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Top Tips for CRM

With around a third of all CRM projects failing, it’s vital to understand what really contributes to the overall success of incorporating a new system into your organisation. The short answer is – your team. With these handy tips behind you, it’s time to get all departments approaching your Customer Relationship Management with a shared ethos.

Learn from your mistakes (or those of others)

Understanding why any previous CRM implementation within your organisation was unsuccessful will be the key to getting it right next time.

You could consider creating a focus group with all departments to identify usage pinch points and why the CRM fell down. Were the objectives for the system clear? Did the team understand the role they played in the success of the project? Was the team committed to the CRM effort? Was there a consensus of how the technology incorporated itself within the team?

Learning from this research will be vital in honing your approach, and with lack of buy-in cited as a common reason for unsuccessful projects, it’s also a great way to involve your team. If this is your first experience with CRM, don’t be put off by the fear that it could all go wrong. It may be worth asking your peers for advice or putting in some time to research common pitfalls using the questions above as a starting point.

Generate excitement

Establish a core group of CRM champions and involve them with implementation processes.

The CRM champions should become ‘super users’ of the system and be fully immersed in how the platform incorporates into various roles to achieve any necessary tasks that are required. Therefore, it’s important to utilise staff from multiple departments in order to get a well-rounded representation of your organisation and establish a system that works for everyone. Why not take a chance on a member of your team that has been negative in the past about CRM and get them involved in your champion initiative? Once involved in this process they may well prove to be a powerful asset in getting people on board.

It’s easy to think this process is more suited to smaller teams whose responsibilities cross departments regularly, but it actually comes with its own unique pitfalls. Remember that everyone should act as a CRM champion, and there is a greater responsibility to move forward if there is a shared understanding of the system.

Create a clear CRM strategy

You can spend a serious amount of money in getting a comprehensive CRM system into your organisation, but it’s more important to establish exactly why your team should be using it. A clear CRM strategy sets a vision for its use and provides tangible understanding of the overall benefits to your organisation. Your strategy should contain clear objectives and can be informed by all departments. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to set definitive KPIs and measure any success.

For example, if your goal was to encourage first-time bookers to attend a second event within one year of their first visit, you could set out the following actions:

  • Segment your database of first-time attendees yet to return to the venue
  • Set up customer categorisation/tagging to highlight these customers
  • Design a promotional offer which rewards re-attendance
  • Box Office to encourage newsletter sign-up to all first-time bookers
  • Create automated triggers which send a re-attendance campaign

Setting out your strategy will highlight to the team how their actions, big or small, will contribute to your organisation’s overall success.

Equip your team

Giving your team the right training and easy-to-use tools is vital. During your tender process, highlight the need for a clean and intuitive interface. Ensure that the narrative of the system flows well, and make sure there’s adequate support from the provider: these considerations will allow you to choose the software platform best-suited to your organisation.

Plan and roll out a training schedule throughout the implementation process and beyond. Be specific and tailor this for different departments, which will allow a deeper understanding of how the platform will support their role. Training material should be clear and easy, incorporating a mix of media to accommodate different learning styles.

Create a data input guideline, which breaks down how data should be entered into the system to keep it consistent across the organisation. Highlight key and essential information that must be captured and inform the team on how this information will be used, and why.

If possible, consider setting up a ‘sandbox’ environment where your staff can practice or experiment with the system. A sandbox system is typically a non-live mirrored version of your main system, where you and your team can try out new things without affecting your live data or customers. Many CRM providers offer either a personalised or generalised sandbox where you can let your staff practice with the tools outside your live system.

Keep the conversation going

Once implemented, senior members of the team can start to see those juicy stats coming in. Ask yourself: have we succeeded?

Your approach to CRM must include a continual review of its workings and the role it plays within your team. Adopting a new CRM strategy may result in a complete change in everyday practices for members of your team, and this can be a daunting prospect. Collate feedback and keep the conversation going in order to truly ascertain your success and improve.

It’s natural that some members of your team will take to a new CRM more readily than others. If you notice some users are struggling with the new system, consider buddying them up with a more confident  companion and encourage them to talk through areas where they’re having difficulties. Many less-technically minded individuals can become more confident with computer systems and flourish when  supported by their peers.

As with any data driven decisions, don’t be afraid to make changes to processes to improve results.

People, Process, Platform

‘People, Process, Platform; is one of many business buzz words, but it has become prevalent in software implementation. It can be easy to get carried away with fancy technology and how it can transform your services, but it’s vital to remember that it’s only as good as the people you have on board to deliver it.

What Next?

This article has shown how you can galvanise your team to improve the results of your CRM strategy. Don’t be part of the statistics that suggest CRM campaigns are doomed to failure: to learn more, you can read one of the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

Original article created in 2020. Author: Nick Kime. Article reviewed and updated on 1st April 2022.

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