It's pretty much a given that today's savvy business organizations will use some sort of CRM system for record keeping, managing their sales pipeline, and getting the most they can out of their customer data. The implementation makes sense. There needs to be a central location for all of this information, and these systems provide a convenient solution accessible by all. A disconnect that is often not apparent, however, is that most CRM systems focus strictly on relationship maintenance—empowering salespeople, allowing them to talk intelligently to prospects, etc. Business process management (BPM) can take those relationships to the next level by integrating automatic processes common to customer interactions, eliminating operational silos, and improving the viability of existing legacy CRM systems. Following are four reasons your organization is missing out without a strong BPM solution.
BPM improves customer experience and efficiency
The foundation of excellent customer experience is delivery of consistency and continuity of service across brands, venues, channels, etc. All those secondary elements that result—support, finance, billing, invoicing, etc.—are also absolutely critical. But you knew that, right? BPM holds this all together and ensures a consistent service experience by creating a support process that customers can interact with so data is immediately loaded into the company's CRM system via a BPM generator form. This is a prime example of how BPM is a technology capable of extending the capabilities of already competent systems.
BPM maximizes the ROI of your CRM
Combining CRM and BPM allows organizations to better accomplish business goals. How? By measuring the results of new procedures so areas of adjustment may be identified and improved upon. With the establishment of key performance indicators, data aggregated from both test results and live processes can be used to identify areas of strength and weakness. In addition, BPM also promotes positive customer experiences as an ROI indicator. By using BPM to implement and standardize core elements of the CRM process, a safeguard is put in place that ensures all members of your organization act in accordance with the same policies and procedures. The end result is consistency and continuity for your customers.
BPM helps track profitability
Combining BPM and CRM provides businesses with a variety of reporting and measurement tools (dashboards, graphs, templates, etc.) that help measure the profitability of customers and projects. This type of information provides valuable insight into the most profitable industry segments you should target, how to best optimize your marketing budget, and go about planning and executing upon strategic objectives.
Combining CRM and BPM is easier than you think
The key is keeping it simple. CRM is designed to reduce complexity, not increase it. Process improvement doesn't have to be complicated. It can be simple, straightforward—even easy to achieve in many cases. You just have to approach it in the right way and be willing to make the plunge. Immediate ways to accomplish the marriage include ensuring that interfaces are simple by design and easy to navigate, and that communication is open and apparent.
Our organization runs our customer portal using BPM, which interfaces with our CRM system, Salesforce. We give customers the opportunity to open support cases. If they need help, they can access our knowledge base, request new software licenses, and contact account managers through the customer portal. The key to success, we have found, is programming your business' CRM system in a manner that ensures everyone is empowered.
A solid CRM application provides both the tools for managing customer records and the workflow needed to move the process from initial lead to sales prospect to client to return customer. A solid BPM platform provides the foundation for many other business processes inside the same enterprise. Connecting CRM to BPM makes good sense and good business. It improves data aggregation and ensures a 360-view of customers, but most important, it allows a deep understanding of the goals organizations are trying to achieve with CRM.
Mac McConnell is vice president of marketing at Bonitasoft, a provider of process improvement solutions.