A carefully managed CRM system is a beautiful thing. Acting as a central repository where individuals across your business can analyze various customer touchpoints to gauge the health of your sales and marketing operation, it’s both the brain and the beating heart of your organization.  

Your CRM system should sit at the very top of your MarTech stack and govern every decision your sales, marketing, and customer service teams make. It should also be a vital resource for your finance department and provide the detailed information your senior leadership team needs to make strategic decisions based on accurate intelligence.  

When something is as important as your CRM, it deserves to be appropriately looked after. As such, your CRM system needs careful administration. 

Defining the Role of Your CRM Administrator

Regardless of the size of your organization, it’s essential that someone takes charge of and champions the use of your CRM. In a larger organization, this might be a dedicated position. In a smaller team, it’s a position that could be absorbed into a marketing or customer service role. However, whoever looks after your CRM, must do so from a holistic viewpoint. This isn’t a marketing or customer service job — it’s far more important than that.      

A good CRM administrator will work across the various departments in your organization (sales, marketing, customer service/support, finance, SLT, etc.) to assess their individual needs before setting up the CRM to meet these expectations. This process begins with the following: 

  • Careful analysis of legacy software systems and how they integrate with your CRM system of choice. Are they fit for purpose, or do they need updating to reflect the current needs of your business? When legacy systems don’t speak to each other properly, you risk leaving holes in your data that will potentially corrupt campaign strategies across your organization.  
  • Identifying any manual processes or offline operations that create opportunities to corrupt data and drive inefficiencies within your organization. Remember, the moment a spreadsheet is shared via email or loaded onto a memory stick (please don’t do this) is the moment you’ve lost any integrity in your data and created multiple views of “the truth.” 
  • Researching solutions that fill gaps in your CRM strategy and ensure all of your cross-departmental data is aligned, up-to-date, and accurate. Administrators will have several layers of integration to consider. An out-of-the-box integration, like the emfluence Marketing Platform for Microsoft Dynamics, is ideal because it creates a familiar environment within the CRM system and means users don’t have to click between applications. Where standard integrations aren’t available, it may be possible to link applications without hiring a developer using third-party services like Zapier. Bespoke and legacy systems may require more complex integration.    
  • Setting out simple rules and permissions relating to how data is created and amended within the CRM. These rules will prevent your repository from filling up with junk information that creates multiple versions of the truth and skews data quality, impacting future customer engagements. When every department in your organization relies on the data held within your CRM being accurate and up-to-date, this highlights the importance of training.  

CRM Training

There is absolutely no point in investing in a CRM system if your colleagues don’t know how to use it. A CRM can seem unwieldy and difficult to use to the untrained eye. The moment someone decides that they would rather work outside of the CRM environment is the moment when things get messy.  

When customer records aren’t updated in a timely and accurate fashion, the knock-on effects can be damaging. Consider the following scenarios: 

  • Marketing: A well-maintained CRM system enables you to send the right message to the right person at the right time. If the information stored in that CRM is inaccurate, you risk sending your customers irrelevant and contradictory marketing campaigns. For example, consider the impact of emailing a client a special offer for a product or service they have just recently purchased at full price. 
  • Sales: The data stored in your CRM will help make your sales process more efficient by highlighting “hot” leads based on where prospects are in the sales funnel. Hit an opportunity too early in the process, and your sales team will waste a lot of time speaking with “lukewarm” and “cold” leads. Hit them too late, and you may have lost the opportunity to a competitor. 
  • Finance: Nothing will damage a company’s reputation faster than an inaccurate invoice. This will not only waste time in trying to resolve the issue, but it may also potentially impact your company’s cash flow. It’s also important to remember that information from finance can be used to guide marketing interactions. For example, do you really want to send marketing campaigns to customers with previous unpaid and bad debts? 

CRM Hygiene

Regardless of how good your initial CRM training is, your data is always at risk of corruption. Therefore, your colleagues should receive regular training updates, and any new staff should be fully trained before being allowed to run wild in the system. It also requires a regular program of CRM hygiene, removing duplicate data and ensuring records are as accurate as possible. 

CRM hygiene also means vetting any new processes and technologies that could potentially corrupt or bypass the information stored in your system. While the administrators must act as gatekeepers, they should also be agile enough to ensure that your good CRM management doesn’t become a roadblock preventing your organization from achieving its objectives. With this in mind, the best CRM strategy is always one of enablement. 

Learn More

Do you need help aligning your sales and marketing teams in CRM? The emfluence Marketing Platform has standard integrations with Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, plus an open API. To learn more about how you can connect your CRM with the emfluence Marketing Platform, contact us today at expert@emfluence.com

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