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BPM with CRM, Certainly Works To Your Advantage

Posted by: | Posted on: | Posted in: Enterprise

Integrate your BPM and CRM; the idea or concept might sound a bit abrupt – but believe me it has, and will always work to your advantage. It not only helps you to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies of your customer facing processes, but also helps you gain that additional insight about your customers.

CRM, as you all know, is all about managing sales and marketing interactions with existing as well as potential customers. Business Process Management (BPM) is all about improving workflows and business process. So why are we talking about integrating both of them, how does it happen and how does it work to your advantage, that is exactly what we will discuss today, in this article.

BPM with CRM

First of all let’s understand one thing, very clearly, without BPM your CRM is just one of those hefty investments in technology which may or may not yield you desired results.

But then, why are sales teams across businesses so very appreciative about CRM?

  • It has been noticed that in several cases CRM systems have made business process way simpler; however, it has increased the burden on sales teams with additional steps that slowed them down.
  • CRM, the software has predefined rules, in most of the cases and make it a challenge to customize customer facing processes, but befitting how marketing, sales and service teams operate out in the market.
  • Productivity would suffer and CRM utilization falters.

Cumbersome CRM process may lead users to neglect the benefits and the key process steps, eventually resulting in diminishing sales and customer loyalty. Business Process Management – BPM; should keep pace with changes in a customer-centric manner, in order to ensure CRM success.

How does BPM Improve CRM?

Process driven BPM approach towards CRM software is the key to success and can be attained in several ways:

  • You can start by automating your routine operations, as a system which automatically prompts users to go to the next step certainly will free up users to do more lucrative activities such as generating quotes and meeting prospective clients.
  • Second step should be of supporting every single operation with actionable data to enhance customer experience. Here, a lot of you might say that this is no rocket science for us, as our traditional CRM systems are really good at customer data integration and management. But my dear friend are you sure that your existing CRM system is equipped to transform this data into actionable insights?

Aligning your BPM and CRM, you as an organization, can put data into the perspective of processes to help sales and marketing personnel to carry out their activities – enthusiastically.

CRM provides latest information on any customer at hand, whereas BPM analytics gather insights that prove really helpful in driving actions with personalized offerings and services. This personalization makes every single customer feel like an individual – and not one of those numbers or Customer ID. This, you would certainly agree, leads to increased sales, deeper brand loyalty and enhanced customer satisfaction.

What are the challenges you might face while Integrating BPM with CRM?

You all as proprietors and organizations; would be well aware of the phrase “It is always easier said than done”. Integrating CRM and BPM, encouraging is one thing and accomplishing it, might turn out to be a totally different ball game.

  • Data Integrations can be of several segments such as; BPM with CRM systems, integrating various data sources within the company and not to forget, the integration of legacy systems with central database. Merging customer data, which is typically distributed across various sources, happens to be a good idea, to start with.
  • It seems Big data has, knowingly or unknowingly, centered organizational attention upon the wrong area. Every single organization is ready to enter the BIG data rat race, without even realizing that they are yet to manage and resolve the “little” data overseen in their own enterprise. Trust me it is just a question of conceiving the idea of tackling this “little” data and extracting meaningful insights from existing data, to drive real value from integrating CRM with BPM.
  • While we are discussing data integration, we should not forget the importance of business processes that leverage data or can be activated with specific events from third party systems. It’s high time we understand that “the better your BPM system is integrated with several other applications that you use within your organization, better are the business outcomes”.
  • I would recommend that even before the integration begins, it is mandatory for you as an organization to formalize your business processes. This includes standardizing activities across the company, mature processes by streamlining and automating existing processes. Upon accomplishing, they are to be finally tuned to user goals and fine tune to their understanding.
  • Level of automation of processes is of utmost importance at this stage. If the automated process is too high level, it might serve as reminder for tasks – instead of guiding the user through the required sequence of actions. In another scenario, if the automated process is too low level, it might portray deadlines that are too tight for the operations to succeed.

So if things fall in place as you desired, your sales team will be empowered to evaluate past customer experiences to cross sell and upsell products – relevant to customers. The marketing team as well, will gain the insight to drive campaigns depending on potential customer needs. And of course your customer service representatives will be in a position to better connect and engage with customer to resolve their queries and issues.

When and how will you Integrate BPM with CRM?

  • The first suggestion would be to look around for inbuilt and easily available tolls with best practices and processes. With processes that are pre-set in your existing system are your saviors, as you don’t need to design and develop them from the scratch. Following pre-defined processes works as a convenient head start, for you as an organization, and make industry best practice to work in your favor.
  • Second suggestion is to work with a platform rich enough to help you build on all the pieces. Integration convenient when there is a common platform that empowers the decision making engine, isn’t it? You as an organization then have the freedom to build applications on top of this foundation, for any team or department that has anything to do with customer experience.
  • A lot of MS Dynamics partners delivering CRM services are of the opinion that the best time for CRM and BPM integration is when an older CRM system is getting upgraded. This is so because they claim that latest CRM packages come with in-built business process capabilities, which are really sophisticated.
  • However; there still exist organizations, not ready to part with their legacy CRMs, are you one of them? See, you might have your own reasons to not walk away from a CRM system which served you so long, but integrating BPM can be a solid way to enhance your existing CRM’s value. Integrating BPM tools into your organization’s ERP system helps you cover up gaps, especially when you are looking out to change the business processes and rules.

So now that you have made up your mind to add BPM on top of CRM, I would like to draw a line of caution. Along with benefits like better sales and marketing coordination, increased responsiveness and higher upsell and cross sell – it comes with a price. Not to forget that even if you can afford one, you are consciously adding up a layer of software and more processes – on top of those which are already being used.

BPM may add up an additional layer of complexity to your IT infrastructure, but it also provides flexibility and visibility at the same time.

BPM and CRM integration needs to be executed with utmost precision to mask the complexity. It does not need your sales team to entirely change their process, but actually helps them attain what they strive to, on every day basis.

About the Author:

Chirag Shivalker
Chirag Shivalker is one of the very few business writers with flair of social commentary through his technical writing. With A decade long experience in technology writing and trend analysis Chirag is an expert in technology and technological trends along with business writing. Technology in mind and words at will Chirag is an all-rounder who has established his writing capabilities’ in multiple technology disciplines.

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