CRM, what is it, what questions should I be asking and will it help my marketing and customer management.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools are common now, and not just a business tool for large corporates. Many organisations now have systems in place but those that don’t are still using spreadsheets and email contact lists. There are many potential problems with this approach;

  • Data corruption and multiple records
  • No record of contacts with customer
  • Missed opportunities for new business
  • GDPR?

Gone are the days where businesses need to invest huge amounts to buy a licence for a CRM system and now, good systems are accessible to all businesses, no matter what the size.

As a marketing professional, I have been involved in deploying CRM systems since they were first being developed in the early 1990’s, my experience has been from global publishing businesses to small charities turning over less than £500k. Initially, these systems came under the “marketing banner”, however we now see them as central to the business and typically, will be administered by IT teams with a significant input from many departments, including marketing.

What is key, is that for a business to maximise the return from a CRM system, it should cover all aspects of the business from sales and marketing, finance, production and operations. By building a single customer record, any person managing the customer can quickly and easily see all their activity and ensure the customer is well managed and the revenue potential from every customer is maximised.

For any business looking for their first CRM system, or who are looking to update their existing system, there are three key areas to consider when starting the process:

  • Firstly, have a CRM strategy. This will ensure that you have a clear understanding of what the business wants to achieve from the CRM and what the expectations are.
  • Data, before you implement a system, you must make sure that all data that will be imported into the system is up to date, de-duped and clean. Always remember the adage, bad data in bad data out.
  • People, to get the most from a CRM system all of your team have to be engaged and able to use the system effectively. Typically, when planning your project, a third of the resource allocation will need to go to a team engagement programme.

Whilst there are numerous other areas that need considering, in my opinion, these are the three major points and the areas that often get put down the list of priorities, only to have a massive impact on the project later on.

CRM systems, when up and running, are invaluable to marketing teams and enable campaigns to be built and launched to very focused group. They will allow you to cross sell and up sell more easily, increasing your overall turnover and reducing your cost per acquisition.

If you want to know more about maximising the returns from your CRM system get in touch or email me at