How to Re-Evaluate CRM for Collaborative CX

The collaborative nature of the modern customer journey has made traditional CRMs outdated. Here's how businesses can embark on a comprehensive re-evaluation to improve their systems and avoid a fragmented approach.

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  • The customer experience (CX) landscape has undergone a dramatic shift. Less than two decades ago, CX was characterised as sequential interactions, where customers were passed from one team to another. Today, CX thrives on a collaborative and parallel model, with sales acting as the central custodian of the customer relationship and other teams strategically stepping in at various points to deliver value.

    This new paradigm exposes a fundamental flaw in traditional CRM systems that were designed for linear sales processes. 

    Burdened with overseeing customer operations, sales teams often utilise a patchwork of communication tools like email, chat, and meetings for collaboration beyond the CRM. This fragmentation results in a crucial context residing outside the CRM, hindering visibility, accountability, and ultimately, the quality of deliverables.

    Consider this business scenario: a customer submits an RFI (Request for Information) – with details about their specific needs. It lands in the sales team’s inbox, but it requires inputs from various product marketers, the legal team, and most importantly, a technical agent. As it goes through different teams, there is a good chance that by the time it reaches the technical personnel, it’s a secondhand version, potentially stripped of its nuance or even containing inaccuracies due to multiple interpretations. This lack of access to the original, unfiltered query can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately, a proposal that misses the mark entirely.

    Using a fragmented approach creates a tangled web of communication. Assigning clear ownership for each step becomes a constant struggle, leaving everyone unsure of who is responsible for what. The impact? The quality of deliverables suffers. Proposals take longer to create as teams scramble to piece together information from various sources. The risk of errors due to miscommunication increases, potentially jeopardising the entire customer journey.

    The Need for Collaboration in the CRM

    Businesses must acknowledge the collaborative nature of CX. Sales success hinges on the seamless interaction between them and other departments. To address this, CRM’s architecture should be reimagined. It should come together as a platform that fuses communication layers and coordination across teams and democratises access to customer information for relevant stakeholders.

    A unified and collaboration-driven CRM platform fosters seamless teamwork by streamlining workflows. This transparency empowers real-time monitoring and proactive intervention throughout the customer journey. Every touchpoint is documented and traceable, ensuring clear ownership and accountability across all teams. By eliminating external communication channels, miscommunication and delays are minimised. Streamlined workflows expedite tasks, leading to faster turnaround times, improved accuracy, and ultimately, happier customers.

    The collaborative nature of the modern customer journey has made traditional CRMs outdated. Here’s how businesses can embark on a comprehensive re-evaluation to improve their systems:

    Analyse Usage Patterns

    Businesses must begin scrutinising how the current CRM is actually being used. Are sales reps heavily reliant on external communication tools like email and chat to collaborate with other departments? This indicates a disconnect between the CRM and the true flow of customer interactions. 

    Assess Visibility and Accountability

    Can the progress of customer interactions be tracked across various teams? Is ownership for each stage of the customer journey clearly defined? If the answer is no, businesses might be hindering transparency and accountability by using outdated CRM paradigms. 

    Measure Efficiency and Accuracy

    How long does it typically take to close deals or fulfill customer requests? Are errors and miscommunications a frequent occurrence? Delays and inaccuracies often point to a lack of streamlined workflows and information silos within the CRM. By shifting to a collaborative CRM, a lot of these challenges can be reduced, or eliminated at that. 

    Gather User Feedback

    A business’ internal stakeholders can offer valuable feedback on existing systems, and how they can be improved. By talking to the sales team and all the operational teams involved in the customer journey, businesses can identify pain points and challenges related to the CRM, and gather insights for improvement.

    Align with Business Goals

    Ultimately, a CRM solution should serve the broader business objectives. Businesses should evaluate how well the current system aligns with their growth strategies and customer experience goals. If the business goal is to improve customer service, increase sales, or retain customers, then a CRM tool should offer means to this end. 

    A collaborative CRM unlocks value at every stage of the customer journey. Businesses can deliver an exceptional and unified CX that sets them apart by fostering transparency, streamlining workflows, and empowering teams to work together seamlessly. 


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