Your CRM should be the hub for customer database software

One of the recurring themes that I tend to see during my consulting visits with clients is that they all end up striving for the same thing: to get a better view of their customers using the customer database software that they have.  One thing that surprises people is that it is fairly easy to integrate everything from across your organization into one single system.  There isn’t a lot of effort required, just some mapping of the data you have.

Do you have an accounting system?  That holds all of your customers’ financial details.  This could also be a billing system.

What about marketing automation tools or newsletters?  Wouldn’t it be nice to share with your salespeople exactly what their prospects are reading and visiting?

How about your help desk?  Wouldn’t it be nice for your salespeople to know that there are outstanding customer issues before picking up the phone to sell the customer something else?

Identify your customer database software systems

When you do an inventory of your systems you will be surprised that you actually had to do an inventory in the first place.  This is specifically for small businesses.  Who would have thought that so many systems can be so integral to your organization!  Now it’s your turn to take those systems and make use of them for understanding exactly who your customer really is.

Identify all of the systems in your organization and identify what key information you have on those customers into a spreadsheet.  If it relates to your customer in some form or another then utilize this to populate your spreadsheet.

What information do you have to work with

Now that you’ve identified the systems you have and the data you have to work with you need to decide how to use it.  If it’s financial information it might be worthwhile understanding how often your customers pay and maybe correlate that information right to the accounts payable person inside of your CRM.  You might even analyze to see when a trouble ticket or issue with a product or service is recorded as it pertains to product releases or updates.  There are many ways to view this information but you need to get a collective view of everything that you have to make better decisions.

Missing something?

More than likely you are probably missing pieces of information that you would really like to have to make better decisions on how to communicate to your customers.  Identify what these are and add them to your spreadsheet as a missing data point.

Store it all in one spot

That’s your CRM.  Use your CRM has the hub of customer information by bringing all of the information into one spot.  Your CRM should provide you with the tools to visualize all of the information in one spot and as well provide report tools to generate the information that you need to be successful.