Are you using your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) to its fullest potential? I can almost guarantee the answer is “No.”
One of the most critical processes in today’s B2B sales strategy development is how sales teams use CRMs. Everyone has heard of the old computer adage “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” If you input bad data into any software system, bad data will come back out. To use your sales CRM to its fullest potential, you have to have a process that outlines what data you input and maintain the discipline to follow through and actually input that data.
CRMs are only as valuable as the effort you put into them. The truth is, many companies don’t enter very much data into their CRM to begin with. They’ve invested in multiple software licenses but have no real implementation plan. These companies waste time and money because they don’t put a process and structure into place that compels staff to input critical data faithfully.
Choose the Right Fields
Although it is easy to blame the CRM system when you get “garbage out,” more often it’s the data and the processes that are the problem. Bad data “in” also means bad decisions will be made. Ask yourself, at a high level: What’s most important in your CRM? Or more specifically, where is consistency of data input critical to ensuring that you are measuring and reacting to the correct information?
It’s not surprising that CRMs are so often under-utilized by companies, because it takes substantial effort to realize their fullest potential. After defining the most important fields, you still have to institute a repeatable process. The best part is that the process can build a momentum of its own, and the more data you capture, the more opportunities you create.
One strategy that can reap quick benefits is focusing on what kind of contact you are inputting into the CRM. Understanding where your leads are coming from is an important component for growth.
CRMs are also pivotal when onboarding new clients. To condense onboarding time for outsourced inside sales clients, we customize CRM fields to fit each client. In the short term, this helps us get up-and-running quickly—within weeks. In the long term, the customized data fields return market intelligence that refocuses our sales and marketing strategies to where they will be most effective.
Your CRM is a powerful tool that can deliver a great return on investment. But the monetary investment only gets you so far. Investing the time to customize your CRM and implement input processes will deliver the most short-term ROI while also building the foundation for long-term sales growth.
For further CRM Insights, read “4 Essential Processes for CRM Success.”
Chris Dohl is CEO of The Alias Group, an integrated sales and marketing agency located in Newark, DE. Alias is process-driven, delivering a proven sales and marketing model that has spurred business growth in a wide range of industries. The company scales up businesses with great efficiency by promoting a collaborative philosophy of “No one grows alone.”
Before The Alias Group, Chris was a Manufacturing Leader in the Electronic and Industrial divisions at W.L. Gore & Associates. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Operations Management from the University of Delaware.
Chris’s passion is his family, and he enjoys running his daughter and two sons to a variety of sporting events. On the rare breaks from business and family time, Chris enjoys golfing at his home course, Hartefeld National, and playing poker with his buddies.