One feature of CRM technology that I don’t think users make enough of is the ability to create, store, and manage mail-merge templates within the system.  These templates allow commonly used documents and emails to be quickly generated automatically, inserting relevant data held in the system, such as name and address.

This may not sound terribly exciting, but the effective use of templates can have a number of significant benefits:

Improve productivity – documents and emails can be generated pretty much at the touch of a button avoiding staff creating them from scratch each time. As written communications often make up a big part of people’s workloads, the productivity gains can really add up.

Quality control – in the absence of standard documents, staff tend to be left to their own devices and outputs can be frighteningly variable in terms of quality and compliance with corporate standards such as branding. The ability to manage templates within the system means that companies have much better visibility and control of what gets sent out.

The ability to optimise – if the documents being sent out are designed to sell the company’s products and services, for example quotations, the ability to control these outputs, and further improve it over time by testing different wording and formats, can have a very big impact on lead conversion rates.

Given that it’s not particularly time-consuming to do, doesn’t require the help (and cost) of third party implementer, and is a feature common to most CRM systems; creating a suite of mail-merge templates that really meets the documentation needs of the user community, and, as importantly, looking to hone and extend it over time, can be an under-appreciated, and frequently overlooked, way to make a big difference with your CRM software.

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