With the first cold snap of the winter, thoughts turn towards the festive season and 2012. What New Year's resolutions could you make that would turbo charge your CRM initiatives? Which best practice techniques will help make 2012 the year that CRM comes of age in your company?
Constant evolution of your CRM platform is important, but waiting until New Years day 2012 is not a recognised 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, whilst others require investment but promise significant returns.
1. Banish Excel from the sales meeting
Make 2012 the year that the sales forecasts come from the CRM system, not an Excel Worksheet. Overnight this will improve usage of the CRM system by the sales team.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Talk to the users
And by that, I do mean users, not just those with a licence. Find out what they want changed - and change it. Reward their effort and commitment with recognition and support.
5. Talk to the non-users
Find out why they are not using the system, make the changes and get them onboard. Help them to cross the digital divide – unless they want to remain with the “have nots”. Remember, user adoption is key to successful CRM.
6. Get social
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?
7. 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?
8. 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?
9. Trade in the shotgun for a laser
Bulk mailing is sooo last year. Stop mailing out the same boring generic content to everyone and start tailoring messages to people based on their needs and interests.
10. Iterate, iterate, iterate!
Test and refine everything. Marketing content, client profiling, sales processes, customer service procedures - make 2012 the year you change everything that needs changing.
11. Show off!
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.
12. Automate the tedious stuff
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!
Compared to other 12 step programs this one is not going to change lives, but it would ensure that you are getting every penny of value out of your CRM investment. It would also make 2012 a great year to be a CRM user at your company.
How many of these best practices do you want to implement next year? And how many do you already apply?