“A CRM system is just a database,” said Gene Marks, author of “In God We Trust: Everyone Else Pays Cash” in his opening keynote presentation at Zoholics, the first ever U.S.-based Zoho user conference in Burlingame, California.
Marks kept harping that with all the technology advances there are in CRM, it all comes down to just being a database. How effective that CRM system works for you depends on how well you manage that database, said Marks. To breed a successful CRM system, you need to adhere to these five principles:
- Nothing should fall through the cracks: While you can have a million customized fields in any CRM database, what you really want it for is everything that requires follow up. If you keep good track on everything that’s pending and what desires your customers and potential customers have expressed, then you’ll always be on top of your audience and nothing will fall through the cracks.
- No one should look like a dope: CRM is a shared database. It’s your company’s collective intelligence about your customers for which everyone in your company can access. If managed correctly, whoever responds to a customer should be able to continue the dialogue from the last engagement without requiring the customer to repeat themselves.
“As long as that information is in the system, no one looks like a dope,” said Marks.
- Have an administrator on top of it: There’s a hidden cost to CRM and that’s the one person who needs to take ownership of the system.
- Make sure management buys into your CRM system: If they don’t, your system will fail. Guaranteed. Good CRM systems take work to do. They don’t just happen on their own.
- It’s all about reports: You need to know what comes out of your system. You judge your success with CRM on your ability to generate reports. When developing your CRM system set a goal of creating three reports within just a couple of months.