Customer Relationship Management: Avoiding the Pitfalls
You want to be sure you are managing your customers properly, but great results don’t automatically happen just because you implement a quality customer relationship management solution. In fact, you can easily create more problems than solutions when you don’t rely on effective processes within your CRM solution.
Effectively Use Customer Relationship Management Software
No matter what name is on the customer relationship management solution you implement, it is still possible to manage it poorly. This is especially true if you opt to run your own in-house system that you created from spreadsheets and business cards. Yes, you do have to start somewhere, but knowing what to avoid can help you to quickly overcome any negative impact from a poorly managed customer relationship management solution.
Ban the Spreadsheets
Even with robust customer relationship management solutions in place, your sales professionals may be tempted to revert back to the traditional spreadsheet. Even worse, he or she may use multiple spreadsheets to store information on individual customers. This truly only works if the professional is handling one or two customers. Otherwise, you can’t organize or analyze the data effectively. And, worse, if the employee were to leave the company, the spreadsheet is too easily copied or deleted.
Avoid Lumping Data
You need to have effective methods for segmenting data. Robust customer relationship management solutions will offer this segmentation as part of the design of the software – make sure your employees use it. Lumping customers together ensures you can’t differentiate between prospective clients and current clients, which then impedes your ability to effectively market directly to individuals.
Don’t Keep Revenue in a Box
If all you should really care about is how much revenue clients produce, do you really need a robust customer relationship management solution? You could simply list your customers according to how much they buy and act accordingly. This is not an effective strategy over the long-term and customer relationship management solutions help you identify those customers who are the most profitable and those that could be buying more.
Protect Your Leads
You know how valuable leads are when it comes to closing deals. Having enough time to follow up on all leads is already a challenge for your sales team; they need a way to effectively manage these leads so current and prospective clients don’t move on to another vendor. Customer relationship management solutions offer powerful features that not only manage leads, but can also help to automate certain follow-up actions to support the efforts of the sales team. The solution can also capture information on interactions between current customers and the company to be sure the sales professional can improve upon an issue or up-sell/cross-sell to a current happy customer.
At the end of the day, your customer relationship management solution is only as powerful as what you do with it. If you simply install the system and don’t continuously promote its use, offer training and coaching, reward consistent behaviors and update on a regular basis, you might as well stick with Excel and save the money spent on a robust customer relationship management solution. Avoiding these pitfalls, however, will ensure you can gain greater value from your investment.