn’t have room for flexibility.

Why use a CRM to implement business processes over an ERP?

While an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is usually the core system of a company, their central module and data are intended for accounting and finance management. Feeding the central module are transactional processes such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and financial reporting, among others.

ERPs do not have the time nor the flexibility to meet business needs — they are mainly used to support accounting and regulatory matters, serving the backend of the company, rather than the core business itself. To meet the changing business demands, companies turn to CRM/low-code platforms, which digitilize business processes.

World-class CRMs with low-code platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce are the most complete solution for building a solid, scalable business processes platform.

Companies that understand the importance of not only adopting Dynamics 365 or Salesforce as a CRM but also leveraging them for their customer-centric and non-customer-centric capabilities, will be better equipped to achieve digitalization of their internal modus-operandi, work happier, and most importantly, significantly increase their company market value.