Along our well-traveled business development road we have come across more bright ideas to share with our readers. Here are another 10 proven bright ideas for starting or resuscitating your CRM efforts.
Visit the first 10 ideas in part one, here....
- Follow the K.I.S.S. principle. Keep it simply smart and don't buy what you don't need. Or at least don't implement all the bells and whistles at once. People don't like change as it is, so keeping things simple only makes the switch-over that much easier. As we mentioned in part I, use your pilot team to provide guidance on the realities in their business culture.
- Set attainable goals. Setting mutually agreed upon goals with your CRM pilot/project team that are clearly defined prior to selecting the CRM software and implementation partner will give your organization an idea of how well your CRM solution performs once it is implemented. Determine a department's average performance levels and aim for a 5 - 10% increase in areas like lead-to-customer conversion, customer retention rates, or hours to close a service ticket. What business analytics will be used to measure success in achieving these goals?
- Identify quick wins. Focus on success early to get the ball rolling and people engaged. Tackle the smaller, easier tasks initially and save the more complex stuff for later. Sometimes just having a good list of contacts and companies is a solid starting point so your people can start building deeper relationships.
- Start with a clean data slate. The old adage is that garbage in produces garbage out. Identify your key sources of quality customer and contact information. Often times we find that the list of customers from the accounting system is a good start. For a small business the billing contacts are usually up to date. Also include in your data migration plan a process for checking and cleaning duplicates. The U.S. Census says that about one in seven people change addresses within a year. So verify and clean your data regularly.
- Success can be contagious. This one we really like to see in our clients. The 'Ah-ha" moments of how they can finally get more things done and gain new insights for better decisions will be contagious. Starting an implementation with a department you know will find success can make other departments ask, "When can we starting using this information?" Sometimes it may be a sales regional manager and his team that leads with success and others want to follow.
- Educate early, educate often. Give your employees as much time as possible to learn the new CRM application. Provide various methods for learning the new software: on-line videos, how-to guides, helpful search capability with useful examples- all make it easy to provide just-in-time education. Clearly communicate the defined operational processes - too often this is skipped or not clear, resulting in confusion and low user adoption. Repeat and augment training as necessary to keep those skills fresh.
- Find power users. Get the most enthusiastic people to use the system first. These super users have effective best-practices to share with others and they provide helpful support on how to really get the CRM system humming the right tune.
- Remember to walk in your customer shoes. Yes, you are knee deep in the way you need to get things done and may become overwhelmed. Remember it is not just about you. A business exists to create and service customers. Make sure you are making it easier for your customers to communicate their needs and obtain faster, quality resolution to their issues. Role-play the typical customer experience. A smarter idea is to also elicit their feedback during the pilot implementation phase.
- Take baby steps. Sales teams, like cats, can be finicky. When automating the sales force, roll out the CRM system in small steps. Answer the WIIFM, "What's in it for me" question. Help them figure out how they can use the system and gain valuable benefits. Since they are entering contact notes you can drop the need for a weekly sales call report.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Measure the results and smooth out the bumps by showing people the benefits of the new CRM system. Refer back to your defined attainable goals. CRM should provide salespeople with better pipeline reporting- very important for sales managers and business owners. Is the customer retention rate higher, the percentage of service issues resolved on first call higher, and customer satisfactions scores of the customer experience improving?
The proof is in the process of using these bright ideas. When CRM works:
- small business owners and C-level executives make smarter decisions because they have a 360-degree view of the company's performance
- salespeople increase their proficiency and close more details
- marketers create more effective targeted campaigns to attract ideal customers
- employees - especially the Customer Service Representatives - become more productively engaged with customers and efficient in solving issues.
What bright ideas have you come up with that improves the business success with CRM?
Many times it is worth it to consider an upgrade and the best ways to successfully select and implement a well-used CRM. Start with downloading this eBook: