By Dick Wooden on September 13, 2013 at 4:43 PM
Which best practice techniques would turbo charge your CRM initiative?
Constant evolution of your CRM platform is important, but waiting until New Year's day 2014 is not a recognized best practice. So if you are looking for practical steps you can take to get the best out of your current investment, then look no further. Some of these suggestions are quick and easy to implement, and cost very little, while others require investment but promise significant returns.
Banish Excel from the sales meeting
Make 2014 the year that the sales forecast come from the CRM system, NOT an Excel Worksheet. Overnight this will improve usage of the CRM system by the sales team.
Only record what is necessary
Identify fields that are no longer used or needed and remove them from your CRM software. No one will miss them. Consolidate forms. Clean up unused menus.
Clean your data
With data deteriorating at 25% a year it must be time you dealt with reality and spring clean your data. The cost savings from outbound mailings could well pay for the cleanup.
Talk to the users
And by that, I do mean USERS, not just those with a license or only access the CRM system to look up a phone number.
Talk to the non-users
Find out why they are not using the system, make the changes and get them on board. Help them to cross the digital divide - unless they want to remain with the "have nots". Remember, user adoption is key to successful CRM.
Start to track your contacts' social presence. Twitter handles, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles- they all help you to understand your customers better. Then do something with the new insights - perhaps it's time to consider inbound marketing?
Review your CRM software
Most people only use 20% of the available functionality of any software package - so find out what you have already paid for, but don't use. Is there an opportunity to do things Better, Faster, Cheaper?
Get out of the office
Meet with customers and prospects, but take your CRM system with you, either on a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Share your data with your customers and ask them what they would change. Would a customer portal or integrating your CRM software with your web site improve customer loyalty? Periodically provide surveys of customer service quality. Rewarded responses.
Trade in the shot gun for a laser
Bulk mailing is sooo two years ago. Stop mailing out the same boring generic content to everyone and start tailoring messages to people based on their needs and interests. Segment lists and identify types of content per contact responsibilities. If you are using Saleslogix then use groups and filters. If you are using ACT! setup up groups. What do your customers WANT to learn more about?
Involve a pilot team of influential users and Power users
Test and refine everything. Marketing contact, client profiling, sales processes, customer service procures - make 2014 the year you change everything that needs changing to improve marketing, sales and customer service processes.
Measure the results - show off with graphs
Make sure that the content of your CRM system is not hidden - project dashboards onto every wall. Show graphically what is in your CRM system, and make use of Business Intelligence to make your business more intelligent. Sales reps like to visually see how they compare to others and product managers like to see what product lines are moving in sales forecasts.
Automate the tedious stuff and alert the important
If it needs doing, but is a repetitive boring task, then get some software to do the job, and free up some time to do more interesting things! Business process management and workflow tools exist such as Orbis TaskCentre. Create helpful alerts: email/reports of key performance indicator changes.
Characteristics of your customers are key
Get more clear on characteristics of your ideal customers and thus ideal prospects. Who is in your top 20%? How has those in the top 20% changed over the years? Are those ideal customers being represented in the prospective sales opportunities your CRM system indicated?
Tailor to your terminology
Using your CRM and available technology reduces time spent duplicating actions and translating one thing or messaging to another. Integrate the tools at hand. We have clients who wanted to change "Accounts" to "Organizations", "Tickets" to "Client Matters", as so forth to match their internal language.
Personalize for the users - have their default screen show to them what matters most. Maybe that is the list of My open opportunities, My follow up tasks for this week, my top contacts, my best selling accounts, my top leads....
How many of these best practices do you want to implement next year?
How many do you already apply? Let us know what steps you've taken or want to take.