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CRM Optimization Best Practices Best Practices in CRM Optimization


Recruit Power Users

Power users are those employees that readily understand, adopt and fully use technology, specifically your CRM system. They are usually the first to notice potential problems and to suggest enhancements that are likely to be of true value to other users. They are also typically helpful in motivating others to adopt the system.

In addition, power users often help train other people and are generally quick to alert IT to problems long before other staff members will even ask a question or voice a concern.

It is important then to recruit power users, communicate with them regularly and encourage them to proactively help IT with optimization and adoption efforts.

Perform Data Integrity Reviews

Your CRM efforts will quickly deteriorate if your data is unreliable. If your data was not scrubbed prior to implementation, then clean it early in your CRM optimization efforts.

Consider hiring a third-party data-scrubbing service if necessary. However you decide to accomplish it, make sure your data is clean before you begin CRM implementation and that it is regularly cleaned and evaluated thereafter. Several CRM systems have duplicate checking features, and while that's a good start, it's all necessary to periodically perform a data review to identify incomplete, redundant, missing and other bogus data. Catching data integrity problems early allows for resolution before the data volumes get large and unworkable.

After data cleaning and optimization efforts, double-check CRM data field alignments with reporting functions to guard against accidental data shifts or data drops. Absence of alignment can result in isolated or out-of-context information that is difficult, if not impossible, to put to use.

Measure from a Baseline

As Albert Einstein would say, “everything is relative,” and CRM metrics are no exception to this rule. The numbers pouring from analytics will mean little to nothing if you don’t have baseline measurements to compare from and points of reference to put measures into context.

Hopefully, before you flipped the on-switch to implement your CRM software, you composed a list of key performance indicators (KPI) and the corresponding measurements. These are your baseline readings. Periodically compare KPI readings as you optimize your system going forward.

KPIs are measurable factors critical to a business’ success. For example, a retailer may have listed as a KPI the number of units per SKU (stock-keeping unit) sold per day. For a manufacturer, the number of days it takes suppliers to deliver key raw materials may be a high ranking KPI. For a service company it may be the percentage of monthly service up-sales or a balance reading of revenue streams. Whatever you choose as KPIs, they must be true keys to your company’s success and they must be measurable. Name those keys, measure them and monitor them on a regular basis.

Changes in analytics will quickly clue you to which CRM optimizations are working and which are not. It is vital that your metrics measure against specific business goals so that return on investment (ROI) is realized. If measurements are aligned with anything other than specific, measurable business goals, they cannot trigger meaningful action or engagement in affected business units quickly enough to produce a positive outcome.

Remember to stay mindful that growth does not always equate to profitability. Therefore, your KPI definitions must be more specific than a vague reference to growth. Keep in mind that your KPIs may change over time. Part of growing a company is successfully adapting to the age. Be careful that your KPIs do not become stagnant or antiquated; review them periodically to ensure these measurements are the measurements you need today.

Business agility comes from real-time, accurate metrics coupled with actionable improvements. Your goal with Customer Relationship Management is to achieve and maintain this agility, particularly as it affects customer relationships and customer objectives. Make sure your KPIs are elements that directly relate to your company’s success and stay abreast of the analytics so you can respond early and effectively.

Check for Brand Cohesiveness

Brand perceptions and loyalties are built through many channels. The customer’s experience must be well-integrated and the message consistent across all these channels.

The brick and mortar store should have the same feel as the company website or the company's social media presence. The level of service should be consistent throughout. The support answers given to customers by phone should match those in FAQs, the online forum and the product’s manual.

Consistency is everything. If there is a conflict in message or a failure to deliver as promised or a disconnect between your and the customer’s expectations, then the odds are you will lose that customer, possibly permanently.

Whatever image and expectations your company has built around the brand, follow through with that in your CRM optimizations. Check with your customers frequently to discover their actual expectations against your perceptions or predictions.

Be sure to check your customer processes from the customer’s perspective often to ensure CRM optimizations have not created a conflict in the seamlessness of the customer experience or in presentation of the brand.

More CRM Software Improvement Best Practices >>

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Business agility comes from real-time, accurate metrics coupled with actionable improvements.


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