With less than 12 weeks to Christmas, now might be a good time to start planning for 2013. Too early? With these 13 CRM best practices there is no time like the present. Whilst individually each of these will help get your CRM system ready for the New Year, the more you can do, the better the results.
The pundits are in agreement - 2013 will continue the austerity we have seen in 2012. Making sure that your CRM system is delivering in the essential tasks of Acquiring, Retaining and Developing customers need not cost the earth. With careful planning, getting the best out of your system is a team effort that will cement CRM as “the way we do things”.
1. Perfect data is a myth.
Or perfect data is an expensive illusion. Either way, focus on the 20% of your data that yields 80% of your revenue. Don’t ignore the rest – but don’t throw money at trying to achieve perfection in every piece of data.
2. If it is important enough to record, it’s important enough to back-up.
You probably haven’t thought about your back-ups for a while. Sure those nice people in IT are backing everything up – but how long would it take to restore? How up to date is the last backup? A quick email may just save you a time and money in the event of a server crash.
3. Don't assume that it's safe in the cloud.
Feeling smug because your data is in the cloud? So, there should be no problem with checking how easy it is to get a backup, just in case you need to move systems in 2013. Some of the leaders in cloud-based CRM are going to disappear in 2013 – you don’t want to be caught out.
4. Set your users free.The CRM market has been screaming mobile for the last 5 years. 2013 is the year it becomes reality. Windows RT devices will be appearing near you soon. Does your current CRM platform deliver?
5. Manage your access points.
With more connected users comes the need to manage more access points. Bring your own device (BYOD) and home working necessitates a review of your security settings. How easy would it be for someone to steal your data?
6. Share the burden of data cleaning.
Not just internally by getting everyone to keep their slice of the data up to date. 2013 is the year that social and other data cleaning services will enter the mainstream. Often thought of as only relevant to larger organisations, plunging prices and easy availability will help to automate data cleaning for everyone.
7. Invite your customers in – and ask them to help with the clean-up.
Sounds bizarre? Customer portals are set to take off in 2013. Make sure that there is a compelling reason for your customers to come to your site and update their details and preferences. No compelling reason? What about linking access to content in LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media? These are all great sources of extra data.
8. Review how you're using your CRM system.
Your relationships are multi-faceted – use the right part of your CRM system to reduce the effort in recording and storing data. Try implementing those bits of the software you never bothered with. No need for Customer Services? Try thinking of it as post-sale customer care. Don’t track opportunities? Think of it as a way of developing a playbook filled with tips that work!
9. Direct mail is making a comeback.Perhaps in the recent past it was sufficient to just hold email and phone contact details – but as direct mail proves its value, get ready to hold postal address data. Now would be a great time to look at integrating access to the Post Office Address File (PAF).
10. Delete Data!
Yes, you read that right. In your CRM system there is data that needs to be deleted. The Data Protection Act (DPA) sets out guidelines on data retention. Use these to develop a data strategy and implement it. Do it quickly before your data embarrasses you.
11. Save money.
When was the last time you audited the usage of your system? If 20% of the users do 80% of the work, do you really need all of those licences? Do you really need people who can’t or don’t use CRM? If that sounds harsh, just think about the long term value of a customer you don’t know. Impossible to calculate.
12. Spend money.
The flip side to point 11 is to spend money. Invest now for the future in things that can deliver a return. Invest in people, education and tools to make CRM work for your business. Invest in expertise to accelerate those returns.
13. Back your instincts with solid proof.
As a Sales or Marketing professional, believe in superstition. Nothing about the number 13 – or the effect of black cats. If your gut instinct tells you something then go straight to your CRM system for the hard proof.
There they are - 13 things that you can do in 2013 to make your CRM system even better. Of course, you could always get ahead of the crowd and start now!
Did I miss anything? What are your plans for 2013?