Friday, 9 May 2014

Partner Blog Post: How to Effectively Administrate Your CRM

Just because you’re a small business owner, it doesn’t mean you have small goals. In fact, many small businesses have colossal goals. All large companies started out small, so why is your business any different?

A CRM makes it easier for small business owners to achieve big goals. However, as any business owner will tell you, your CRM doesn’t magically build itself. Even if you have picked a CRM that is easy to use, getting the maximum value from your CRM takes a combination of skill sets. There's big-picture planning, content writing, technical inputs, list management, and data analysis - to name a few. You can either do it all yourself (and hope for the best), delegate internally, or hire people to make up for your busy schedule and/or lack of know-how.

In this article, I'll offer tips for breaking up your CRM admin into digestible chunks - and how to staff up without breaking the bank.

Why Do You Use a CRM in the First Place?
Stop and think about why you implemented your CRM in the first place. You likely were hoping to achieve one or more of the following:

•    Close More Deals – Improve your tracking processes and increase the probability of closing more business.
•    Improve Customer Relations – What does CRM stand for in the first place?
•    Increase Efficiency, Decrease Oversights – Using spreadsheets, email or notes to track deals is inefficient and prone to errors.
•    Achieve More Goals – The name of the game is to close more deals with less effort. CRMs are designed precisely for that.

Everything you do with your CRM should align with these goals. However, if you’re a one-person shop, you may not have the time or know-how accomplish everything in your CRM. Sure, many CRMs targeted towards small businesses are intuitive and easy to use, but, intuitive still doesn’t add more hours to your already busy schedule.

What Skills Are Necessary to Maximize Value from Your CRM?
Many CRMs offer a free package to start with and then offer premium plans for a fee.  This is great because you can upgrade to more features when your revenue stream justifies the expense. But even if you’re on the free plan, there could be a ton of advanced functionality you may be missing out on simply because you’re too busy to set it up (for example, opportunities, customizing your pipelines, and tags). How much business are you losing because of this?

Let’s imagine for a moment that you did have more time to dedicate. Here are the skills you’d probably need to have on-staff (or in your head):
•    General overall architect – Someone who can see the big picture and help determine the ideal structure or layout for your CRM.
•    Callers - Who will be making outbound calls? Only You?  Sales reps?  Managers?  Customer Service reps?
•    Assistants – Who will follow up - set follow up tasks, follow up events and in general make sure nothing slips through the cracks?
•    Technical resources – Data mapping and importing, pipeline configuration, and report customization are just a few of the more advanced or technical aspects of using a CRM.  (Depending on capabilities, the general architect may also be able to help here.)
•    Copywriters – If you're sending mass emails out from your CRM, are your current sales emails converting? If not, perhaps it may be time to either rework the content internally, or bring in an expert to tweak the verbage.

You might be saying to yourself, “Sure, I’d love to extract even more value from my CRM. But I don’t have the time, and we certainly don’t have the budget to hire someone to manage this for us.”

How to Staff Up Quickly (Without Breaking the Bank)
In a nutshell, here’s a framework for staffing up with outsourced CRM experts who are both affordable and experienced.

1.    Assess your needs – 20 minutes – Download this free outsourcing guide to assess your company’s needs.
2.    Sign up for a free outsourcing account with oDesk or Elance – 10 minutes
3.    Post a job for free – 15 minutes
4.    Drill down and find a specialist or two – 30 minutes
5.    Interview the applicant(s) – 1 to 2 hours – Most virtual interviews are done via Skype, Google Hangouts, or phone.
6.    Set an hourly max or budget and make the hire – 10 minutes

Now, of course when making any hiring decisions, there are a lot of factors you need to take into consideration. If you do decide to outsource a portion of your CRM administration, you may find these free outsourcing resources useful.

Get More from Your CRM

You use a CRM because you desire to achieve more goals for your business. Isn’t it time you thought about building scalability from your CRM? If so, outsourcing some or all of your CRM administration may be a wise decision for your business.

About the Author:  Matt Keener is a marketing professional, specializing in marketing strategy and efficient, cost effective outsourcing best practices.

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