99 ways to get more from your CRM software in 2013

by Richard Boardman on January 14, 2013

How can your B2B CRM system do more for you in 2013? Here (in four parts) are ninety-nine things that you might not be doing now that might make a difference:

  1. Integrate with your finance system – providing easy access to customer financial data, such as invoice history, can help your sales team detect changes in buying patterns, spot new opportunities, and reduce customer churn.
  2. Improve data management processes – poor quality data can damage your reputation and reduce the impact of your marketing. Introducing new processes to review the data going into your system can have a big impact on data quality.
  3. Strip out unwanted customisations – there’s probably plenty of capabilities in your CRM that you’re no longer using. These can confuse users and impact usage. Consider stripping them out or hiding them to make usage easier.
  4. Add users – who in your business isn’t using the CRM system, but should? There’s generally a lot more people interacting with customers and prospects than the sales and marketing team. Providing broader access to the CRM system can allow you to capture a wider range of customer insights.
  5. Review mail-merge templates – mail-merge templates are a great way of allowing your users to quickly produce high quality documents and correspondence. Check whether they’re up to date and that you’ve got the full range you need.
  6. Capture social profiles – with the social dimension of marketing becoming so much more important, start to improve the tracking of key social data including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook profiles.
  7. Analyse usage patterns – are people using the system in the way they’re meant to? If they’re not, develop a plan to get usage back on track.
  8. Manage quotations – many organisations struggle to maintain visibility of proposals and quotations. Your CRM system can help streamline the production of quotations and track what has been sent out.
  9. Do you have the latest version? – is your current system on the latest version? When will support end, and could an upgrade bring you important new functionality?
  10. Training – have all users had the depth and quality of training to make best use of the technology? If not, providing top-up training for existing users and ensuring new staff receive thorough training when they join, can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your CRM system.
  11. Start to track customer profitability – which customers make you the most money? The answer is not always obvious. Using the system to track customer profitability can give you a whole new perspective on customer management
  12. Review your reports – are the reports in your system producing insightful data? For many organisations the ‘out of the box’ reports aren’t terribly insightful. Developing custom reports based on your specific business processes can be key to driving value from your system.
  13. Gamify – can you bring in game play mechanics to drive up usage of your system?
  14. Have you got the 360 degree view? – can you see all of the interactions with your customers? What existing customer facing processes could you bring into the system, or what other applications could you integrate with to increase your access to key customer data?
  15. Share of purse – do you understand how much your customers are spending on the products and services you sell, and what percentage you have of that spend? Tracking this information through your CRM system can help you focus your resources on the most attractive opportunities
  16. Tracking time spent – which customers do your staff spend the most time with? Are these the ones with the greatest potential? Tracking where staff spend their time versus where the greatest potential opportunities lie, can help you uncover mismatches that are costing you business.
  17. Change management control – many organisations fail to adapt their CRM systems to meet changing needs over time resulting in premature system obsolescence. Ensure you have the budgets and processes in place to efficiently approve, implement and introduce changes in order to maximise the lifetime value of your system.
  18. Provide ready access to sales collateral – what collateral do your sales teams need to sell effectively? Is it up to date, and readily to hand? Managing sales collateral within the CRM system can be the most effective way to ensure these tools are readily accessible when needed, and that staff are using the latest version.
  19. Discount management – managing the discounts being offered to customers can be a key way to improve sales margins. Supporting the discount approval process within the CRM system can be a very effective way of reducing unnecessary discounts.
  20. Social listening – using tools to monitor the social conversations about your company, brands, and markets and using the CRM system to assign actions where appropriate, can be a powerful means of uncovering new trends, insights, and opportunities.
  21. Integrate with postcode software - integrating your CRM with one of the many postcode address auto-fill applications, can be a very effective way to increase the speed of adding records to your system as well as improving data quality.
  22. Configuring dashboards – with most CRM applications now shipping with reporting dashboards, tailoring dashboards so that they meet the needs of the different CRM users in your business can ensure staff have the information they need to perform more effectively.
  23. Remove duplicates – most CRM systems accumulate a large number of duplicate records over time. These can be reduced by checking that your de-duplication on entry rules are correct, and using tools to detect and merge potential duplicate records.
  24. Assess your implementation partner – is your implementation partner performing well, or holding you back? If it’s the latter, finding a new supplier may be the breath of fresh air you need to take your system forward.
  25. Closed loop lead management – many prospective customers aren’t ready to buy when they first make contact with your organisation. Logging and tracking these leads through the CRM system ensures you don’t lose visibility of them, and will help you increase conversion rates over the long term.

That’s the first batch, the others can be found here:  26 – 50, 51 – 75, 76-99.

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