I recently read how over 80% of businesses now have a customer relationship management system in place. Whether this system is Salesforce, SugarCRM, Zoho or any other countless CRM products out there, businesses are getting it that they need a tracking system in their organization. This has created a new challenge for organizations like ours. It isn’t all about implementing a new CRM for a company but rather helping them increase the effectiveness of the system.

That leads me to this. Why did you get a CRM?

This isn’t a scientific answer from me but from conversations, the answer is because everybody else was getting a CRM. There usually isn’t too much research or thought put into the idea of implementing the CRM other than just get one for the sales. There is so much more you can do with CRM though.

I’m finishing off a written book by Peter Shankman and one of his examples of the use of CRM was in a restaurant. When people are flying into Seattle Seatac airport, a local restaurant will tweet out to anybody who is tweeting “landed”. They simply invite them in for a free drink and track that information into their CRM so that if they can’t make it that time around, they will at least be in the CRM so when they book that reservation next time, they get a free drink. This is customer service tracking, not just selling.

Another example is using the CRM to collect information about your existing clients, not just selling to them. We have several clients that will send out survey requests to customers after they have completed an event. The survey data is automatically captured back into the CRM. This allows them to better understand who their customers are and what marketing messages (or offers) to deliver to them.

For our company, Eligeo, we use our CRM for a lot. We track our timesheets, generate client reports, track all customer requests and of course do all of the normal CRM stuff like prospecting, marketing, accounts management and activity management.

The question here is why did you get a CRM? The three examples above are purposeful examples but I’m seeing a lot of businesses being challenged to find the purpose to a CRM in their organization. To get the most value of out a CRM, you can start with the “why”.