How to get executive buy in – Selling the idea of a CRM project in 60 seconds
You just stepped into the elevator with the VP of Operations. She’s complaining about another late night trying to troubleshoot an in-branch service problem. From what she’s saying, it sounds like it’s a direct result of legacy information systems and too many manual processes that directly impact staffs’ ability to deliver the service that your members deserve and expect.
Being the smart and up-and-coming employee you are, you’ve no doubt been pondering ways to improve member service, right? Here’s your chance to earn some brownie points, by sharing your ideas on how to resolve issues like these. And what better way to improve the situation than with a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM).
Using CRM, you can unite staff across departments/locations, provide shared visibility into member issues and activities and enable a more consistent experience to be delivered to each member.
You have under a minute to interest your VP in your proposed CRM solution – so here’s how you do it:
- Leverage this real, immediate issue
You can start by addressing how the service problem she was wrestling with is symptomatic of larger business process issues. Underline the importance of having a seamless member experience across all channels at your credit union. Point out that there’s a real need to find a long-term solution to a problem that the whole organization is impacted by and wants to see resolved. Remind your VP that, in a time of increasing competition for members, issues that negatively impact the member experience need to be addressed ASAP.
- Acknowledge the issue at all levels
Acknowledge the impact of the service problem on the executive’s goals for their department. But also highlight that you’ve seen how similar issues are also recurring in various areas throughout the organization, which is affecting overall staff performance and engagement.
- Outline how CRM can improve performance
Explain how the problem could be resolved by implementing a Customer Relationship Management system. Make the case for how a CRM will improve performance across departments, align messaging and member tracking and, through that, improve the member experience.
- Align messaging with the business strategy
Don’t forget this is the VP of Operations you’re talking to. So position the idea for a CRM in a way that supports the overall business strategy as well. Make it clear how a CRM will add not only value to your members, but also support organizational KPIs, help achieve departmental targets and drive long-term membership growth.
- Sell the idea of a working group to explore CRM
Don’t try to sell CRM as a universal solution to the all the issue at your credit union. Instead, take it slowly and, now you’ve piqued her interest, simply suggest the idea of setting up a small working group to explore how far CRM could go in addressing these pervasive issues. That’s it. All you’re really pitching is the idea of getting a few people together, ideally cross functionally, to talk about it and come up with some findings and recommendations.
- Be ready to overcome objections
Like any good salesperson, you’ll need to be ready to overcome objections. Yes, CRM can be costly to implement, but not if you find a tailored, proven solution that’s been built for credit unions (vs. a horizontal platform that can demand a ton of customization). Yes, CRM can be a bit time-consuming to implement, but that has to be weighed up against the cost and impact of persistent service problems that result from inefficient legacy systems and manual processes.
- Close by confirming follow-up
Remember, you’re simply selling the idea to explore CRM as a possible solution. After you’ve laid out the benefits, overcome objections and reiterated the need for long-term planning to support the overall member experience, ask if you can send the executive a follow-up email proposing some next steps for a working group to explore a CRM project.
A customer relationship management system makes a lot of sense for any credit union that wants to maintain a seamless member experience across multiple departments, channels and locations. But sometimes, credit union executives are too busy fighting fires to see the bigger picture. That’s where you can add some real value, by advocating for the use of CRM at your CU and demonstrating how it will lead to real business value. So get your elevator pitch ready!
To learn more about how CRM can benefit your credit union, download our eBook:
CRM in Credit Unions – The Undiscovered Revenue Source