How Smart Companies Are Harnessing Data Capture for Their CRM Systems
When any company begins to evaluate a CRM system and they review their entire CRM strategy – one of the first expressions to come up is often: Garbage in, Garbage Out. Everyone in the room has this fear – yet we see company after company using legacy systems and struggling with this exact issue.
How can you make sure that this doesn’t happen to you? With a proper evaluation of your current systems and appropriate planning for the future, you can make sure this doesn’t become the fate of your company. A proper CRM system that fits your company like a glove and tracks the information you actually want to track can be the difference between success and failure in your CRM strategy.
If it’s not easy to use, it won’t be used
If you can’t commit to making this your mantra – your CRM system will not likely be the success you want. Repeat this over and over again: “If it’s not easy to use, it won’t be used”. Unfortunately, the CRM market is filled with cumbersome, difficult to use products. Some products look pretty on the box, but once you actually use it, you realize how difficult it is to navigate, too many screens, too much unneeded information, limited flexibility, and on and on and on…
If there is one thing you need to always keep at the top of your list – ease of use is it. Your CRM system will be useless if no one enters the information you want to track. Your CRM system will be useless if data isn’t entered because it takes your users way too much time to perform these tasks. Your CRM system will be useless if you’re not tracking the appropriate data to actually benefit your company. It’s really quite simple, if your users don’t see how a CRM system will benefit them – it won’t.
Ask your prospective CRM vendor partners – can I access data with one click? Is there a consistent user interface throughout the product? Can I access information within one screen or do I have to open up multiple screens to see my information? Can the system be configured to match how I work, any way that I work? Is the CRM system incredibly easy to use?
We can’t stress enough about ease of use in your CRM evaluation.
Why do I need to fill this out?
CRM users need to see and understand value. If your CRM users don’t get why they need to enter certain information in their CRM system, your data will likely suffer. The success of your CRM initiative is going to be extremely dependent upon the value its users believe their efforts will produce. Users will always ask themselves, how will my CRM system make my job easier, save me time, and possibly make me more money? You should be able to immediately answer such questions – they will come up – and if you can’t show your company how this will make everyone’s job easier, save them time, and possibly make them more money, your users will likely then ask – why are we using this CRM system then?
In the planning stage of our CRM initiative, you need to place extremely careful consideration on the information you’re going to collect. You need to always be thinking about the usefulness of this information for your company. Further, you need to always think about ease of use for your users. If you ask them to collect too much information and you can’t show them the value of collecting this, you will very likely get push-back from your users.
Automate to make life easier and to save time. Don’t over-automate and collect unnecessary information.
What do I get out of this?
Now that you have convinced your users why they need to track certain information in your CRM system, you better make sure they are getting positive results from their information. What key information are you are looking for from your CRM system? Are you trying to evaluate lead close ratios? Average time to close customer support issues? Dollars forecasted for this month, this quarter? Average number of minutes spent on phone calls in a call center?
You will have your specific and probably unique ideas of the exact information you want to get out of your CRM system. By now, you know that what you get out of your CRM system will only be as good as the data you have convinced your users to collect and track. Reporting will also be a large key to this as well. With the proper reports that reflect what you need, you will be able to easily and graphically see the results of the information you are collecting. (For more information on reports, please see our whitepaper entitled: “It’s All in the Reports! Tapping the Real Power of Reports”).
Will this actually save me time?
This is the vital proof your users are looking for. If your users are convinced that their CRM system will save them time, you will be able to collect the exact information you are seeking. Many companies embark on a CRM initiative after years of using archaic means such as a file cabinet and note cards to track their prospect and customer information. Many users that have never had experience with a CRM system are amazed as to how much time a good CRM system will save them. Instead of fumbling through note cards or a database that doesn’t provide much useful information, their CRM system can give them any needed information about prospects and customers in one click. When a user schedules a follow up call or a meeting, their data is automatically integrated with their Microsoft Outlook system instantaneously. Instead of putting together custom excel reports for their management every week – now the manager has the report auto-delivered to them via email every Friday at 3:00 PM.
Once a company executes a great CRM strategy with a CRM system to match, they wonder how they ever did business without it.
Your Next Steps
Garbage In, Garbage Out. With the proper direction on your CRM initiative, you can make sure your CRM system will produce the success you’re working for. You will need to keep your team on track to be certain the right questions are always being asked:
- How will I make sure my CRM system is easy to use for my users?
- Am I collecting the right amount of information – too much, too little?
- Are our users seeing the benefits of our CRM system?
- Are our users seeing how our CRM system will save them time?
As you embark on your CRM initiative, keep a close eye on overall strategy to make sure your system is a success for years and years in the future.