A good customer relationship management (CRM) system is a powerful sales tool. This software product is designed to track customer contacts, automatically record a wide range of transaction data — and then transform this information into well-guided marketing efforts certain to bump up sales.
All of this may seem like the best thing since sliced bread. But to get the most out of a CRM system for your business, you’ll need to follow these five dos and don’ts:
- Don’t jump in without thinking it through. Harnessing a CRM system’s power is hardly a simple plug-and-play process. CRM is more than just the software itself; it works best when considered a strategy.
Choosing the right solution requires a thorough analysis of your strategic goals and company culture as well as its technological proficiency. Businesses get burned when they jumped into buying a system without looking at the bigger picture of how they wanted to manage their customers.
- Do know what you want a system to find out for you. The ability to analyze and sort data quickly means that CRM software can generate a veritable blizzard of customer data. The trick is to target properly: Too much information can overwhelm your staff, and also lead them to over communicate with customers, causing an overall negative response.
On the other hand, collecting too little data risks wasting time and money and, ultimately, missing opportunities.
- Don’t expect an immediate dollar-for-dollar return on your investment. As appealing as many CRM capabilities are, they come at a cost. The software and the often necessary hardware upgrades can be expensive. And frequently overlooked is the cost to train your staff to use the system effectively. Also, you may find uploading information onto the system a labor-intensive and, therefore, costly task.
What you pay for the system isn’t directly related to what income it may generate. But staff effort is: How well you set up your system and what you do with the data it generates is what counts. The time you put into employee training, database design, and tracking and database hygiene ties directly to results. Your return should be much higher than your investment if you’re smart about it.
- Do think outside of the box. Logically, most businesses put CRM technology to work to bolster sales. But others have also used their CRM systems to drive customer experience, create a library of past projects and bids as well as organize business partners.
- Don’t buy a system without checking with your technology providers first. You may want to integrate your CRM system with other software systems to cut down on duplicate data entry. Make sure to share your CRM plans with your technology vendors and service providers to ensure everything will be compatible.
Need help selecting the right CRM system or creating a digital roadmap for your company? Call your MarksNelson Smart Technology professional at 816-743-7700 to discuss how our Digital Solutions Assessment will help you find the right tools to meet – and exceed -- your goals.