Big, quick gains from streamlining your CRM system…


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Early last year I wrote a piece entitled ‘99 ways to get more from your CRM software’. Given the nature of the post brevity was a necessary constraint, and over the next few week, or so, I want to expand on some of the points that I was only able to briefly describe at the time.

Point 33 was perhaps rather unpromisingly entitled ‘Review how you support your processes in the system’. I recall the inspiration – if that’s the right word – was a CRM implementation review I’d recently undertaken, in which I’d reviewed a client’s enquiry/issue handling process.

The volumes of cases being created in the system were very high and I was struck by how many unnecessary steps, key strokes, and actions were required to log each one. The team was also struggling to handle the volumes, and there was talk of hiring more staff in order to cope. It was pretty clear that only a modest amount of tweaking would have considerably reduced the manual work involved and the unnecessary recruitment of additional headcount.

This is not an extreme or unusual case. We do a lot of CRM system review and health-check work and unnecessarily laborious processes are a common theme. This can be for many reasons. Perhaps the original design of the system was weak and never improved, or processes have become distorted over time, or organisations have failed to capitalise on new capabilities as upgrades and updates are applied.

Whatever the reason, reviewing how processes are currently supported by CRM technology, particularly where transaction volumes are high, and looking for opportunities to streamline them can pay big dividends in improving productivity.

Common potential improvements include:

  • Removing unnecessary fields. Do we really need or use all the data we’re capturing?
  • Adding default field values
  • Pre-populating fields based on other field values, for example deriving gender from the title field
  • Improving the grouping and sequencing of fields to better support the process
  • If the software supports it, creating custom views, for example allowing a team to only see the fields on a record that they update
  • Removing mandatory fields if they don’t need to mandatory
  • Using tools such as address population software that allows address data to be populated from just the postcode
  • Adding integration into other systems
  • Allowing customers to add or update more data online
  • Stripping out unused or unnecessary functionality
  • Using workflow tools to automate the process. Many CRM applications now have workflow capabilities that allow to you specify automated actions based on defined criteria i.e. if the ‘Type’ field value is X, then send an email to person Y.

The payback on this sort of analysis can be huge. Small, often easily delivered improvements, can transform previously onerous, labour intensive processes. A combination of some basic process analysis with a good working knowledge of the functionality of your chosen CRM technology can make a big difference, and very quickly.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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