Thursday, November 13, 2014

CEO's: You must optimize your CRM to create valuable customer relationships

As a CEO, the stronger and more individualized your engagement with customers and prospects, the more likely you are to gain long-term, loyal and valuable relationships with them. CRM systems are so important in helping you to achieve valuable relationships that result in long-term sales, and optimizing this system is key to getting the most from your CRM.

As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have been studying CRM optimization strategies and have two articles you may find helpful and insightful.

According to 3 Key Ways To Optimize CRM For Your Business by Meghan Bassett you should focus your efforts in these key areas. First before you start implementing and optimizing your CRM you should identify your goals. It will help you to connect all your processes and know what things you will need in place to meet your goals. Next you should clearly define your business processes to help assure a smooth and efficient flow of information and outline interactions between all people involved. Finally you need take time to continuously evaluate the goals, objectives, and processes that were established to make sure they align with any changes that occur in your organization. With this evaluation you should also always be looking for places where improvements could be made to increase efficiency and improve engagement with consumers.

Another helpful article is CRM Optimization Checklist by Jenna Hanington who outlines the steps to optimize a CRM that will help increase marketing and sales productivity. The steps include: Clean up your data, set goals, train your sales team, explore new features, demonstrate value, start reporting, and gather feedback.

From my graduate studies at Northwestern University and my exploration of CRM systems, here are three action items that I recommend you consider when setting up and optimizing your CRM.

  • Define All Business Processes - If we over look a business process this can result in gaps in the chain of informational flow needed to keep a consumer engaged. Also defining your business processes can help you create the most impactful goals to help your business grow.
  • Set CRM Goals - Having CRM goals will help you integrate your business processes with your overall business goals and identify what you need in place to meet them.
  • Constant Evaluation - With the constant changes that occur within organizations there needs to be someone that takes the time to ensure that all the aspects of the CRM are aligned with these changes. Ongoing evaluation will help you to get the most benefit from your CRM system.

Today CRM systems are a must for organizations that want to maintain valuable relationships with their customers. However, it is not enough to just buy a CRM and turn it on. There are key processes and goals that need to be defined and constant evaluations to ensure that the CRM system is best matched and optimized to meet the needs of the organization and market.

Lucas De Jong is a marketing professional with significant experience within higher education markets. He specializes in strategic communications, content marketing and CRM strategy/ optimization. Lucas is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Connect with him on Twitter (@lucasdejong48) and LinkedIn.

1 comment:

  1. No doubt, if CEOs don't take the initiative in CRM and help build out the strategy, define processes, help choose the best software for the job, and assist in ongoing training programs, then the rollout will be dead on arrival.

    Especially if simplicity and ease-of-use aren't considered during the process, you can have all your ducks in a row but if that one is out of line it throws the whole line off. CEOs can spearhead this and should also be examples by using the software just like their sales teams.

    Brad Hodson