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Managing Change and Transitions, CRM user adoption, Simply Smart Working, Appreciating Asset,

18 Min Read

10 Steps for Capturing Collective Intelligence with CRM

Increase Sales Enablement Actions Available using Infor CRM

We are often asked for our recommendations for improving the involvement of Sales Professionals, Customer Service and Managers with a company's CRM system.  As we have mentioned before, user adoption is critical to the long term business success with CRM.

Your CRM software needs to have the capabilities to make it easier and faster for users to perform their daily tasks, all the while capturing collective intelligence.  That knowledge of the customer and their environment can then be strategically used in business development and grow a more valuable business.

Here is a list of our improvement suggestions for capturing collective intelligence and harnessing it for smarter, faster decisions. 

1. Make it easy and useful to connect with Microsoft Outlook

Email is essential and was probably one of the first digital methods used to connect with people, so your CRM system must integrate with email.  At the minimum your CRM system will have icons or hyper-links that when clicked, activate your Outlook email system.




Send_to_CRM_buttonA simple click while on the CRM system's contact record should then pop open your Microsoft Outlook system.

Here you can easily fill out the Outlook message. NOTE:  Send to CRM button will send the Outlook email + records the email into the contact and company's history.   Great when you emails are purged from Outlook.

Helpful when you need to remember a past conversation and don't want to waste time looking up that message in Outlook. 

Bonus:  Create an email template and use that so your business shows consistency and the email will have valuable business links to company information.

2. Enhance your Desktop integration with Infor CRM Web/Cloud:

Infor CRM Enhancements with Office - Outlook

This is an often overlooked enhancement when working in a web environment.  Yes, the WEB world is different, and Infor has allowed you to get the best of your desktop PC or laptop. 


The Infor CRM Desktop client allows you to:

  • Drag and drop digital documents and attach them to an account, contact and opportunity.
  • Drag and drop e-mail from within your Microsoft Outlook
  • Perform mail merges of an email, letter or fax template
  • Export lists from your groups of accounts, contacts, etc. to Microsoft Excel.
  • Within your Windows version of Microsoft Outlook you have the capability to send email which automatically saves it to the Infor CRM contact.  Or simply click on the email and "save to History."

Infor CRM Xbar Outlook tools

The Outlook integration Infor CRM provides convenient tools to record Inbox email immediately to CRM, add new notes and go directly to the record in Infor CRM.

3. Show sales history of products and services

Your accounting and production systems have related collective intelligence about the customer, so why not share this information with your sales team and allow them to come to their own insights?  Is this customer buying different products, or more or less? Is the average price paid changing? Is there a positive or negative change year to date?  Answers to these questions can easily be made available in your Infor CRM database.  We have integrated accounting information from Sage MAS 90/200/500, Intuit QuickBooks, and a wide range of other commercial and custom systems.

Bonus:  While bringing in accounting information, consider also importing aging, terms, credit limit, shipping instructions, etc.  This can all be helpful to making smarter decisions, faster.

4. Provide integrated quote/proposal generation and management

About every business we come across has some sort of quote, proposal, RFP, or opportunity process that is used.  The capability of having this within CRM benefits not only the users in managing their quotes and revisions but also the customer who needs to clearly understand what they are asked to buy.  Many times the built-in opportunity management of Infor CRM fills the need and, if not, there are some good solutions available.  

Note: When was the last time a prospective customer received your electronic quote and so clearly understood it that they said approved and Thanked you?  Speed up the sales cycle with an accessible and easy-to-quote system for the sales team and a clear formatted, understandable quote for the prospect.

5. Get personal with your contacts- build relationships

Your CRM needs to cover the basics such as gender, birth date, spouse, children names, education, and favorites: pets, movies, hobbies, sports, etc.)

Some of the best ideas we have implemented are:

  • Picture of the person
  • How they prefer to be contacted:  phone, email, face-to-face
  • Level of influence in the company
  • Level of our influence with them
  • Date they became a customer - send an anniversary card...
  • Organizations they support:  BNI, United Way, Save the Children
  • What do they value: relationship & personal actions; efficiency, cost and time savings; or comfort and avoiding pain at all costs
  • Why they buy from our company instead of a competitor

6. Get social with a contact

Social media is now a required component in a CRM and contact management system. Identify the person's profiles in: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog.


Bonus:  Figure out which social media source is where your customers hang out. Then have your CRM system show the latest activity from that social media feed.

7. Integrate on-line sources of knowledge about companies and contacts

Nearly every day we hear of a new business opportunity to link up your company information to other on-line data sources.  For example, you can link your contacts with their LinkedIn profiles and then receive data updates and alerts of their status change. 

Imagine how helpful it would be for your sales people to be alerted that the CEO, CFO, President, etc. have changed positions or that the company has made a decision for massive expansion?

Our support business process management tool, TaskCentre, now has Twitter Integration.   Ring Lead has a range of products to generate leads, find companies, capture Internet directories, data mine search engines and track news events.  Check with us to discover other sources to build your company's collective intelligence

8. Create sales play books and make selling a process

Selling 2.0 methodology empowers sales and marketing to work together. Salespeople are armed with better tools and improved processes so they can connect with the best "ideal" prospects, pursue richer opportunities, collaborate more effectively with customers and co-workers, and close more sales faster.  Likewise sales managers can run a far more productive and predictive sales organization.

  • Standardize best practices - update on a regular basis
  • Identify competitor strengths, weakness and strategy selling against
  • Identify up-selling and cross-selling possibilities
  • Identify the buyers decision process and key influential contacts
  • Identify additional customer wants and requests - may become future sales opportunity or strategic alliance.
  • Identify lead, reference and referral sources

Now decide which of these are best for your specific business, create that sales play book and implement these into your CRM. 

9. Incorporate customer service/support

Make sure to plan the implementation of your customer service component of your CRM system.  In Saleslogix it is based internally as a 'Ticket' system for capturing the customer’s issue, assigning it for resolution, clarifying it by area/category/issue, proceeding through resolution and keeping those involved with communicated updates.

It may also involve a customer self-service component allowing your customers to search your knowledge base and then create a service ticket if needed.

Now when that service issue is created and when its status is updated to closed, the related sales account manager is notified.  If you are a sales person about ready to visit a customer, it helps to be armed with this collective intelligence!

10. Stay in touch and find out who's listening

Statistics show that over 60% of customers will leave a business because they feel left out, not communicated with on a timely basis, and not a priority for your business.  Throughout our web site and blog we mention the importance of staying in touch and being "Top of Mind" with prospects and customers.

Make sure that in your CRM system you have identified the preferred method of communication with each contact, have valid personal contact information, email addresses, identified roles in their business, Yes/No if they are on your newsletter list, and so forth.  Use the collective intelligence you have in your CRM database asset and reach out.

The marketing automation for Infor CRM or e-marketing for ACT!  provide helpful integrated tools for communicating your value proposition consistently, capturing the feedback from customer surveys, and measuring your responses.

Each sales person can view their contacts and quickly discover who is on their call list based on their interest from your e-marketing campaigns.


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2012 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Bring together customer-focused methodology and productivity-enhancing technologies that transform selling from an art to a science.  Arm your sales people with better tools and improved processes.  Make your business work smarter with CRM.

How could your business do better with a repeatable and customer-enabled process built within a quality CRM?

What steps can you add to capturing collective intelligence with CRM?


Make CRM Stick   8 Ways to Increase CRM Adoption


Topics:   Managing Change and Transitions CRM user adoption Simply Smart Working Appreciating Asset

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