How to Get More Business Value Out of Your CRM

Updated: January 01, 2012

The first step is review the objectives you had when you first implemented your CRM. If this was in place before you joined, reaching out to peer executives, marketing team, and sales reps can answer this (hopefully.) Then assess your current workflow and usage. As a start, get answers to the following:

  1. Why did we implement a CRM?
  2. Did we meet that goal?
  3. What modules or functions are we using now, which ones are we not using?
  4. Do you use it primarily as a historical view or are we able understand future buying patterns?
  5. Is there a standard data entry process each team member adheres to?
  6. Are there data quality issues? i.e., multiple instances of accounts, inconsistent data entry, outdated records, etc.
  7. What reports are currently generated? Who currently consumes those?
  8. What type of automated functions are we using? Marketing automation, email campaigns, etc.

This exercise wil branch off into other questions, but knowing where you are is the place to start to see what options you have and where you want to go.

Once you are confident your system provides an accurate history of accounts, you can then explore ways to have it provide a view into the future. Some areas that your CRM would be able to surface for you are purchasing patterns, most profitable customers, better account management, identifying accounts in crisis, competitor displacement, and vertical industry trends.

To do this, visibility is key. Having mandatory fields reps should populate will help achieve this. A good start would be to at least have:

  • Existing platforms (use pull down fields for this so you can segment/sort on those later)
  • # Users (pull down fields)
  • Timing (pull down fields)
  • Account notes that are easy to find
  • Purchasing history clearly visible
  • Project history (regardless of win-lose) visible
You don't want to overburden the reps with fields and data entry because it will cost valuable time, so identify your most important data points and then see what would be tolerable for your organization beyond those. Much of this has to do with their workload, call volume, are they inside or outside reps, etc.

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