Dear Santa

Well another year has passed and I thought that I would write to you again to let you know how we’re getting on with our new year’s resolutions from 2013. 

If you remember I wrote to you in desperation last year while I was having to clean up my Holiday Card list that had been printed out over 25 pages from my firm’s CRM system.  I promised you that I would never do that again and also promised that I would tackle the following:

  • To get commitment from my colleagues to support CRM
  • To make sure my colleagues share information with each other
  • To commit budget to maintaining our data

Well how did I do I bet you’re asking?  I’m sure you’re pretty fed up with kids asking you for stuff all the time whether or not they’ve been good or bad?   I feel the same way about some of my colleagues in my firm to be honest.

They’re always happy to complain that our CRM system is no good, but they’re not prepared to put in any effort to managing their contacts, they just seem to see it as an admin task that their secretaries or the “database team” need to manage for them.

Well things have been changing around here and I think we’ve been having some real success.  We started off by going back to basics and re-defining what it was we actually wanted our CRM system to do.   I think we were swayed by the “bells and whistles” that we were promised when we bought the software and didn’t really think what we were going to do beyond installing it.   So we ended up with a firm wide address book and a mechanism for “info-bombing” our clients with newsletters whether they wanted them or not. 

Our philosophy throughout this process was to keep things simple.  We decided that if we did the basics really well, we could get more sophisticated later on.

So we used last year’s Holiday Season to kick start a process of pruning our contacts based on whether anyone in the firm knew them or not, whether they had responded to anything we had ever sent them in the past and whether they were important to us or not, in terms of awarding or referring business. 

You know what, we pruned nearly 50% of the system.  And the great news is, that no-one really noticed.    Well to start with.  What they did notice was that when they asked the database team for ad-hoc reports, or for things that really mattered, because the team weren’t wasting their time in managing data that no-one cared about, they were actually able to run the reports and really quickly too.

As a result of our team spending their time on work that adds real value, we’ve started to see the level of engagement from our users increase.  They’re recording more activities, they’re tracking more business development meetings.  And you know why?  Because now they get something out of the system, they’re happy to put something in.  It’s really simple.

We’ve also seen a real increase in the number of contacts that are being shared as well.  With better data management processes in place, we have also been able to significantly improve the targeting of our communications.  We’ve actually been asking our clients what they want to hear from us and how they want to hear it.  As a result the performance of our key marketing lists have improved and our client feedback has got even better.

So Santa, this year I don’t think I’m asking you for too much at all.   I’d quite like an iPad please, as apparently now the CRM system is available “on the move” so rather than printing out my contacts, I can join the 21st Century and manage my own contacts on my mobile device. 

My secretary has actually reduced our stationery order of printer ink and paper for the first time in 15 years, now that I’m working electronically! 

So thanks for inspiring me to think again when it came to CRM.  And I promise I’m going to keep going.  My resolutions for next year are: 

  • To carry on maintaining high quality data that really helps us with our marketing and business development;
  • To constantly re-examine our strategy and make sure that we stay on target;
  • To carry on investing in our data, because along with our people it’s one of the most valuable assets we have.

Yours gratefully,

Brad

PS I’m sending back a somewhat tired and disheveled deduplication elf along with this letter, we have no need for him now!!  

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