Anecdotal evidence suggests that most of the effort with CRM system is spent on deciding which one to buy. And that seems to be the most painful part. Once the decision has been made, the CRM is bought, started-up and then set to work. However, it seems that most companies don’t know what to do with it. They simply don’t know how to fully exploit it.
Let’s take a step back. You’ve invested in your chosen CRM, you’ve unpacked it from the box, set it up on the cloud and you’re ready to play. What should you do next to ensure that you get the process right and that you get the best from your new system?
4 simple steps to get the best from your CRM system:
1. Don’t Over-Complicate
First things first, don’t over-complicate things. A CRM is a powerful piece of kit. Most have a V8 engine throbbing under the hood and they are capable of wondrous things. But, first time out of the box, keep it simple. Start with the small things. You might like to play, tinker and press all the buttons, and see the lights burst into life, but your users, or customers won’t thank you for it. A CRM stands for one vital thing: Customer Relationship Management. It has a simple goal of making you more empathetic with your customers. If complexities get in the way between you and your customers, and indeed, you and your users, then you have not even reached first base; you have lost the advantage. So, always start by keeping it simple. You can complicate things later. Don’t forget, what you need to aspire to is an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one.
2. Users First
Now, second point, talking about users, remember that you need to get them on your side. Not everyone will be as enthusiastic as you when you get your new toy out of the box. This is an important factor when introducing a new CRM system into your operation. Get the team around you and pulling in the same direction. If they start pulling in different directions, you’re not going anywhere. Users, your employees, might not be so keen in joining in the ticker tape parade. They might instead be worried what it all means for them.
For example, they might not want to share information which they think belongs to them (more so if sales bonuses are riding on it), or if they think its counter-intuitive to what they’re doing, or if they think it’s just too unwieldy. Even the best teams can get a little petulant when new systems are forced on them. So how do you get around that? Make sure they are part of the process, right from the start. You need to be a team to make it work. Hey guys, you can shout, we’ve got this wonderful new CRM system – let’s make it work for us together, it will bring us success. It’s time for one of those speeches. Get on a chair and rouse the troops. It could be your finest hour.
So make sure there’s lots of training and support. Don’t underestimate this. And don’t throw the new users a manual and say that they can read that in their coffee break. You have to allocate hours to get them trained, enthused and ready for the off. Being highly trained and motivated is the key. Having plenty of support staff on hand, who actually know the system inside out, is also another major advantage. This is all about making everyone efficient and happy, so much so that the CRM becomes background music, providing a nice background rhythm, but not causing discord.
3. Integrate, Integrate
Third point, and this is also another important factor to secure the success; ensure that your CRM system is integrated with your other systems. Don’t see it as something separate, happily humming to itself in splendid isolation. The CRM has to be a major team player. It is your number one striker, but unless its feeds balls from midfield, it’s not going to score the goals. So, get it out of the box and integrate it. Get it into the team straight away. Don’t let it hang around the changing room looking embarrassed and forlorn. And plug it into your other in-house systems, whether in the cloud, or on the ground. At the very least it should be playing alongside the accounting system and the website; get these three up front and you’ll be scoring those winners in no time.
4. Gold Nuggets
Fourth point. Don’t waste the capability of the new CRM system. A good system can literally spew out marketing gold nuggets. Make sure someone is at the back-end catching all these. The data produced by a good CRM system is like being handled bundles of currency. If you’ve bought the right CRM, it can be set-up to drive all your marketing campaigns, whether by emails, or more traditional methods. You can unleash it on your customer base and wait for the orders to come in. Which means, hooray, you don’t have to buy a stack of other software systems in order to drive your marketing. A good CRM will pat you on the back, tell you to pop back to your office and focus on pleasing the CEO and CFO. And whilst you’re doing that, it will be working its magic, happy to shoulder the responsibilities and worry. That if, of course, you’ve taken the advice and set-it up properly.
A final word. Your CRM system is one of the most powerful marketing weapons you’ll ever have at your disposal. Correctly operated and aligned, it will deliver you a path to success; used incorrectly it will quickly become a bit of an embarrassment.
So, remember what’s been said and stick to this list. First, don’t over-complicate it. Keep with very simple and evolve over time. Second, get people on your side. Get them as keen as you. Ensure that you are working as a team, and not all pulling in varying directions. Third, integrate, integrate and integrate some more. In fact, if you can’t integrate your CRM, don’t bother with it. Put it back in the box and get your other systems humming along nicely. Fourthly, don’t waste it. Don’t ignore what this powerful marketing engine is telling you about your customer base and what they need. Once again, remember what CRM stands for: Customer Relationship Management. Those three words sum up what this tool is all about. Don’t forget that – it will do the job if you let it.
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