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CRM Optimization Best Practices Best Practices in CRM Software Optimization

 

Integrate Software for Process Improvements

Integrating business software, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Business Intelligence (BI), with your CRM system will further streamline your processes, increase your efficiencies and decrease cycle times.

It's often a good idea to first focus on software integration efforts that automate cross-departmental or end-to-end transactions. Tie together processes used in a linear activity, for example: the quote to cash process. The key is to automate a complete business process, not just connect various services or systems.

It's generally a mistake to optimize your CRM software by adding or integrating too many business systems at the same time. If you do too much at once, you can create conflicts that are difficult to source and resolve. Further, company personnel can become so overwhelmed that they begin to question which system does what, or even circumvent certain systems.

Integrate business systems one at a time and then optimize each before moving on to the next application to be integrated. After you have achieved a highly useful integration, and company personnel are well-versed in using the blend, then move to the next software to be integrated and repeat the process.

Mashups are often championed by users looking for a quick fix. These lightweight apps typically do not integrate well with either back office systems or front office applications, so be on guard to avoid mashups that may result in islands of data or create conflicts with more heavy-duty integrations. While mashups can be advantageous to a single business unit or department, they are rarely advantageous to the entire organization.

Be careful to check each new integration against the full play of previous integrations to quickly detect and resolve conflicts and accidental database corruptions. It is far better to take your time to completely walk through and confirm each integration, complete with regression testing, than it is to foolhardily rush the process.

Map Your Integrations

Detail all your software integrations to aid in trouble-shooting, updating or even in moving to a different CRM system somewhere down the road. If you do not have a complete map of your system integration schemas, much in data, process and/or time will have to be replicated later.

You may also need to produce this map if there are compliance questions or issues that must be addressed in specific detail. In fact, your integration map should be pinned directly to your company’s information security and data privacy governance.

By keeping a comprehensive and detailed map of software integrations you can also guard against the accidental creation of data silos and storage issues that may crest in the future. This will also aid in planning for future software or hardware needs.

Backup Your Optimization

CRM software is a mission critical business application so it is imperative that you have a plan for disaster recovery in place. In the case of on-premise CRM software this means you will need a method for periodic or continuous replication of data to a server in another physical location along with a process for retrieval should circumstances warrant the action. If you do not have a means for continuous backup then periodic backup must be regular enough to capture daily changes and certainly to capture optimization changes.

This is less of a concern with cloud CRM in that the data is already hosted at a location separate from your company operations. However, not all SaaS CRM vendors will capture and backup your optimization or customization changes. You must validate what the cloud CRM provider does and does not do in this regard prior to optimizing so that you can plan and act accordingly.

Further, it is highly advised to check on the hosted CRM vendor’s disaster recovery plans and to know from the outset how to retrieve your information during a crisis.

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It's often a good idea to first focus on software integration efforts that automate cross-departmental or end-to-end transactions.

 

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