Lead Generation: Two Cardinal Rules for CRM Success
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software should measurably improve business outcomes. When well implemented and expertly managed, it can yield significant gains in internal productivity and promote company-wide collaboration.
Data is the linchpin on which CRMs rest, and this foundation needs to be soundly built and maintained. This requires that marketing, inside sales and field sales staff all embrace data entry and upkeep religiously. A systematic approach is required to ensure that new data is both appropriate and accurate, and existing data is updated in a timely way.
Because we specialize in lead-generation, data input is the closest CRM component to our wheelhouse. There are two cardinal rules for CRM success from this perspective:
- Limit your CRM data input:
Boil down your information needs to the bare bones. Identifying and eliminating non-vital data will help you build a focused CRM structure. This applies to both quantity and quality. Superfluous data short-circuits decision-making and can make valuable information less accessible by burying it. As for quality: “garbage in, garbage out.” The concept of constraint sometimes gets a bad rap (synonyms: inhibit, stifle, imprison), but with CRMs, data constraint is a fundamental requirement.
- Require deep acceptance and religious upkeep:
If an inside sales person does a fabulous job with data entry, but field sales staff doesn’t maintain the CRM as they move through the sales process, the accuracy of information will be tainted. Likewise, if individuals each use their own approach to data entry, leaving some fields blank, for example, this can trigger costly inconsistencies that will impact reporting. Also, a data-entry process that’s not well understood or is too slow guarantees compromised results. These examples make the point that without a strongly implemented and consistently enforced CRM, results will be suboptimal, if not detrimental.
I’m a CRM devotee; I use mine all day, every day, and would be lost without it. There’s no question of its value to my personal and managerial business development roles. I advise every customer-facing professional to faithfully use a CRM. If your company is small, there are affordable solutions. No matter your company’s size, don’t be dissuaded by the complexities; the value to your business of a well-built, effectively managed CRM cannot be overstated.