Tip of the Day: CRM systems are what you make of them

A lot of companies invest in a CRM system or maybe just a contact manager – be it an online, cloud stored, or a desktop/server in-house solution – and they hope their customer relationships will automatically improve. This is generally the case, as using any CRM system will introduce some structure in the way you talk to your customers and in the way you manage the relationships with them.

However, CRM systems on their own will not work on their own – your sales, marketing, support employees, partners, associates, etc. need to fill them with quality data. A contact manager will only be as good as the quality of the data in it – it gives you the structure and the analytics, you provide the data. It’s vital everyone is trained into using the CRM system and it’s vital the vision about how the system is supposed to be used is shared with everyone. Most importantly, everyone in your company must buy into it, rather than the new system being imposed on users.

What can you do about it?
Write a one page (not more as not everyone will read it) document about your vision for improving the customer relationships. Add a set of rules to ensure everyone fills in notes when they communicate with customers and promptly fill in sales opportunities and use the system to track their tasks. Add a section about the quality of data you expect. Circulate it to everyone and include it in the onboarding documentation you give out to new employees. You might have to keep an eye on the quality of data and ask for improvements where you see the rules are not being followed.

If you’re consistent in your commitment to data quality, this will ultimately reflect in the quality of your relationships with your customers and your business will be much more succesfull as a result.