Successful CRM Systems are Not Owned by One Person in Sales or Marketing

As a Solutions Consultant with an Enterprise sales background, I uniquely understand the organizational requirements to have clear, up-to-date, actionable sales data. Real sales data is critical for all departments to make proactive decisions. The fact remains, that for most companies, this is more of a dream than a reality. Too often, every department has its own silo of data. And siloed data is the number one reason that prevents companies from being proactive and agile and greatly reduces any chance of having a competitive advantage.

Companies that see their data as a competitive advantage have the ability to actively monitor their business and shift direction at a moment’s notice. A few years ago, I worked with start-up online golf education company. They were overwhelmed by the number of support issues they were receiving. Since they did not have a system in place, every support tech (about 8 to 10 of them) was responsible for keeping ‘his’ tickets in a spreadsheet; no sharing, no collaboration. Within a couple weeks, we had implemented SugarCRM and the support module. Within a week, the company understood what the deficits were to their processes. One week later, the website had been retooled and support videos were created to help users. Within a month, the number of tickets had been reduced by 80% and the support techs were reduced to 3 people. (FYI: Nobody was fired. The executive team was working Tier 1 support.)

One question/comment I frequently get is who enters the data? This question/comment often comes from a misunderstanding of the purpose of a CRM. The real answer is — you, you enter the data. Successful CRM systems are not owned by sales or marketing; successful systems are owned by the organization. For most companies, this starts with Marketing and Sales and then extends to the other departments. Sales and Marketing are responsible for building out the record with basic demographic data and potentially more strategic data such a SWOT analysis, detail contact information with roles and duties. Part of this detailed information may include customizations for a particular sales methodology.

Some companies require Sales to fill-in certain information before the Opportunity Sales Stage can be advanced while other companies maybe have a matrix that scores the opportunities so all opportunities can be compared to the same standard. Others have developed a more qualitative, scoring system allowing a user to grade or access milestone of the sales process (generally revolving around time, access, budget, need, fit). Many companies are incorporating the Customer Journey into their CRM system while others are incorporating the Customer Experience methodology.

But here is the key: Regardless of the data entered or who entered the data, the data needs to have a purpose, it must be actionable, it must contain value. If you want to sabotage a CRM implementation these two items:

1. Overabundance of required fields
2. Have worthless data.

Worthless data would be anything that is not going to be used for one purpose or another or data that has a short lifespan.

The beauty, power, and flexibility of SugarCRM is it gives you the flexibility and extensibility to do what you want to do. CRM is truly a living, breathing creature. The system you have today should not be the system you have tomorrow.

If you have any questions about SugarCRM or CRM questions in general, feel free to reach out to us.