We work with many professional services firms and recognise the techniques which have been adopted to ensure they maximise their return on investment for their CRM technology.

We’ll be presenting some of these ideas at our forthcoming free seminar in Toronto on Wednesday 6th June 2012, please click here if you would like to register to attend.

Here, we have documented a 5 step process for success.

1. Be Clear about what the CRM system is for

I should start by saying that there really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to CRM.  The most important thing is to be really clear what you want your CRM system to do for you.  This sounds straightforward but in fact many firms have not clearly defined what CRM is for, and as a result are unable to defend or promote it (as appropriate) to their internal users.  How can you use something if you don’t know what it’s for?

2. Remember less is more

Many firms tend to have far too much data in their CRM system and as a result end up with creating the data quality vicious circle – as shown below.    

My philosophy is focus on those contacts, clients and referrers that really make a difference to your business, your users are less likely to complain if you get that much right.

3.  Not everything belongs in the CRM system

The improvement in data integration technology means that the days when we have to sledgehammer everything into the CRM system are gone.  It’s important to explore other ways of achieving the same “one stop shop” goal.  I am increasingly working with firms for whom integration with their time and billing system has become an albatross around the data team’s neck and is in desperate need of re-evaluation.

4. “The times they are a-changing”

There are 2 critical developments which are changing the CRM game for good:

  • The evolution of social media, meaning that as marketers we have less control over those who choose to read and respond to our messages;
  • The changes in data privacy legislation, meaning that we have to take greater and greater care over the rights of the people with whom we wish to communicate;

Both of these issues mean that we can no longer “info-bomb” our contacts and customers, we have to be much more targeted about the people with whom we communicate.  How can we possibly be targeted when we have a database of 250,000 contacts?  The noise just gets in the way of decent marketing!

5. Choose a plan and then don’t stick to it

I’m all for trying to create certainty in an uncertain world, but the thing about trying to manage data is that it’s like herding cats (or nailing jelly to the wall if you’re a foodie and not a cat lover).  Things change all the time and therefore, whilst you need a baseline, clear targets and standards, you need to constantly re-evaluate your plan.  What’s right today may not be right tomorrow. 

If you’d like to know more about these topics and to hear some case studies of clients with whom we’ve worked to help them make more out of CRM, please contact us .

Or if you’re based in Canada and would like to come to our seminar in Toronto at 330pm on Wednesday 6th June 2012, then please click here to register online.