Top 10 CRM Questions To Ask

| By: Steve Farnan

In today’s highly competitive market, you rarely see a successful sales strategy that isn’t backed by CRM. Sales presentation guru Patricia Fripp puts it like this.

“You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”

In my previous post, I laid out what I consider the top reasons for having a CRM. Now, let’s take a look at how to use a CRM correctly. These ten questions are designed to help you focus on implementing the best CRM practices for your organization.

1. What systems contain your CRM data?

Your CRM plays a critical role in every business process. That means systems serving all key departments should have on-demand access to CRM data.

2. Does your CRM integrate to all functions of your business?

If your CRM is to deliver company-wide benefits, it has to integrate company-wide functions—including sales, marketing, procurement, service, and finance. When integrating with multiple systems, it is important to assign ‘one source of truth'’ to handle any discrepancies.

3. What data do you store?

A CRM is much more than a handy place for contact names and numbers. Client preferences, attributes, and transactional data all make possible the kind of historical reviews and analysis that build sales and customer experience success.

4. Who enters data into your CRM?

If your CRM is to be cross functional, it make sense that data entry should be able to take place across business divisions—but with some restrictions.

5. What is your procedure for entering the data?

With many cross-division hands stirring the pot, thing could get messy. Create a clearly defined and controlled process for entering data.

6. What is your onboarding process for new customers?

Since your CRM is the place for accurate data, it’s the first stop for new customers. Onboarding data should include agreed-upon expectations for all parties and a record of turn-up services—the preparation between when the new client order arrives and service begins.

7. What is your offboarding process?

Easing a client gently and efficiently through offboarding can have a surprisingly positive impact on future relationships. Use your CRM to help ensure a smooth transition with documentation of client assets. Then move their data to the ‘re-prospect’ status—because they might need your services again someday.

8. Where do you store data on your own company?

Your CRM is a valuable central repository for ‘all things informative’—just as useful for categorizing and analyzing your own company data as that of your clients, vendors, and competitors.

9. How do you access and update your CRM data?

As we’ve talked about, with many users accessing and benefiting from CRM data, some security measures must be implemented to ensure integrity.

Consider specific definitions and restrictions for reading, entering, modifying, or deleting data.

10. Do you have CRM maintenance and archival routines in place?

Even the most carefully collected data won’t do you a bit of good if it’s lost. Put proper maintenance and archiving routines in place to ensure CRM productivity and longevity.

I hope this ‘top ten’ takes you a step closer toward using your CRM to push sales to the next level—and then some!

Watch for my final post in this series—4 common CRM mistakes and how to avoid them.