Is Your CRM a Glorified Rolodex?

Ok, so I’m probably dating myself just by using the word “Rolodex”.  For you youngsters, that’s basically a rotating file device used to store business contact information.   It’s also how many companies are using their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems.    I’m sure I’m stating the obvious, but you’re spending A LOT of money for a fancy phonebook if you’re simply using it to store and access client details.

It’s 2013.  The world is changing.  Social Media has taken over the world (maybe I’ve watched a few too many movies lately).   Budgets are shifting to CMOs and Marketing organizations.  CRMs and Marketing Automation tools are becoming more and more closely woven together. The amount of data that could be stored in CRM systems is staggering and often inaccessible.

So how do you make the most of your CRM so that it benefits your entire organization and shows the greatest ROI on your investment?  First, let’s examine the changes that have occurred and then talk about how to address them.

  1. Social Media Domination-  There is a push to include more and more social data and plug-ins in both  Marketing Automation Systems (MAS) and CRM systems.  There is a reason for this- social is becoming a larger part of the buying process on an increasing basis.  Most people are now familiar with Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” and the fact that over 60% of the buying process is complete before a sales person is engaged.
  2. Budget Shifts to Marketing- There is data that suggests that by 2017 CMOs will be gaining increasing percentages of the budget and spending more on IT than CIOs.  That means that Marketing is going to become a greater part of the entire organization and that other departments must tie in more closely in order to meet end to end goals.
  3. CRMs Being Absorbed into MASs- There are many articles on this topic, but here are a couple that really highlight this trend:  Business 2 Community Blog, blog, Hubspot blog.
  4. Data Explosion- With the increase in social data, mobile platforms, and “always-on” technology, the amount of data companies must now sift through is astounding.  Getting to the right data at the right time has become a real challenge for many companies.

So how have I seen businesses adapt to these changes?  Here are my observations.  (If you want to hear from people much smarter than myself on this topic, you should join our webinar on 11/14 on “Making the Most of Your CRM”).

  1. Use the social profiles built in to many CRMs or find plug ins that allow you to access that data readily.  At a minimum, you should be able to easily pull up a social profile of a contact directly from your CRM before you make your sales call.
  2. It all starts with identifying your business needs.  Every business will have different requirements and if you simply select “out of the box” tools and features, it may not work for your company.  Come up with a specific set of requirements so that you get what you need, but don’t overspend on tools that aren’t useful to your business.
  3. Sales and Marketing MUST work together to identify requirements and implement the appropriate tools.  Because the responsibility for leads and customer nurturing is becoming shared more and more across Marketing and Sales, it is essential that goals, processes, and IT purchases are discussed jointly.
  4. Find ways to make the data in your CRM/MAS useful and actionable.  There are many tools out there that will allow you to pull the exact data you need at the exact right time.  Smart Selling Tools has a great list of Top 40 Sales Tools and Social Media Examiner has a list of Social CRM tools that can help you access your data more efficiently.
  5. Garbage In Garbage Out still applies.  Invest the time to make sure the data going in to your MAS and CRM is quality data on which you can easily report.  For instance, make sure you have a way to check for duplicates before entering a new contact into the system.  Make sure each contact can be mapped back to an appropriate lead source and make sure you have processes in place so reps know when they can and cannot create a new contact in the database.
  6. Probably the most important thing to remember is to communicate the processes and business goals to the end users.  If they don’t understand the value they are getting from the tool and how it relates to their jobs, they are not going to use it.  When they provide feedback, incorporate that into next year’s budget and goals to make the system easier to use and more beneficial to the people really using it.

Do you have other tips on increasing CRM adoption in your organization?  Post them below.  Still have questions?  Tune in to our webinar on November 14th on “Making the Most of Your CRM“.


Cari Zoch

Cari Zoch

Marketing Manager, Brand Communications & Social Media at Avention, Inc.
Cari has over 15 years of Marketing Communications experience and has spent the last 3 years focusing on the ever-evolving world of social media. Prior to joining Avention, Cari was the Global Social Media Manager at LifeSize, a Division of Logitech, and built their social media program from the ground up. Cari is an avid Longhorn football fan (yes, even this year!), and enjoys acting, spending time with her daughter, and taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoor activities Austin has to offer.
Cari Zoch
Cari Zoch

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