Once your internal processes are all sorted, you should look at other things that can assist you in your CRM quest. There really are endless suggestions, but I'll go over ones that spring to mind. You may already do some or all of these anyway.
With each of the following suggestions, think about the data and how you can get that into your system. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.
Do you have a website?
That's a stupid question. Who doesn't have an amazing-looking, quality website these days?
- Is your website linked to any systems, so you can see or link to the contact within internal systems?
- Does your site have tracking? Can you feed this tracking data into the system?
- Do you have any other sites? Are there micro-sites the company made, or sister-company sites that may be of use?
Do you use social media?
If not, why not? You should be.
- Do you know who's following you? Can you link that data to your customers and prospects?
- Can you start asking people for their email addresses to search for them on Facebook?
- Can you start asking your customers for their Twitter usernames?
- Can you find and friend them on Linked In?
- What about their XBox Gamertag?! (this could be valid depending on your business!)
- Make sure the data gets into your CRM system.
Do you do marketing?
- Do you put ads in newspapers, magazines, etc?
- Do you have a newsletter?
- Do you do TV adverts?
- Radio adverts?
- Can you get this content in the system or an easily accessible place to refer to?
Can you start asking people if they have seen/read/heard your marketing campaigns and record their response? This could then be fed back to the marketing department.
Do you provide technical support?
- Do you have a helpdesk to provide support to your customers for... anything?
- Do you log the support calls, history and solutions?
- Do you have a knowledgebase of easily solvable problems?
- Can you get this information into your CRM system?
Do you provide technical support?
With any good CRM system, you should be able to automate your processes easily and without spending big money (providing you have some expertise in-house). Think about what processes you have and think about how you can automate them.
Whatever your opinion, if you think you can't make a manual process more efficient and more automated, you're wrong. Sorry to break it to you, but you are. Manual processes can always be improved, but - admittedly - that doesn't always mean that the people automating them have the capability to make it run smoothly or you have the money to do it.
Some good examples that come to mind are:
- Sign-off processes - Processes where employees have to authorise or sign-off work, deals, discounts, etc.
- Excel - Do you use Excel in any way other than manipulating data? For example, do you use Excel to record time spent on projects, for employee holiday requests or for storing any other data?
- Access - Do you use Microsoft Access at all? For absolutely anything? If so, why?
- Contact Lists - Do your sales staff keep their list of contacts in Outlook or an email program? Can you look to, at the very least, synchronise those contacts into a system?
- Call Centres - Do you have an inbound or outbound call centre? They should have customer and prospect history at their fingertips and they should log all of their contact against the appropriate records. You shouldn't have your staff calling customers without knowing the call centre spoke to them for half an hour the day before, for example.
There are many, many more examples. As I said in my "What Is CRM?" article, every single thing your company does can be part of and should be part of your CRM process.
Think of your company as a body. The CRM system is the heart. The data feeds are the veins. The servers are the brain. The departments and other systems are the organs. The data is the food, water and air. I'll leave you to guess what the outputs are!
- Any process in your business can be incorporated into CRM.
- Websites are a great source of information and very useful to paint a picture of a particular client or to paint an overall picture of what's popular in your business.
- If you don't use social media, you should. The information and analytics from it should be in your CRM system.
- Any marketing campaigns should be in your system and, if possible, linked back to customers and prospects.
- Helpdesks are great sources of data to help you judge whether a customer or prospect is happy, angry or just keeping themselves to themselves.
- What other processes do you have in your business? Anything manual? Contact lists? Call Centres? Get them involved!