Guest blog by Chris Rigatuso. Chris is Founder and Board Member at the Skyfollow Consulting Group. He earned his MBA from the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley), and lives in the Bay Area.
Your CRM data, is it the stairway to Heaven or Hell?
While we are still in the age of “big data”, it’s imperative to remember that small data sometimes contains huge potential and should not be overlooked, even for big decisions. CRM data for most companies is not big data, especially in the case of B2B start-ups. Yet CRM data is critical for B2B companies. It should represent faithfully all that is good (and bad) with your selling process, tactics, plans and strategy. If the CRM data does not represent these items truthfully, then it is useless, or worse – lethal.
CRM is not a panacea; it’s a blank slate for sales strategy and potential revenue growth.
CRM software is not a solution per se; it’s a tool that holds whatever your team puts into it. But the common CRM problems of accuracy, frequency of update, quality, and cleanliness of data, decision support, and fit with your sales process, markedly affect the success of all B2B companies.
CRM software capability allows you to define the rigor and discipline surrounding its usage, but only if you know how. Not every company owns up to those responsibilities. CRM software provides a flexible yet flat and empty relational database, which allows you to extend the data model, define its fields, and ascribe your own meaning and process. This delegates a lot of design decisions to the company using CRM. It also implies much effort evolving the CRM data model as your business changes. If you have your CRM integrated to an analytics system which gives you a holistic and continuous view of your process and current sales challenges, congratulations – but you are in the minority.
In short CRM software allows many things, and yet it requires nothing in terms of disciplined usage. And your data inside will reveal this. Your first goal for using CRM as a strategic weapon is to have CRM data accuracy and completeness. These are “table stakes” to enable insight and decision clarity for strategic impact. You need this because CRM must be a sales growth engine with continuous and accurate data as the foundation for confident decisions across departmental boundaries. External consultants focusing on fact-based analysis of your CRM data provide the neutral external perspective and catalyst you need to jumpstart necessary changes to your disciplined CRM usage, sales process, sales strategy and thus revenue growth.
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