It’s Halloween again and unless you have kids (or are a big kid yourself), you might not be too fussed about decorating your front door and garden with skulls, spiders, pumpkins and zombies. But it seems to be a tradition now – not just to be part of the festive mood, but also as an indication to little vampires, ghosts and witches out on the prowl that they are welcome to knock on your door and trick or treat. In theory, if you don’t have any spooky decorations around your house, they should leave you alone.
This got me thinking about a Halloween-themed blog around CRM. What horrible mistakes, oversights and bad practices can you put on display that would attract such monsters to knock on your door and wreak havoc with your way of doing business? Here are some ghoulish thoughts:
If you leave your measuring yardstick outside your business’s front door, you will attract the Measurement Monster, who, much like Cookie Monster, will gobble up any real signs of progress. This is because what you measure determines the results you get. So for example, if you record account review meetings you encourage sales people to do account reviews. If you record email campaigns you encourage marketing people to regularly communicate with customers. If you record open vs. closed customer service cases, you encourage support people to handle issues quickly and effectively.
How does this translate in practical terms? Well, CRM systems are perfect for measuring results! Meetings can easily be recorded in people’s diaries against customer and prospect records; reports can be generated to ascertain number of meetings, email campaigns, customer service cases and so on; CRM dashboards and indicators can be created for quick and easy overviews of what needs to be done.
So don’t leave the yardstick outside for the Measurement Monster to munch up. Bring it inside the business and use your CRM system to help you measure tangible results.
Even if you keep the Measurement Monster at bay, other little monsters will still come knocking on your business door if you leave the Target Pumpkin outside. This is because if you don’t have a target, then measurement is a waste of time. So unless you target, for example, 5 account reviews per month, you cannot say whether the person is doing what you want him/her to do.
CRM systems can help users achieve their targets – again, via dashboards and reports, but also by setting up alerts to remind them of where they are with their progress. Such business alerts are therefore great, not only for individual users, but also for the business as a whole as it will help ensure your milestones are on track.
So at this point, you may say “well, I’ve got the Measurement Monster and Target Pumpkin under control, it’s no big deal”. But what about the Outcome Zombie? Just recording the “thing” and measuring against a target is not the treat – that only happens when what you measure is an outcome from an activity. What this means is that your Outcome should be alive, organic, constantly monitored and actioned upon… otherwise it becomes just another zombie roaming around your business and not providing any real room for progress and development.
This thinking goes very much hand in hand with the ethos of any CRM solution. CRM systems should never be treated as machines that serve a stagnant, linear purpose. They should evolve over time as your business also adapts to internal and external changes. Use your CRM system to help you measure success and failures, target actions and goals, grow and develop on outcomes. Use your CRM system to keep those pesky business monsters, vampires and ghosts away!
PS If you’re really in a festive, Halloween mood, you may like to read my previous blogs: