5 Unmissable Tips for Stellar CRM Software Strategy
As the new year approaches, your team might be looking to take 2016 as an opportunity to overhaul your customer relationship management strategy, or to implement a whole new CRM system altogether (hopefully just not on New Years Day). With the advent of the cloud and software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CRM solutions, it’s easier than ever for even SMBs to implement CRM systems and take advantage of their superior cost-saving and process-streamlining abilities. However, your business needs to use CRM smartly in order to truly reap its rewards; software that’s empty or full of duplicate and incorrect data won’t do anything for you, and can actually harm your business. You need a well thought-out and thorough strategy for your CRM, right from the day you decide to implement to the present day. Instead of letting your CRM stagnate, you should be looking at your software with a critical eye constantly. Is it achieving the goals you had planned for when you started the implementation? Are you employees truly using the system to maximize it’s effective or are they doing the bare minimum required? You can only really be sure that you’re maximizing ROI on your software with constant strategy improvements and diligent planning.
So, whether you’re looking into a new CRM system or merely want to reinvigorate your current operations and employee engagement, these 5 tips will help you to improve CRM software strategy and ensure your investment is doing exactly what you want it to do.
Set Clear Goals
CRM software can become second nature and old news to many users within your time—either something that’s simply ‘there’ or that is a routine, and often burdensome, duty that must be attended to every so often. Even companies that are initially excited about their CRM system can let it stagnate as more and more of your team become ambivalent about the technology and whether it’s really helping your company. When you have pre-made goals and measurements for success, it will be much easier to convince your staff of the value of your software and the returns it is providing for your company. After all, if employees feel like something isn’t benefitting them or making their life easier, they won’t use it. Don’t give them that chance—show them just how CRM actively improves their day-to-day job tasks.
If you still have sales people who won’t come to your side on CRM, show them this article.
Incentivize User Adoption
Another way to foster constant and enthusiastic engagement with your CRM? Incentivize it.
As adults, we never really grow out of that gold-star sticker mentality that is always seeking recognition and reward for a job well done. Whether it’s sales goals or simply meeting excellent standards of data entry and tracking, sit down and draw out (achievable) individual goals for your team members to strive towards. Whether it’s a bonus, a gift card or some extra time-off, even something small go a long way towards encouraging super-users and excitement for your system.
However, it’s critical that you remain careful about how you leverage these kinds of rewards for CRM usage. After all, you want proper entry and engagement to be the norm for all of your employees; not something extraordinary. Set rewards for exceptional users or make them less frequent so your colleagues don’t become reliant on some material gain just to commit to CRM regularly. Otherwise, as soon you take away those rewards, you will see that usage drop dramatically.
Get the Entire C-Suite On Board
You likely already know that getting an executive level sponsor for your project before it even begins is simply CRM best practice. But you shouldn’t stop at just that one single sponsor. It’s absolutely imperative that your entire executive team adopt the CRM and continue to use it throughout that product’s lifetime. When it comes to enterprise software, change must happen from the top-down. If employees notice that some of your more senior team members getting away with not using the CRM, they will begin thinking that they can get away with it too. User adoption spreads quickly—and so too does un-adoption. Don’t let this happen by making sure all levels of your organization are on board and involved with your CRM software strategy and implementation.
Do Regular CRM Software Strategy Reviews
You likely underwent a thorough business process modeling program when you first implemented that shiny new CRM software, going through all of your operations and paring them down to eliminate waste and unnecessary activities. However, business process modeling should not be seen as a one-time, pre-implementation kind of deal. Instead, you should be actively reviewing your processes all the time. Set up regular periods for a detailed, company-wide look at how your team is interacting with the CRM system and whether the goals you set for your software in the first step are really being achieved or if everyone is just coasting by on the minimum engagement required. Good CRM software strategy never really has an end-point—a savvy project leader is always focused on their software, working to improving it and how employees interact with it every day.
Think Beyond the Software
The most well-developed and successful CRM strategies extend beyond mere data entry and reporting. Are you combining the data that CRM provides you with information you get from all of your other applications or enterprise systems, like ERP? The information you can glean by connecting the two is invaluable, so it’s imperative that you think about connecting your front and back office enterprise systems.
Moreover, you might use CRM to log sales calls, follow-ups and contact information, but you should also be tracking where you are collecting your leads from, the response rate on your marketing campaigns and the nurturing of leads (and leads that you may have lost). Your sales team certainly doesn’t work in a silo, so it’s obvious that your CRM shouldn’t. Map out how your system is interacting with all of your other departments, software systems and business processes, and ensure that those links are not leaking data or slowing down certain processes.
Smart CRM software strategy is absolutely crucial; starting the beginning of a CRM software implementation and continuing right through to everyday use of that system. Employees should be encouraged to interact with the system and best practices and your IT and support teams should be constantly checking that everything is operated as it should be. Careful planning is just the first step of a successful software implementation—what you do once that software goes live is just as important.
For more information about CRM software and implementation or advice on how to make your current system work better, contact an expert at Datix today. Please also see Epicor ERP, Infor ERP, and the other solutions we offer.
- Visit ERP-Demos for Epicor® video training
- Visit ERP Training for Infor video training
- Download the Ultimate CRM & ERP Implementation Plan E-Book today