A customer relationship management is an invaluable tool for many businesses. Yet, licensing the software such as MS-Dynamics or SFDC is only half the issue. CRM systems are useful when they contain relevant data. Note the operative word “relevant”.
Here comes the tricky part. Ensuring relevant data is stored in the CRM system requires two essential ingredients; both of which rely upon the most variable component – the human element.
Whilst it may sound obvious the two essential ingredients are:
a. The end-users must use the system.
That means recording and putting data into CRM. How often do we hear of proposals stored on someone’s laptop; Email correspondence with clients left in someone’s inbox; Meetings and phone calls noted in someone’s diary but never recorded against a client in CRM.
b. End-users need to be consistent in their use of CRM.
This is a case of garbage-in-garbage-out. Different users will approach the system in different ways and hence record information differently and to varying degrees of granularity or quality.
It is often the “obvious” that thwarts us. It’s so obvious that we fail to address it. Yet, ignoring these obvious ingredients often happens, because the remedy is not easy to apply. It is easier to ignore it and put up with the consequences. Then we hear the lamented catch-cries, “Why can’t I get 100% adoption of my CRM”, “…I can’t rely on the information – so I won’t bother”, or “you’ll never get sales reps to use the CRM system, it’s not in their DNA”
Here are some ways to help overcome the barriers,
1. During implementation:
Remove superfluous fields on the screen
Make use of mandatory fields
Make field labels and data entry points intuitive
Think ahead about what information you need to keep that is relevant
2. Have visible and vocal executive sponsorship
A senior executive that continues to beat the drum about updating CRM will raise its importance in others
3. Training and re-training
Training existing staff on how you want them to use CRM (note this is different from training them on what CRM can do)
Re-training. Users will develop their own habits and will over time deviate from the procedures that company wants to enforce
New-staff training. In the first few days a new employee is often bombarded with information. If they are lucky enough to get any system training, the likelihood is they will forget it very quickly. On-boarding training needs to be planned and delivered properly
Keeping training to bite-sized sessions, it doesn’t need to be full-blown classroom training.
4. Setting time aside in the calendar (records won’t update themselves)
Allocate a specific time for end-users to update their records. If the company knows that between 4pm-5pm every Thursday the sales team will be unreachable because they are updating their records it will build a culture of meaningful information.
5. Exception reporting
Look for exceptions and anomalies and then bring them to the individual’s attention to remedy. (Note this rarely happens on a regular basis, since it is seen as nagging. Setting the scene in advance from the Executive Sponsor can help position why this is important).