More than Just a Data Hub

Short for “customer relationship management,” a CRM is a very particular type of system that aims to help businesses create, protect and preserve what may be their most important asset of all – the valuable relationships that they’re forming with their own customers, day in and day out.

At its core, a CRM is more than just a centralized hub for company data. It’s a way to find new prospective customers in the fastest and most efficient way possible. It’s a way to win back former customers by taking a far deeper and more holistic approach to this relationship. And yes, it’s also about collecting, organizing and managing customer information in a way that allows both sales and marketing teams to go beneath the ones and zeroes, extracting the valuable insight that is hidden just beneath the surface of that information.

But it’s also not quite that simple.

Because even though it’s certainly true that solutions like Salesforce, Base, Pipedrive, Nimble, SAP and others all bring their own unique benefits to the table… there is truly no “one size fits all” approach to managing customer relationships. Getting the most of of a CRM takes attention to detail when pairing essential features to business needs. Every organization is a little bit different and the same is absolutely true of your audience.

CRM solutions like those referenced above work best when they’re used as a way to integrate marketing, sales, support, business intelligence, and finance together – allowing them to operate less as individual parts of a business and more as the living, breathing whole that they were meant to be.

They’re built to allow your teams to manage your organization in the most holistic way possible, working with maximum efficiency based on timely and actionable data.

Which means, of course, that the solution itself is only as good as the data you feed into it.

Importance of Data Quality

According to one recent study conducted by Gartner Group, the single biggest reason that CRM projects fail – and end up costing massive amounts of money in the process – has to do with poor quality data. But at the same time, this is certainly a challenge because customers are dynamic, and their information is just as fluid. Even though they themselves are constantly changing, they still expect personalized customer service throughout the lifetime of their relationship with your business.

Because of this, a comprehensive customer data quality management program (also commonly referred to as a CDQ) is essential in terms of addressing this issue head-on. By being proactive about factors like data discovery, analysis, conversion, cleansing, and maintenance, you’re naturally feeding your CRM with much more accurate information – thus clearing up a little bit of that “grey” that was previously a liability.

Embracing Change

Whether you’re switching from one CRM to another or are embracing a CRM for the first time, this is more than just the implementation of a new piece of software. It represents a massive shift for any business, both in terms of the processes your employees are engaged in and the culture that they’re a significant part of creating.

Because of this, you’re looking at an “all-hands-on-deck” situation. Everyone – from company leaders to key stakeholders to line level employees – need to acknowledge the extent of this change and be ready to welcome it with open arms. If you suspect any amount of resistance to change across your organization, this is a problem you need to address before your implementation begins. If people aren’t ready to adopt the practices necessary to use that CRM to maximize lead conversion, you’re only moving farther away from your goals, not closer to them.

But that isn’t your CRM’s problem. Make no mistake: it’s yours.

In the End

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that CRMs – like most other technological assets – are ultimately just tools, the same as anything else. What the tool can do matters less at the moment than what it can do for you – meaning, whether or not it’s the right solution to the right problem in the first place.

Even the most objectively powerful CRM in existence ultimately won’t generate the outcomes you need if you’re not using it in a way that is aligned with your larger business objectives. But provided that you’re asking the right questions, feeding it the right data, supporting the system in the way that it needs and are truly getting at the important story just waiting to be told, rest assured that sales success is no longer a matter of “if” but “when.”

Contact us today for more information on how to jumpstart your sales goals and to learn more about the next steps of growing your business with an outsourced sales team. 

Katie Rogers

Author Katie Rogers

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