Maximizing your usage of CRM software


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So you decided to make the plunge and implement CRM software, but it is not having the impact you thought it would, what can be done about it?

First of all, purchasing and implementing CRM software is the first step, not the last. Old habits have to change and new processes need to be developed, after all technology is only around 10% of a CRM implementation. But how do you “teach an old dog new tricks,” as they say?

You start out by ensuring the software is delivering what your users require. The software should enable your users by:

–Providing data in a timely manner (like up-to-date sales data about your customers that used to be delivered once a month in a report)
–Providing insights about your customers (like when their last support call was along with a description of the problem)
–Eliminating the need to create periodic reports (like sales call sheets, etc. – Most CRM systems should eliminate the need for these reports by proper usage of activities/history and opportunities)
–Eliminating having to update multiple sources of data (before implementing enterprise CRM the average company has at least 4 sources for customer data including accounting, service, spreadsheets, access databases and Microsoft Outlook)

You follow this up by teaching your users on the proper usage of the software and how it fits into your process. Then you wait a few weeks and you teach them again. After awhile, you teach them again. The goal is to make the software a natural extension of your user.

Finally, you make usage a requirement. You can’t have some people using the system and others doing their own thing. Your customers are important, and proper setup and usage of a CRM system can provide you with irreplaceable insights into your customers; their buying habits, their values, and their loyalty patterns. After all, most business experience between 15% and 40% annual customer attrition. Your CRM system may make all the difference in the world to your bottom line.

Luke Russell
Luke Russell has been CRM consultant since 1998. He has personally consulted with hundreds of organizations, and has a strong success record for CRM implementation and results. During this time, he has worked with customers to achieve such lofty goals as higher quote win ratios, larger average order size, more effective follow-up, reduced cost of administration, increased customer retention, and expanded cross-sales into existing customers; to name a few. Luke is the founder of Resolv, Inc.


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