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CRM Optimization Best Practices Best Practices in CRM Software Optimization

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Governance and Compliance

CRM systems can store sensitive information such as customer lists, customer information and financial forecasts. Further, some industries such as healthcare, financial services and public sector have particularly specific data governance requirements. But irrespective of industry, privacy and security issues are important, and may be handled differently based on whether the solution is in the cloud or on-premise. Cloud CRM data privacy and information security is largely handled by the hosting provider. Therefore, it is imperative that customers understand the hosts ISMS (Information Security Management System) and data governance processes.

It is also important that you carefully consider regulatory and compliance needs in your CRM optimization and integration efforts. Any attempt to shortcut required privacy and security issues can result in damage or ruin for your company reputation. Do not assume that you can satisfy regulations by transferring privacy and security issues to a third party, i.e., the CRM hosting company. Even cloud CRM customers are ultimately responsible for their customers' data privacy and security.

Most CRM implementations put little weight into governance and compliance until after the go-live event. If you haven't already, put a governance model in place to insure compliance and periodically review for adherence during optimization and integration efforts of any kind.

Add Predictive Analytics

It is a common mistake to use CRM software solely to track customer transactions and not go the extra steps to uncover customer insights and achieve the power of predictive analytics. This is akin to driving a car by looking solely in the rearview mirror. Although the mirror will show you where you have been it is not a reliable indicator of what lies ahead. The same is true in driving your business; you must look both forward and back.

Analytics adds an intelligence factor to Customer Relationship Management software and strategy. This can have several immediately profitable benefits to the company by guiding employees through interactions with customers; ensuring marketing messages are targeted precisely to customer segments; and even predicting changes in customer needs based on real-time behaviors.

Predictive analytics should be used from the moment of CRM implementation and guarded throughout each optimization cycle. Be sure to regularly check reporting to ensure role-appropriate predictive analytics are included and being fully leveraged.

Centralize Customer Information

You can use CRM systems to unite disparate data silos in different geographies, be that branch offices in a single country or global company operations. Your goal is to achieve a single centralized database of customer information that is updated in real-time or near real-time and accessible by staff located anywhere in the world.

If data is not centralized, your CRM automation, information and performance will be diminished.

Your optimization efforts should include streamlined and consistent application environments, as opposed to multiple application environments.

Map Unused Functionality

Generally, CRM systems are highly functional applications that are more commonly underused than outgrown. Quite often there is unused functionality that languishes because users are unaware it exists. In fact, research studies have consistently shown that most CRM adopters use less than 30 percent of the applications features.

A CRM best practice is to map out available but unused features and functions in order to review them, and tap into capabilities that add value to business processes. Conversely, not all CRM functionality will be useful to every organization. Mapping will help identify what's useful and what's not.

Having a firm grasp on functionality will also enable you to better judge when an upgrade is advisable. It is a quick and reliable aid in reviewing your application environment and lifecycle.

Avoid Over-Engineering

As a final check-off of any CRM optimization, review planned efforts and outcomes with an eye to see if you have over-engineered the proposed improvements. Remember, each role only needs support for a limited number of processes. Make sure you are focused on delivering role-appropriate functions and features. It’s far too easy to get carried away and over-engineer the solution which almost always leads to user frustration. End

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CRM systems are highly functional applications that are more commonly underused than outgrown. In fact, research studies consistently show that most CRM adopters use less than 30 percent of the applications features.


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