How to maintain the structural integrity of your CRM
Architects are familiar with this kind of disappointment. They scrutinise how they can create a perfect living or working space for their customers with many limitations and a good design on their minds. After they create and construct a building of a high design value, everything fits perfectly into integral beauty and function. Once the architect hands off the building to its users and managers, things start to get out of hand gradually every day. After a couple of years, when the architect revisits his signature building, he is shocked to see that the essence and integrity of his design do not live there anymore as he intended. Some minuscule changes over time regarding the placement of objects and furniture, some unintended use of spaces, and changes in the flow of human traffic altered and deteriorated the perfectly balanced design at the very beginning.
It is the same with CRM design, implementation and use. When a Salesforce consultant delivers and hands over the project, things start to fall apart over time. CRM is a bunch of data fields and flows. Why not make minor changes to see the day and make the CRM fit how the users want to use it rather than vice versa?
Each CRM has a unique structural integrity to be maintained. When the admin tries to please the user case by case without considering preserving that integrity, CRM will run technically but implode functionally. For ordinary users and admins, it is nearly impossible to grasp the root cause and renovate the CRM.
Now, it is time to define the structural integrity of a CRM for better engagement and utilisation over time.
No distinctive criteria for different customer status
For example, when you start using opportunity for both leads and prospects, you will end up with a real mess. Different customer statuses are there for a reason. As a CRM admin and manager, you should be sure each user has a complete understanding of the differences between customer statuses. They should know the conditions and the right time to move a lead through the sales process.
If your CRM data comprises bad, unused or too big to handle amount of data, then it will derail itself over time. If you do not use or need some data, be sure to archive it. If there are frozen or dead accounts, filter them. Never let your data clog your CRM functionalities and use. Defend the accuracy of your data and ensure that they serve a purpose by keeping them.
Obsolete data fields
If you have 25 data fields on a screen and the users use 4 of them, you have two options: You better make your users fill them up or delete them. You can only get what you feed in your CRM, so you have only one viable option: Higher and better user engagement.
No alignment with field operations
If your CRM design can not keep up with real-time sales operations on the field, it will become obsolete. On the other hand, if some parts are missing on the field but present at the CRM, do align both. CRM design and sales operations should ideally fit like a glove.
No segmentation within accounts
Accounts can be a real mess so quickly without proper segmentation and labelling. Your partners, end customers, distributors, influencers, and other customer accounts should be sorted and labelled.
Free-floating sales activities, sales stages and customer info
Any data, action or decision should be linked to the proper sales process and stages. The sales process is the ultimate backbone of the CRM structure. When you move a lead through sales stages, customer data to collect, decisions to make, sales activities and any kind of guidance should change accordingly.
Not covering all sales stages
To maintain your CRM’s structural integrity, you have to cover all the sales stages within the scope of your CRM design. Managing your leads with CRM but shifting to another platform or tool to prepare your proposals is like driving a car with one wheel missing. To maximise your CRM utilisation, you should cover all sales-related activities and functions within your CRM scope.
Data is the blood of any CRM, so it should flow freely in real-time and be accurate at any second. Any lack of integration with other systems will block the overall efficiency and create unused data silos and undermine your whole system’s integrity.