There are a LOT of big customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions out there. You’ve got Salesforce, Apptivo, Zoho, Pipedrive, and more. They’re a dime a dozen these days, and they’ve got so many bells and whistles that chances are, they’re capable of doing what you ask of a competent CRM. Is there a dedicated document library? Does it integrate with email providers? Can it generate custom reports? Does it track emails? Does it come with 24-hour support?

Am I going to bang my head against my desk trying to figure this all out?

Well, that last question might be a big indicator of the real issue – you. Sure, you’ll dig the sales pitch, the program looks great and it dazzles you with its capabilities – but all of the fancy knick-knacks might be a bit too much. It’s another thing to learn – and who wants to do that? You’ve got work to do!

“Uh…yeah. Looks great. But what button do I push to look at my leads?”

 

There are plenty of CRMs out there, and they all have one thing in common – there’s a bit of a learning curve involved. In our opinion, the key to success is focusing on the data that is key to your success. With the proper data and analytics, your sales forecasting is going to be a lot more accurate.

 

Knowledge is Power – But Only if You Use It

A good CRM only functions as well as the people working with it. That’s why if you really want the CRM to work and become a key factor in the success of your business, you need to make sure yourself and your employees/coworkers are well-educated with the functionality of the CRM.

To be more specific – make sure they’re well-versed in exactly what’s going on in the pipeline and what needs to be done to close the deal. A CRM can tell you a lot of things; but if it’s not being used properly in applying the data it’s gathering, there’s no point in having it.

 

Assign the Role of Gatekeeper

So you’ve got the software. Everyone is encouraged/required to use it. How can you make it truly powerful and worth the money you’ve put into it? Assign an administrative role – give someone the role of gatekeeper for the almighty CRM.

Look at Heimdall of Asgard (from the Thor comics and movies, if you’re not familiar). This guy has been tasked with being the ultimate Gatekeeper of all of Asgard. Anyone coming in or going out must pass through him first. He is the master of the bridge to other worlds. If you have a solid CRM, you want an administrator who takes their job as seriously as this dude does. Make the CRM your administrator’s Asgard. It is theirs to protect. They will ensure its success and survival – and they will whip the team into shape if that’s what it takes.

Heimdall, the Gatekeeper to Asgard (from the movie Thor, 2011).

 

Make it a Team Effort

Don’t shy away from the idea of getting the clan together for a monthly review. Encourage your team to explore the CRM and make full use of the literature provided by the creator. A CRM definitely has the capacity to be a lame data-entry program if you treat it as such. Watch tutorial videos together, familiarize yourself with the software and own it. Make it yours.

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