A Committment for Improvement:
As any new parent can testify, an addition to the family requires an infusion of time and energy. Priorities adjust and even the parents’ world view may change. This infant is totally dependent on its parents for its care and well-being. Despite the potential hardships, parents soon discover the joys and blessings that their child brings. They understand that their child’s future will rely on the care, attention, discipline, and education he or she receives over the next 18 years.
In the same way, when you add a key business development component to your everyday business processes and systems, such as a new CRM, there will be an upfront investment of time and energy. The way you do business and view business processes may change. However, without proper input from your business, the CRM cannot perform as it is designed to. The quality of benefits you can receive from such a system depends on the information entered and the way that information is used.
It is a Developmental Process:
Just as an infant needs changing every couple hours, your new database will need to be updated as it grows to maturity. Even after all your client information is updated, you will need to ensure that account and contact information stays current as your relationships grow. You may have to adjust the kind of information you collect and how you use it as your business, industry and technology changes. The business personality will change as a focus on relationship development takes deeper root.
Just as a child needs attention, care and feeding, your CRM is never “done.” This is a 'process' of discovery and refinement. The better information you “feed” it, the better your client relationships will be, and the better your chances of closing and increasing sales. If you’ve ever dealt with a child who eats only sugar and junk food, you know he or she will tend to be moody and distracted. In the same way, a CRM with detailed, correct information will “behave” and set you up for positive outcomes.
Involvement to Success:
Just as a child needs discipline, your CRM system needs to be evaluated to see if it is doing everything it should. Are you using the information you are collecting? Are you collecting email addresses but not using an email list? Are you failing to get extension numbers for clients at larger companies? Are you noting the personal interests of your clients and their social network involvement. Who is responsible for keeping the information updated? How can it be used to increase business?
Just as a child needs education, your CRM’s ability to grow and develop with your business means staying up to date on its capabilities. Business blogs, product websites, your CRM business consultant/partner, can all provide guidance and education on what is new (such as mobile and web access) in the world of CRMs.
It’s not your father’s spreadsheet!