The role of the CRM project manager is relatively new in the industry. It has become a vital position, responsible for the day-to-day implementation of CRM strategies and processes. A successful CRM project manager must face and overcome many challenges every day.
A New Leading Role: CRM Project Manager
The most successful companies in today’s marketplace understand that it is necessary to put their customers at the heart of their business strategy. Modern digital tools allow companies to gather important data on their customers and their buying habits. Use of this data is so important that it has fueled more than 5 years of continuous growth in the CRM market worldwide.
New roles have emerged in the CRM industry in response to the need to handle this data. The CRM project manager is a relatively new but critical role for customer-centric businesses: they take care of the company’s day-to-day customer relationship processes. They also have a direct role in the implementation of CRM strategies and individual projects. They need intuitive tools that allow them to gather, process and communicate with their sometimes large customer databases. And, of course, they must manage budgets and ensure that deadlines are met, in order to deliver an acceptable ROI on CRM campaigns.
There are three main challenges that a CRM project manager faces every day.
1. Defining Clear Objectives for CRM Campaigns
The CRM campaign objectives must be clearly stated and reachable with the skills of the current staff, or with additional staff or consultants. The CRM project manager must find a balance between the team’s technical skills, customer service ability, human qualities, and operational management ability.
For an efficient campaign, the CRM project manager’s basic skills set must include:
- Excellent interpersonal skills,
- Being a good listener,
- Capacity to synthesize and correlate data,
- Project management abilities.
The CRM project manager must also have a thorough knowledge of the company’s overall goals, strategies, and procedures. Without this knowledge, a CRM campaign may be ineffective.
Among the more common questions that a CRM project manager must ask before starting a campaign are:
- What are the aims of the campaign? Will it focus on finding leads, converting existing ones to customers, retaining existing customers, or bringing former customers back?
- What are the tools available? Will the campaign rely on electronic tools such as SMS marketing, mobile advertising, or text message marketing? Will the company have to implement new technologies, such as chatbots? Can connectors such as an API or an FTP client be added to make the process faster?
- Who are the target customers? What segment of your customer base are you most interested in reaching? New customers or old ones? Customers with a certain income, a particular interest, or a newly identified need?
- What messages should the campaign deliver? What approach are you going to take with your marketing message: driving for a sale, informing customers about what you have to offer, or coaxing them to enter the sales funnel?
- What is the budget? CRM project managers are often restricted by the reality of the funding amounts they have to work with.
- How will results be tracked? What are the definable results that can be measured and reported on? A certain number of new customers, a certain amount of sales, a certain number of revived customers?
Mere competence in managing CRM strategies is not enough. An effective CRM project manager must have in-depth knowledge of CRM best practices, along with excellent knowledge about the company.
2. Ensuring the Availability of Enough Relevant Data
Your company needs up-to-date, accurate data to support a CRM strategy. The CRM project manager must ensure that the information in the customer database is as fresh as possible. Valid material for a customer database includes:
- Basic demographics,
- Purchase histories,
- Customers’ stated goals and needs,
- Insights gained from customer service calls.
Bad data, such as obsolete customer addresses, can lead to wasted time and resources. In some cases, you can even lose customers by acting on inaccurate information.
CRM managers set standards for customer data. They ensure that staff at all levels follow established best practices for discovering, inputting, and maintaining customer data. The CRM project manager is also responsible for the day-to-day tasks of updating and maintaining the database. This can include getting information from sales staff or from customer surveys.
3. Delivering ROI and Prooving the CRM Campaign Value
Any operation within the company must demonstrate an acceptable return on investment, and CRM campaigns are no different. It can often be difficult, however, for a CRM project manager to quantify the results of a campaign. From there, it is a challenge to put results data into a form that higher managers can associate with an acceptable ROI.
The challenge is so great that upper managers often don’t believe what their CRM managers tell them!
“Today, we are close to breaking point: 80% of CEOs don’t trust their CMOs, primarily because they don’t know how to precisely measure the impact and the revenue of their actions!” Francois Laxalt (Senior Director, Product Marketing, 12 July 2017).
Accurately measuring ROI and judging the effectiveness of a campaign takes time and patience at all levels of management. Skills at data analysis are critical to dissecting the result of a CRM campaign and presentation abilities are necessary to explain the results to upper management.
CRM Project Manager: A Tough But Necessary Job
CRM project managers face a difficult job every day. Not only must they continually think about what their company and their customers need, but they must come up with ways to implement CRM strategies that are beneficial at all levels. They must always be aware of budgets, tools, customer segmentation, and the undeniable need to produce a favorable ROI for the company. The quality of customer relationship management can strongly influence whether a company succeeds or fails in business.
With the proper application of CRM tools and techniques, you can put your customers where they belong: at the center of your marketing, customer service, and retention strategies. Contact myElefant today for more information on our CRM products and tools and for expert advice on how to use them to improve your customer relations.