What are my CRM needs
Before starting to look at various CRM systems in the market it is good practice to assess your own needs first. What your needs are depends on your company stage, growing or mature, your objectives you wish to achieve and the pace of change you wish to get.
This article describes some of most common needs for CRM implementation for those new to CRM.
All in one place – concentrating data
More than often customer related data is scattered in different places. Quotations and agreements and other important legally binding documents are hard to find from corporate file server. Maintaining the life structure based on naming conventions causes files to be displaced and not to be found. Accessing the files outside office premises is often not possible.
Customer contact data and activity data is stored in Excel sheets. Each employee has it’s own excel and maintain the data as they feel fit. As a result, customer contact data in inconsistent and erroneous. Customer meetings can be found in individual user’s calendars and overview of customer’s situation cannot be easily found. Did we have a meeting with this customer during past six months? Has the CEO been contacted in any way? Did we really not contact this prospect we got?
The same is also valid with customer emails. Emails cannot be accessed by other employees who happen to need the data.
All in one place is they for future development of customer relationship processes.
Existing customer data
Most likely one of the basic needs is to use existing customer data. You may find data from your financial systems, ERP systems, Excel sheets etc. Make sure you can export that data e.g. in Excel to be imported into a CRM system.
However, seriously consider cleaning the data before starting to use in a brand-new CRM system. The usefulness of any data driven system is dependent on data quality. Do not import trash.
Rules and processes
Once use have the basics right – all in one place and relevant data available it is time to start thinking business processes to be supported. The following are just simple examples you may find useful in your thinking process
- Short memo is written on every phone conversation with customer
- Upcoming activities are available in the system with date when to contact
- All customer data is maintained (emails, phone numbers etc.)
- Every new lead or prospect is recorded in CRM
- Every customer meeting can be found from CRM calendar
- All relevant emails can be found from CRM. Define what is relevant (quotations, orders, order confirmations, reclamations etc.)
- Every quotation can be found from CRM including expected order date, value of quotation and quotation pdf
- All orders are recorded in CRM
- Every sales rep creates his own sales budget
- Sales meeting use CRM data only – not Excels
The above is merely a list of some basic rules. It is good practice not to try to implement everything at one go. Start developing here and you get the benefits without choking your users.