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Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your CRM Technology Investment

Technology lays the foundation for success in CRM implementations but cannot deliver success on its own. CRM also requires both training and documentation to allow your teams to use and execute campaigns, the delivery of which should be the shared responsibility of your organization and your vendor / partners.

Sadly, today this type of training often involves a canned campaign management course leveraging a demo database plus a highly detailed, technical data dictionary developed for validation and sign-off, not something the day-to-day user can reference to actually help them use the solution.

Organizations who invest in CRM technologies should make the comparatively minimal investment needed to change this paradigm. It is vital for you to do what you can to both shorten your team’s learning curve and better position them for success. Here are the top 10 things to consider.

  1. Forget the demo database. Use your data – and your database – to train.
  2. Develop a real-life campaign as a class exercise that teaches both the campaign management tool and covers the full CRM database solution.
  3. Decompose this campaign into a series of easy-to-navigate steps to be presented as exercises that build in complexity over the course of the class. Use these steps to introduce campaign management capabilities in a logical order. Ideally the exercise should step through your organization’s campaign development, testing, sign-off, and launch processes sequentially as well.
  4. Use summarized, singly occurring segmentation attributes in your class campaign. B2B examples include industry, employee size, sales volume, and job function; B2C include gender, presence of children, and household income. Use this part of the class to teach the individual hierarchy and the most frequently used segmentation attributes (model scores would also be ideal here if available).
  5. Move on to related transactional data and more complex business rules only after the class is thoroughly grounded in the CM software and understands the fundamental marketing entities as defined in the database.
  6. Structure teams in class that align to your workflow business processes. Whether one team takes a campaign through from beginning to end or multiple teams hand off to one another throughout the development process, structure your in-class work teams to match your real-life business process.
  7. Deliver a truly user-friendly data dictionary: table name, attribute name, definition in everyday English and format with added examples for those that are not intuitively obvious (coded attributes, for example).  This suggestion does not require developing a second dictionary; these user-friendly columns can co-exist in the same Excel document that contains the technical data dictionary – Hide Columns is your friend!
  8. If your CM tool supports integrated documentation (e.g., hover over an attribute name to reveal a yellow sticky with documentation), use it! Build time and resources into your development plan to flesh out this too-often neglected feature.
  9. Record the course and make it available as a refresher as well as an introduction for new team members.
  10. Encourage collaboration across your users to share best practices, tips, and tricks.

The faster and more consistently your team can put the pieces together in their own minds, the faster and more significantly you will see the intended results and impact to your business.