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Preparing your CRM for 2016

As 2015 is drawing to a close, we often get asked ‘what we do with our CRM system?’ and if there are any best practices we can share. And yes, there are a number of things you can do and a few things we think you should avoid over the festive period…

My Top Five Things to do…

1. Tidy up your data. The success of a CRM can be measured by the quality of the data that is stored within it. Cleaning up your data should be an ongoing task but with every well laid idea, it doesn’t always go to plan. Ideally, do not delete data unless you have a back-up organised. The number one helpdesk call in the New Year we get is for missing data. Records have been deleted or you can’t access the system as something has been moved/attempted over the break. Use the time to set a “deletion flag” on records you want to delete for some reason, then….

2. Hold an “End of Year CRM” Meeting to decide what to do in the coming year. The key here is CRM planning, let people know what is being planned for the New Year, so you can look at:-

1. Reviewing the needs for changes to the CRM System. E.g. Add a workflow, screen designs.

2. Ensuring your have documented SOP’s on key processes such as Lead Engagement, Opportunity creation.

3. Review Your Licence and Training needs for the New Year.

4. Look at possible integrations, for example. Is there a need for Email Marketing?

5. Engage with the users and emphasise the importance of accountability. They are the individuals who will be in control of the data, its maintenance and quality. They need to take responsibility for owning the data and ensuring that everything is kept up to date.

3. Look at Key client contacts. As previously mentioned good quality data can be key for a successful CRM system. One way to ensure the aata is accurate, relevant and of high quality is to allocate your Sales team a number of accounts to review. Allocate each member of your Sales team say 20 Key Accounts to ensure contacts are up to date with correct Job Titles, Salutations etc. LinkedIn is a great tool to help with this.

4. Update your ‘Open’ Opportunities. Now is the time to be realistic about which Opportunities are just hanging around and which can be successfully closed. A good tip is to look at your “average days to close” and measure which ones have been open too long. This all impacts on your Sales Velocity. So review these older opportunities and be realistic, If they are Lost update them with reasons as you have the time to fill in why they were lost and review. When you come back on 4th January you will have an accurate pipeline without too much baggage from 2015. And yes, if this means you have a smaller pipeline, then you know you need to generate some more!

5. Have a Back-Up organised. Once you have cleansed, maintained and ensured your data is of the highest quality, the last thing you want to do is to lose it all! Ensuring you have a back-up organised before you go away for Christmas and making sure this is taken off-site is critical. Recent events in Cumbria just show the need for off-site backups to be stored, at least weekly. This is not an expensive thing to do but losing business critical data is!

And, my Top Three Things not to do...

1. Don’t Upgrade in Festive Period. However tempting it may be, really from around the 18th December until the end of first week in January, try not to do any major or minor system upgrades unless you have notified your CRM support and planned this together in advance. As time is hanging between Xmas and New Year, many will be tempted to ‘just apply’ this upgrade patch, but remember, most Helpdesks are often reduced as people use up thier holidays.

2. If you are an On-Premise system,don’t move to a new server. This seems simple, but agree with your CRM consultancy first. Whilst invariably this may be a good idea, this still needs careful planning and more importantly your IT supplier and CRM consultancy are likely to be working on skeleton staff over the Christmas break.

3. Don’t apply MS Office/Outlook Upgrades. Again, tempting, but most systems have plug-ins to work with MS Office/Outlook and these are often locally installed. You need also first check compatibility with your Customer Relationship Management software edition and your Helpdesk since this may affect all your users and they will be frustrated if this is not working from the off.

We have complied an eBook “Preparing your CRM for 2016” with an expanded checklist of 9 things to do and 5 things not to do for you to download!

So, if you are tempted, our advice is to be indulge in the mince pies instead and leave your CRM to have its own well earned festive break!

Free Preparing your CRM for 2016 eBook

by Charlie Barrett

8th December 2015