Customer Data is a Vital Startup Business Asset
You need to keep thorough and immaculate contact records.
But, certainly you already know this. Doesn’t everybody maintain accurate CRM information? Unfortunately, the focus on data quality gets lost in the relentlessly growing new business to-do list.
Are you ready to carve out some time for a contact-data overhaul? Is it time for your company to implement a CRM system that will grow with your business? The sooner, the better!
To begin, think about the information your company must glean from your contact data. Give special consideration to segmentation needs. How will you break you list into marketable groups? What data is needed to create micro-targeted campaigns? Set up effective marketing lead management processes. Create rules, definitions, and roles for all client-facing employees and consultants. Once you’ve defined your needs, you’re ready to consider a CRM solution.
1- Start with the end in mind.
- Who will rely on the information the data provides? This will give you an idea of licensing requirements, the functional groups to be managed, and how sophisticated the solution must be.
- What dashboard reports will be viewed on a regular basis? Wireframe the reports that each user or user group will require. This is the best way to ensure that you don’t overlook capturing even the smallest data detail.
- Working backwards, determine the data points you must collect to provide these critical insights.
2- Do your research. Now that you understand your requirements, find the best solution to meet these needs.
- Consider your workflow. Do not alter your processes to fit a software vendor’s capabilities. Instead, find a software solution that fits your workflow needs.
- Speak to colleagues. Find out their brand preferences. Ask about success and horror stories.
- Check with the experts. Gartner Magic Quadrant is an amazing resource, and they will most likely have a magic quadrant for the specific type of CRM in which you’re interested (look at the selections under “C”). There are so many other online resources. I personally like www.toptenreviews.com and www.softwareadvice.com.
3- Roll out your software solution in phases. Your users’ learning curve will be easier, and processes will hold up even as your workflow becomes more sophisticated. Segmentation ideas for a successful deployment plan are:
- By job function: Start with a department or job function, such as sales, and add marketing, product management, and finance roles as needed.
- By functionality: Begin with lead management, implement marketing campaign ROI, and product tracking procedures.
- By list segment: Initially maintain client information, adding leads, contacts, and other applicable groups to your system.
Follow these recommendations to design a CRM with conventions that deliver actionable data insights. Thoughtful planning now will provide ongoing returns as your business grows. What would you add?