In today’s competitive marketplace, having a database of customer names, contact information, and purchase history isn’t enough. Sure, you may be able to sleep easier knowing your CRM collects the information you need to support and monitor client relationships, but is this enough to ensure your CRM is earning its keep? Are you certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your client-facing professionals are using your CRM to advance client relationships?
1. Could there be gaps and errors in my CRM data? That’s likely if your client-facing professionals are required to manually update the CRM with information such as contact activity and changes in relationships. Of course, the moment your team notices gaps and errors, they’re not going to trust the CRM system to give them the information they need to advance client relationships.
“The perceived quality of the data in any system directly correlates to the level of trust that users have in that system,” notes Ray Beste, partner with Sikich, a top 100 accounting firm. “With trust comes usage. Users need and want a system that is easy to access from any device, offers answers to their questions, and is consistent and accurate.”
However, when you add data automation to your CRM, information is updated automatically from all customer interactions, including emails and meeting notes. Furthermore, this information is continuously enriched from internal and external online sources. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to manually accomplish what CRM data automation does automatically. Consider the thoughts of Chuck Schaeffer, Editor at CRMSearch.com and CEO of Vantive Media, in his article, The Top Reasons CRM Fails:
“Staff productivity is enabled with technology, but not achieved with technology alone. Business process automation is the number one contributing factor to increased employee productivity,” he says. “Automation replaces manual activities, speeds business process cycles and incurs fewer errors. The increase in labor productivity allows staff to focus less time on entering and fixing data, and more time in using the data for improved actions and performance.”
2. Can my client-facing professionals easily understand and act on data my CRM collects? You can have all kinds of information about your marketplace, but if it takes a master’s in analytics to decipher it, it won’t get used. Consider the words of Kevin Kononenko, growth marketer for Databox, in his article, The Human Brain Can’t Decode Your Marketing KPI Spreadsheet. His wisdom is transferrable to any kind of situation where data must be interpreted:
“Regardless of whether your audience knows or not, their brains are quickly becoming overwhelmed by the wall of numbers on the screen. It is cognitively exhausting for them…” he points out. By adding relationship intelligence automation to your CRM, raw data, that could be perceived as overwhelming, is compiled into digests that allow your team to effortlessly attain a 360-degree view of their clients and their relationship with your organization. This includes:
- Transactional data
- Social contacts
- Behavioral information
With relationship analytics, data is compiled so that they will see, at a glance, key information to advance client relationships, identify when a relationship is at risk, and know precisely what to do to make it stronger.
3. Does my CRM deliver information when and where my team needs it, even if they never ask for it? When your client-facing professionals must log into a CRM system, then navigate through pages of data to get the data they need to move an important relationship forward, chances are they’re going to skip it.
“Users need and want a system that is easy to access from any device, offers answers to their questions, and is consistent and accurate,” notes Ray.
This is achieved when your CRM has relationship intelligence automation, because information is delivered directly to their Outlook inbox, or the platform they use most. In fact, the relationship intelligence automation system will notice when they have an important meeting coming up and will provide that information without them even requesting it. They can’t help but take advantage of the valuable information stored in your CRM.
“A CRM system makes sure nothing falls through the cracks and no one in your firm looks like a dope when the client calls in,” he points out. “…You know what people are doing with your clients and you ensure that your clients are being touched by your firm with good information… all of this strengthens relationships.”