Implementing a CRM System

Posted on in Business

How do I maximise the value of the information I hold about my customers and sales leads?

Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will enable you to develop a deeper relationship with your sales leads and customers through targeted communications, tracking actions and modifying your engagement approach based on results.

What CRM options are there?

There are a number of CRM solutions available to businesses at various price points either delivered as an internet based service or run locally. The optimal solution will be dependant on the complexity your customer base, mix of products and/or services and who will require access to your data.

Regardless of solution, flexibility and day-to-day ease of use are key to making your data work for you.

CRM basics?

There are three principle elements to building and using a CRM system:

    • Capturing contact data. Designing a contact record to capture the right level and granularity of information to enable targeted correspondence with your customer base.
    • Filtering data. Being able to 'slice and dice' your information to target individuals accurately with relevant communications. This is where a CRM system releases the potential of the information you have recorded.
    • Recording results. Being able to track the results of your communications such that future communications can be based on this ongoing dialogue.

The CRM contact record - some basics

Every business has different information needs however, the basics of any CRM system is to be able to characterise individuals or companies with a series of attributes.

Mandatory data

Some attributes should be mandatory, for example the persons last name or their address post code. Wherever possible dropdown selections, tick boxes and the like should be used as this forces consistency in data entry which makes subsequent filtering much easier.

Consistency of data

Consistency of data is the biggest problem in any CRM system. Inconsistent data makes data filtering and extraction very difficult (that well known expression of 'rubbish in - rubbish out').

For example, Hampshire and Hants are the same county but only the first 2 letters are the same. Filtering to get everyone in 'Hampshire' would miss out everyone in 'Hants' and visa versa.

Who owns your CRM data?

A strange question possibly, but very important. As your business grows many people will have access to your business data; both reading and entering information. Without somebody having overall data 'ownership' your CRM data quality will inevitably decay which has a direct bearing on its value to your business. The data 'owner' has the responsibility of ensuring data quality through audits and staff training.

Finally, as your customer database is your business it makes business sense to guard who has access and the type of access they have to avoid both data loss to competitors and data breaches.

How can we help?

We can work with you, using our proven Business First approach, to identify and implement a CRM system for your business. To discuss further please contact us.

To find out more about building customer relationships read our blog on Customer Relationship Management and see details of our CRM Business Service. For more information on email direct marketing see our blog on Email Direct Marketing.