CRM - where to begin?
Sage’s Duncan Wood reflects on TFM&A...
In the world of CRM data is King. It will come as no surprise that the intelligence which comes out of your CRM software is only ever as good as the data that goes in to it. Yet, at TFM&A last month, it was surprising to see the number of visitors entering data into their CRM system at the show, who didn’t know how to turn it into actionable insights. For me, this comes back to strategy. People have too often fallen down by looking at CRM as a magic wand for their customer data, rather than a business strategy. In reality, CRM success actually stems from deciding what your businesses goals are, then building a strategy to support that. The next step is to look at current data assets and deciding 1) do we have the data we need to drive our strategy, and if not how do we build it? 2) Do we have the system (like a CRM software package) that can support the cleansing, building and maintenance of the data for our strategy and, all importantly, executing on it (e.g. run e-marketing campaigns once per month. drive attendance at a regional seminar on best practice, etc)
Alleviating excel hell...
For those visitors who had limped along with spreadsheets that had become unmanageable before making the realisation that it was time to invest in a CRM system, the real question was “where do I begin?” However justified, making the leap from spreadsheets can be a daunting one, so it’s important to keep it simple to begin with and to avoid rushing into making a purchase. Start with one or two simple business goals that can be achieved by executing a CRM business strategy supported by an appropriate software solution. You need to be able to communicate the why, what and how of the CRM project easily to your people and customers – so they understand what you are doing and how it benefits them and the organisation. To quote Leonardo da Vinci, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
People are of course very interested in Social CRM and wanted to “experiment” with it – so our new Twitter component for Sage CRM v7.1 got lots of interest, as it makes social content actionable within CRM. However, what many people could relate to about adding value to their business “now” was e-Marketing driven by CRM. It’s one of the simple ideas that highly executable and should lead to building valuable relationships with the people you do business with.
Follow Duncan Wood @sageukcrm