CRM Best Practices: Evaluating Your CRM Setup

When you first begin using a CRM platform (such as Zoho, Keap, Hubspot, or Salesforce), the ideas seems simple enough - get all of this information from my spreadsheet of contacts into one place.  Then you begin learning about all of the cool features such as email templates, workflows, and integrations with other software you use. Shiny object syndrome may hit you. We've all been victims to it before, so you're not alone. 

Over time, that shiny CRM platform becomes... well, a mess. And using it slowly shifts into the category of "tools I should use, but generally avoid." When you hit this point, it's time to evaluate. Either have someone else in the company take on this task or hire a third-party marketing consulting. As the primary user, it can be difficult to honestly evaluate your CRM. 

CRM Best Practices Guide

We've put together a series of articles that will walk you through how to evaluate your CRM. This is the first article in the series where we will focus on the setup of your platform. The next article will discuss your user best practices. And the third article will cover recurring maintenance for your growth and scalability.

 

Evaluating Your CRM Setup

1. Goals: What do you need from your CRM? 

Write down a list of your goals for the information that is needed from your CRM. A few examples may include: identifying hottest leads quickly, reports on open deals, activity tracking for customer retention, and tracking referrals. 

 

2. Customer Details: What do you know about your customers?

One of the key features of a CRM software is the fact that it's a robust contact database. When you initially set up your CRM, did you take into account of the important information you want to collect and report on? These are your custom fields, such as birthday, industry, buying behaviors, location details, and the health of the working relationship.

Entering this information into notes means you cannot necessarily pull reports on it, which reduces the quality of your database. When you want to better understand patterns in your customers, reports will help you to better define customer personas

 

3. Customer Journey: What are the most common steps for leads / prospects to take to get from stranger to loyal fan?

Your CRM strategy depends on what you need a CRM to do for the business. It also depends on how your business attains customers. Once you understand how to find and sell to customers, then you’ll naturally know what you need from a CRM strategy and software. Here are a few questions to answer to help you:

  • How do people find out about your business?
  • When are they ready to buy? And how do you know it?
  • What does it take to close deals and sell?

 

4. Process: Have you documented or diagrammed your workflow processes?

Beyond goals and customer information, one of the most crucial components of a successful CRM setup is understanding your workflow processes. The best way to tackle this task is to sketch out your workflows related to the CRM starting with your top priorities in each workflow. You must be able to communicate these essential processes to your team members who use the CRM. Consistent use of your CRM is vital to your success. Something great that can come from this step of evaluation are new ideas for your content marketing [See Also: Content Marketing Audit Template]. 

When we evaluate your CRM, we are looking for bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and redundancies in your CRM strategy and platform usage. We  look for the places where processes can be streamlined. Are there holes in your workflow? Are things falling between the cracks or not being addressed? 

 

Whether your business is large or small, a CRM platform is a valuable asset. The right software allows you to strengthen customer relationships, but CRM setup and usage is up to you - the business owner, sales director or marketing director. Before trying to hand off the setup of those tedious workflows to a technology partner, use this list to evaluate your CRM software. If you would like support with evaluating your CRM software setup, then you can contact us to get more information.


 

Continue to Article #2: CRM User Best Practices >