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CRM Optimization Best Practices Best Practices in CRM Software Optimization


Integrate CRM with Social Media

In order for CRM software to return the highest possible ROI, it is imperative that all customer communications move through the system. This includes social media conversations that exist outside your company but within your customers’ social circles.

The most widely used social networks are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. However, there are numerous industry focused and niche social media sites that exist around common interests. For example, Pinterest and Instagram are particularly popular in the retail industry. There are also tens of thousands of focused communities. To better engage customers, you will likely need to participate in social networks, and even blogs, where your customers congregate and in online communities which discuss your company and products.

It is not sufficient to simply be aware of conversations affecting your brand, relations or value propositions, nor is it enough to participate in such conversations. To be truly successful, you must also capture these conversations and incorporate them into your company’s knowledge base for use in optimizing your customer service solution and expanding your customer relationships.

In other words, you need to be able to proactively collect knowledge gained from social media conversations and leverage that knowledge. The social listening tools you use to monitor social media should be fully integrated with your CRM.

Remember the mantra: All customer communications should flow through the CRM system even if such conversations take place outside your corporate universe.

Align Remote and Mobile Workers

CRM software can easily be used to increase the productivity of remote and mobile workers. If you haven't already, begin by identifying and prioritizing the actual work scenarios and business processes for these staff.

A full desktop version of CRM on a mobile device will impede, rather than help, a mobile worker. Handset screens are too small to accommodate a full desktop user interface. Further, having to move through so many processes before arriving at the one needed can deter staff from using the system at all. The best practice then is to use a smaller subset of functionalities closely aligned with the worker’s most frequent tasks and designed for the particular mobile form factor. This means you will need to ascertain what those tasks are before implementation, and then continue to optimize them as company processes and worker responsibilities change over time. Let your guidance be “less is more.”

Remote workers are different than mobile workers in that they are stationed at worksites outside company walls but are not moving about. Remote staff may include at-home call agents or staff working from a client’s site. They can be working from anywhere but typically they are using a laptop or desktop screen.

Business processes usually differ somewhat for remote workers. Internet access to sensitive company data is a prime consideration as are related security measures. Many organizations limit remote data access, insist upon mobile device data encryption and use wipe remote techniques in the event a device is stolen or compromised. You will have to decide how, and how much, information will flow to the remote worker. Be sure your compliance rules and planned system evolution cover both remote and mobile workers in every upgrade or optimization effort.

Refine Reporting

Despite your best efforts to determine reporting requirements pre-implementation, it is quite common to discover initial report designs are incomplete and some reports were overlooked. Re-evaluate reporting requirements for all staff users from top management down immediately after implementation. Then perform this task on a periodic basis.

By re-evaluating immediately after implementation, you’ll be able to quickly identify reports that were missed in the initial configuration. However, be aware that sometimes users are not aware of the many reports that are available with a new CRM system. It is important that you share the true extent of these capabilities with users or business unit leaders so that they can tell you which are most useful to their workflow and objectives. Let this be your guide in reporting optimizations.

Do not assume users are entering all necessary data on their own accord. Quite often, users resent time spent entering data or feel it an unnecessary task. Consider whether you should include the use of forms to encourage or require users to enter data at key points in the process. Be careful, though. Users will abandon a system that aggravates them or slows the process. Always check the time needed to use any optimization to ensure it does not delay staff in their routine workflow, or customers in their interactions, with the company.

If your CRM software looks and works the same for any two unrelated departments, you are likely under-utilizing the configuration, automation, reporting and workflow capabilities of the system. User interfaces, system automation and information reporting should fit the specific activities, workflows and goals of each department or line of business. The resulting data entered by each department, however, should flow throughout the system so that all staff members are receiving consistent and up-to-date information. Make sure all departments are fully aligned in data flow but possibly disparate in use patterns.

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If your CRM software looks and works the same for any two unrelated departments, you are likely under-utilizing the configuration, automation, reporting and workflow capabilities of the system.


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