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CRM troubleshooter: How to tackle CRM’s most common obstacles

From improving adoption, to keeping compliant with GDPR, we solve the biggest CRM challenges.

As part of My Customer’s ongoing series where IT leaders tackle the challenges most commonly reported by adopters of their category of tools, John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks, and Penny Lowe, head of service delivery at Workbooks, share their advice on how to overcome CRM stumbling blocks.

1. “Our employees aren’t using it enough/at all. How can we improve adoption?”

JC. Most organisations invest time and resources in internal communication – for the launch and for the first critical months following the launch – to enthuse, to clearly communicate goals and priorities and drive behaviour. Like many things in life, the difference between success and failure could be one person or a small group of people who realise the value of CRM. They understand the problems it’s addressing, dedicate time and energy to making it work for them and help drive adoption by their team and other colleagues.

Look for these champions and help them get quick wins. Then communicate the impact of these changes to the wider user group clearly explaining the business benefits/outcomes e.g. in terms of increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, reduced operational cost (e.g. less re-keying of information as a result of doing more in CRM or integrating CRM with back office systems), Improved visibilty of metrics/KPIs.

Once others begin to see success, they are more likely to follow suit and start embracing the new tool.

The real key to success is to give your employees a reason to use CRM, not just because you tell them they have to. Look at it from their perspective: What’s the value of this application? How is it helping them get their job done more effectively? Put yourself in your users’ shoes, look at the WIFM? (what’s in it for me?)

2. “We’re collecting lots of data in our CRM system but we don’t know what to do with it”.

JC. Data on its own isn’t much use. You need to decide what type of information you are looking for, then you can begin to analyse it more effectively, gain insights and make better decisions / take appropriate actions. For example:

  • Uncovering prospective growth customers: Ensure your CRM can identify customers who buy frequently, or as an example, customers who have purchased printers, but not toner cartridges – this can be a valuable source of knowledge.
  • Uncovering hidden problems: Are you getting a lot of support calls or customer complaints on a specific product, supplier, sales rep or delivery firm? By tracking issues, linking them to the original sources and categorising them appropriately you can uncover issues that might be hidden in the data. Once you have uncovered the issues, you can then address the root cause and address it.
  • Identifying star performers (and under performers).  Build some benchmarks and measure performance. For example, if your average conversion rate is 1 in 4 deals, do you have some people converting 1 in 2 or 1 in 10.  Or from a customer support perspective, do some customer service agents deal with 20 issues a day and some 100? Why?  What can be improved? Do staff need help/training/changing? Can we learn from our star performers and share best practice with the rest of the team? A lower work rate may not be a bad thing if that customer service agent has the highest customer feedback (NPS) score of the team!

3. “Every minute our salespeople aren’t selling equals lost revenue – and they are spending a lot of time entering data into the CRM system. What can we do?”

JC. Firstly, make it easy to enter data by:

  • Synchronising data from other sources. For example, make sure Outlook is synchronised so people don’t need to key in their activities / information twice.
  • Providing simple views in CRM where all the relevant information can be entered on one screen, without having to switch from one view to another. Simplicity is key. Work with your team to understand what information you need and how best to display the fields on the screen for data input.
  • Making sure you have automated processes underlying your CRM so that information is automatically populated.
  • Ensuring collection is in the path of the day job – not an admin burden at the end of the day. Can they enter the information they need to quickly and easily using CRM on the mobile when they leave a meeting?

And secondly, only ask your salespeople to enter the data you need! Check the data your team is inputting is actually being used for reporting and whether it is useful. If not, consider taking this data collection field out. Only collect what will help you and your sales team get insight and make decisions.

4. “We’ve spent money on the CRM system but we’re unsure if we’re really getting any ROI from it. What should we be measuring to gauge its success?”

PL. Did you know where you were heading before your started the project? A common issue is that CRM is implemented based on current working practice ie. Implementing what you already do without challenging the status quo. We would recommend running sessions with business stakeholders about business goals, priorities, understanding of the current state and desired future state. Is the business trying to achieve 10% year-on-year growth or 110%! Ideally these workshops would capture the current metrics e.g. revenue, operational cost, customer satisfaction, easy of reporting, etc. These are then your benchmarks for regular review.

Focus on metrics such as: increase in revenue; improvement in customer satisfaction; reduction in operational cost; and improved visibilty of metrics/KPIs.

  • Revenue: CRM should be helping drive more revenue, for example, by showing the sales team a ‘path to the money’. Do they know which accounts are most likely to spend more with you, where the white space in an account is? Can they easily visualise account/lead/opportunity data on a map so it is easy to plan visits to additional prospects /customers? Is the relative size of the account / opportunity easy to see on the map – so they focus on seeing the right ones – not just the ones with the best coffee!
  • Customer satisfaction: Are you measuring customer health in CRM, e.g. customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score – happy customers are likely more receptive to scheduling strategic business review and disucssing what else they would like to achieve with CRM. Are you alerting the sales team when an account reaches certain ‘happiness’ or ‘unhappiness’ levels?
  • Operational cost: Have you managed to do more with the same or less resource as a result of implementing or improving your CRM? Do you run employee feedback surveys – if so, do you ask ‘I am more effective in my role because the company invests in systems and processes that help me do my job’? The change in this score could be a good indicator that CRM is delivering value. Have you managed to decommission any old systems as a result of CRM?
  • Metrics – this is one of the most common pain points in an organisation – even if they have a reasonable CRM – it is also one of the areas that is least thought about before or during a CRM implementation. Can your CRM do the ‘AND NOT’ reporting e.g. show me which customers have bought product X but not product Y. Show me the product revenue that has increased period-on-period – analyse that against changing customer profile. How much time are your resources spending pulling together data for weekly/monthly/quarterly meetings? Are these meetings being run from dashboards in your CRM? These are good measures of success if your CRM metrics are embedded into  your organisational processes and reviews.

5. “A lot of the data in our CRM system becomes out-of-date or inaccurate within a year or so, which we worry may have implications for our compliance with GDPR. What should we do?”

PL. Does your CRM include the concept of ‘Compliance’ records? These records should be created when personal data is updated or impacted by a change – e.g. when an account is changed from a prospect to a customer, renewal of contract, etc. The record should include the legal grounds for processing, e.g. contractual obligation, Legitimate Interest etc and the expiry date of the record.

These values should be set based on your data processing analysis and privacy notice, e.g. you may have decided that for Contractual Obligation – your retention period is until two years after the account ceases to be a customer, whereas for legitimate interest you may have decided the retention period is until two years after their last interaction with you (e.g response to a marketing email, visit on your website, etc).

Dashboards that show you data which is about to expire – gives you the opportunity to either try to re-engage or to delete the record(s).

Does your CRM provide a data enrichment service which helps to maintain the accuracy of your account and contact data? Portals which enable data subjects to maintain their own data, raise Rights & Freedoms requests etc are also helpful in keeping your data up-to-date.

Find out more about Workbooks CRM or give our team a call on: 0118 3030 100