To build loyalty for your CRM, employ the data you collect in a coherent and strategic way.
Pull together data from other silos and systems. Better yet strategically plan on which applications are critical and have the capability for data integration and at least 'read' access to data.
It is sometimes too easy for pesky humans to get involved and begin introducing technologies that expand or rebuild silos. Marketers bringing marketing automation, sales people bring in lead management and alerting software while everyone seems to have some smart phone app that is not sharing important information.
So watch out! Build a smart strategic plan that is actionable so different departments don't have different data about the same customers. Yes, it will take work and a concerted effort from your leadership to prevent silo rebuilding and data integration issues.
Some data will be extremely hard to obtain anyway. The self-life maybe too short to be of strategic value. Also it gets very hard to know all the data determining customer behavior and attitudes. There is no way to know whether a customer is stressed financially or has personal issues. All those things can affect a customer's behavior, but it's pretty unlikely you'll have that information captured in CRM.
Use the data to help sales people to be more organized and reduce follow-up failure issues. This can mean more time selling and can mean better sales numbers. What will make those numbers go up? Start with a talented sales team, motivated with CRM productivity tools like smart phone and web access 24x7x365. Mobile CRM access leads to sales engagement. Also give them measuring tools so they can more easily check their sales progress compared to others. The better sales reps will favor this accountability.
Allow the CRM system to apply human creativity and judgment to develop smart ways of using the data. For example: use segmented contact lists of specifically target people based off of CRM sales history. Link to marketing automation to nurture these contacts more smartly on a more regular basis and with content specifically useful for them.
Data in CRM is there to be used in whatever way a sales manager wants to use it. Great sales managers work smarter so CRM data ends up making both the lives of the manager and their sales reps more rewarding. Use filtering, grouping, sorting and visual representation to more easily spot trends and provide coaching tips Good data will return useful perspectives and generate actionable tasks.
Keep reporting simpler. Often a CRM system will come with 100's of reports where only a fraction are of value. Likewise the data captured on forms can be simplified. Reduce the overload of data and reports to what is essential and valuable. Hide or eliminate waste.
Focus by defining right questions. This is probably the most strategically important point. If managers want to find the right data in CRM, they have to start by knowing the right questions to ask. CRM does not intuitively know what a manager needs or wants - it's merely a system of record.
Good data answers the right answers.
If managers want to make their sales organizations operate better, or if they want forecasts more accurate, then they need to think about what to look for in the CRM data and generate reports that answer those specific questions.
This article was inspired by Christopher J. Bucholtz article "5 Promises CRM Can't Keep".
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