Learning to Love CRM

Jeremie Bacon wrote this on Aug 24

I have been messing around with Customer Relationship Management software in one capacity or another since the late 1990s and have a genuine love-hate relationship with it.

Hate_CRM.pngI believe that despite the innovations we’ve seen in software tools over the last two decades, most CRM implementations are hampered by an incomplete vision of what CRM is actually all about. Customer Relationship Management is not just sales automation. In today’s world, it is an all encompassing business strategy that includes many teams and multiple software products.

But first, a little history

In the 1980s, direct marketing evolved into database marketing, which began to put more emphasis on statistics and math to understand buyers and their behavior. In 1987, ACT! , which is still available today, became the first contact management application for use by sales teams to quantify sales activities and the sales process. ACT! and its competitors like Goldmine worked better than pen and paper in that they made it possible to derive genuine insights about the sales process for reps and management. Thus, the CRM movement was born.

Fast forward to the early 1990s… Contact management applications began to morph into Salesforce Automation (SFA) tools. These systems took contact management software to the next level by adding functionality to automate standard processes for sales teams to efficiently track leads and opportunities in addition to names and phone numbers.

In 1999, Salesforce.com entered the market and became the first major “On-Demand” software company to bring to the internet the best of what the industry had theretofore created. Since then, literally hundreds of other SaaS CRM companies have come (and most have gone), each offering a slightly different version of the same thing.

As the sales automation industry matured, companies began to integrate things like call center technologies into their traditional sales tools thereby creating the first group of programs meant to capture larger pieces of the customer lifecycle in a single product. As CRM expanded beyond the scope of its single-point sales application origins, it became part of a broader suite of software solutions catering to every customer facing team.

Today, there are literally hundreds of companies making marketing automation, sales enablement, customer support, interactive chat, email marketing, customer success, and engagement tracking tools that can all be classified as a form of CRM. But despite the fact that there are so many tools out there, most of them still fail to live up to the ROI expectations of their buyers and the functional needs of their users. 

Problems with the status quo

In order to get the most out of the massive CRM investment most companies make in terms of time and money, it is critical that they pursue a larger vision for CRM: a vision in which everyone who touches the customer not only has access to the specific tools they need to do their individual jobs most effectively, but also to the information and insights being generated by their colleagues on other teams who are using different tools. If your company writes a big check for CRM, but does little with it besides track sales activities, Synap’s vision for the future of CRM may help you to get more out of your investment.

As intimated above, nowadays, nearly every customer facing team uses a specific product to aid it in performing its particular customer-facing tasks. All those specialized tools are indispensable for individual teams but they inevitably lead to the formation of data silos.

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And as a customer facing employee, not having the customer-related data from all those silos at my fingertips keeps me from being as efficient as I could otherwise be. Nobody who interacts with customers can truly do their job effectively unless they can see what is happening with the client in real time.

For example, in most organizations, when an account manager wants to know if a customer is happy before asking them to be a reference, they have to email, chat, text, or otherwise physically track down someone on the support or service team to make sure everything is cool. Wouldn’t it be better if they could just pull up their CRM and see the history of incident tickets and emails with the support team?

Or as a sales manager when I want to get a better sense of whether a deal is actually going to close, or want to help a sales rep work through a case, why should I have to rely solely on the sparsely populated sales record in a sales enablement software? Wouldn’t it be better off I could see that as well as all of the email history (not just the ones that were bcc’d or manually added into the software) between the rep and the client in a single place?

Similarly, in most companies, if someone wants to understand why a customer sent an angry tweet, they have to track down a bunch of people who were actually working with the customer, or dig through their email, CRM or customer support records to get a sense of where the relationship may have gone off the rails. Wouldn’t it be nice if people could look to a central location for all that information?

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Of course, there are a few ways to get a more complete picture of your relationships, but to date they have required huge capital outlays, putting all your company’s eggs in one vendor’s basket, long implementation and customization projects or some uncomfortable combination of the above.

Unless you work for a giant company, you probably don’t have the piles of cash (or time) required to tie all your systems together. And, even if you do have the resources for a custom integration, the resulting user experience usually ends up looking like a mess.

As a result, it has been nearly impossible for most companies to devise a solution that gets all customer stakeholders on the same page. But that’s where our vision comes in.

A new kind of CRM

We believe that to live up to its name and start helping every single person who interacts with customers do a better job of serving them, companies need to tie all their CRM tools - sales enablement, customer support, and email - together so that everyone can see what is happening with their customers in real time. But doing so shouldn’t cost companies hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars and force teams to use software they don’t like.

At Synap, we are building a new kind of customer-centric, collaborative CRM. Our focus is on enabling teams to improve the health of their relationships by giving them access to the complete story of their customers. We believe that when people across teams have all the relationship intellifgence they need, they spend less time emailing, chatting, and sitting in meetings, and more time selling, servicing, and making customers happy.

Synap is used primarily by customer success and account management teams but is meant for every other team that works with customers too: support, operations, product and engineering, and sales. This is because different teams shoulder primary responsibility for the customerat at different points in the customer journey. Synap gives every user a clear view of the entire relationship to help them collaborate across those team boundaries to provide the best customer experience.

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Synap brings different software services together without the hassle you’re accustomed to. Synap users can forget about hiring expensive consultants or squeezing a project onto the already overloaded plate of their engineering team. Synap connects to other SaaS software APIs with standard login credentials, which means you can connect your systems without expense, hassle, or delay. Plus you can count all on those systems coming together as an intuitive and useful experience.

Synap also obliterates the busywork that always accompanies other CRMs. Nobody wants yet another place where they have to enter data, BCC emails, or log their activity. Synap connects to email and intelligently organizes all the contact information that is already there, automatically creating and updating information about the people and companies you work with. It’s pretty awesome.

We believe in the power of software to transform relationships and enable teams to get more done. We believe it deep down in our bones. We believe it because we have built, witnessed, and lived it ourselves. We believe it so much, we created the company and spent the last 18 months building it. We’ve got a bunch of other great software coming down the pike but we’re excited to be sharing our progress thus far and invite you to give Synap a try!

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