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Making Your Business Case for CRM

Knowing you need a CRM is only half the battle. Convincing your institution’s decision makers that they need to make the investment in a CRM is the other half. Here’s how to make the case.

You already know you need a CRM at your financial institution. You have already seen the evidence, either at a different institution or just reading the industry literature. You know the data shows CRM can be a game changer for banks and credit unions: improving staff productivity, generating customer engagement, and increasing wallet share,[1] to name the top three. Convincing your institution’s decision makers to make the investment and the commitment is the next step, and it can be a challenge. Making a powerful and effective business case for CRM can be an important lynchpin in ensuring your bank or credit union stays competitive when it comes to customer relationships.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Don’t underestimate the groundwork you should do before ever drafting the first slide of your presentation. A little up-front research may change how your business case presentation comes together and the impact it makes. Do the research to find the answers to questions like these:

1. Does your C-Suite have a proper understanding of CRM, what it is, and how it works?
It’s not unusual for leadership to have misconceptions about CRM and its practical applications. Find out the general perception of the technology to gauge where your management team is on the spectrum, and be certain to cover the detail that properly educates them accordingly.

2. Where do your team members stand on CRM, and what is important to them regarding what CRM offers?
Team members who have experience with CRM at a previous institution often feel the void of the tool and can communicate how it affects their everyday productivity. Knowing the current workforce is expecting the capabilities that come with CRM technology and/or are experiencing the productivity lag that comes with certain manual processes is a powerful message.

3. Who are the real decision makers for CRM buy-in at your institution?
This is not always obvious, but it is important to know. It likely affects the tone and direction of your business case. Do your research and fashion your presentation to speak specifically to the real decision makers.

Make Your Case

As you gather the information to make your business case, schedule a demo from a potential vendor. Because a demo can answer basic questions and also dispel misconceptions about CRM, make sure the management team experiences a well-presented demo before you present your business case. It can pave the way for success. Then, construct a business case appropriate for your institution and its current position, and ensure that you include the following topics.

A Solid Introduction
Remind your audience what a CRM is and of its well-documented benefits. Include specific examples that touch on areas like improved sales, increased efficiency, optimized mobility, improved customer retention, and on-time information enabling meaningful customer interactions. Use stories to demonstrate how your institution in particular needs CRM. Consider use cases that illustrate increased revenue, cost savings, help with compliance issues, and competitive advantage.

Areas for Special Attention
Your financial institution’s cultural readiness for CRM adoption is important and not to be overlooked. Address cultural readiness and ways to prepare and shift the internal culture for the successful adoption of CRM. Also spend time presenting a cost-benefit analysis. CRM is not a small investment, particularly for small to medium-sized institutions, and showing the practical cost-benefit comparison is one of the ways to address this concern.

There are multiple provider routes to take when you decide to adopt a CRM: large multi-industry providers, industry-specific providers, internal custom solutions, add-on products from core providers, and small, budget providers. Offer information about these categories of providers. Consider offering more detailed information on a smaller, vetted group of providers offering CRM solutions suitable for your institution, including an apples-to-apples cost comparison for vendors you consider finalists.

Don’t underestimate the importance of implementation and how it affects the potential long-term success of a CRM. Demonstrate in your business case that you have considered this seriously and have a plan. Include start and completion time for implementation and projections on internal and external resources required for successful implementation.

Top C-Suite Questions and Common Objections

Be prepared to address the most-asked questions by management teams regarding CRM and the most common objections. For example: Are our team members really going to use this new tool? What measurable data points are going to improve with the implementation of the CRM? Is the CRM going to integrate with our current systems? Common objections include “Our manual processes are working fine,” “It’s too expensive,” “CRM creates more work,” and “Not now, maybe later.” These are just examples, so consider your unique institution and important questions or objections that may be specific to your leadership, and come prepared.

Developing a thorough and focused business case for adopting CRM can make the difference in your leadership green lighting your plan or deciding against the adoption. For more detailed guidance on developing your business case, check out our webinar “Building a Business Case for CRM at Your Bank or Credit Union” where we discuss persuasive stories, offer more in-depth examples, and discuss your institution-specific questions.

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[1] Ginsburg, Susan. “CRM Adoption Takes on New Urgency at Community Institutions.” The Financial Brand, March 2019.