Love and the Clean CRM

Do you remember your first time?  I do.  How could I forget?  I was in love.  The anticipation of being alone,  just the two of us,  was something I had been thinking about for weeks.   When we all met our new team member,  it was like every sales rep in the company was distracted.  I couldn’t get any one-on-one time.  Finally a holiday approached and I planned to be in the office, long after everyone had left.  We would be alone.

The egg-nog was gone, the lights were dim and the office was empty.   I opened up my browser and we were alone.  Just the two of us: me and my salesforce.com

The first thing I noticed, my new love was unhappy.  We had transferred all our data from a old Siebel CRM.  My beautiful Salesforce was full of non-standard data and tons of duplicates.

So I took action.  Here are the steps I took:

1. Develop a Normalization Plan. 

(In the past I’ve called it a Data Plan), but the phrase has evolved.  A Normalization Plan is a set of standards for your data.  For example: for job titles, do you want them list verbose, such as “Vice President of Sales” or compact like “VP Sales”?  Removing extraneous spaces and punctuation is also something to decide upon.  Do you always go with “Incorporated” or “Inc”?

2. Normalize your CRM

Don’t even think about deduping your data before normalizing.  This is a mistake of the uniformed.  If a consultant wants to dive right in and dedupe, they are not skilled in the art of loving their CRM.

Dedupe without normalizing first is akin to putting underwear over your pants.

3. Pick your dupe matching rules

It’s got to be the right time and you must do some testing to make sure you’ve got it right.  Use one of the tools from RingLead that provides customizable dedupe logic to match your business requirements. RingLead is a pro at removing Salesforce Duplicates.

4. Dedupe

It’s not the first step, it’s the last.  When you really love your CRM you take care of everything else first.  At this point, you’ll have a plan, you’ll know about all the little nuances and dedupe will be natural and successful.

 

 

 

 

 

The Clean CRM and the Intervention vs. Automation Decision

Man vs machine

What and when to automate and when to intervene is one of the most far reaching decisions you will make on the journey to a clean CRM.  In fact, this automation vs. intervention decision quandary will impact all processes in your business.  Instead of an in-depth how-to-clean your CRM tutorial, I thought I’d share some simple axioms that I base my decisions on when bringing efficiency and automation to a process.

#1 Don’t confuse automation with efficiency

Efficiency is how fast and how cheap a process can be done. Automation is applying non-human processes into a system.  It is a subtle difference and that is why people get confused.   For example: lead assignment can be automated, but if it is being done poorly or incorrect, it is not efficient.  This is a natural lead in to #2.

#2.  Never automate an unsuccessful process.

People can make mistakes, but to really screw up you need a computer.  Make sure your processes work correctly, regardless of how fast.  Once you have your process down, then apply automation.

#3.  Automate a single process at a time.

There are exceptions and sometimes you can’t avoid doing a few things at once.  The reason for this is immutably tied to #4.

#4.  Measure what you automate.

Define what success is so that you can recognize it when it happens. When successful, automate something else and measure again.

#5  Complex systems are constantly redesigned

No one that I know can design a complex CRM system that stays 100% to the original design.  Why do major software implementations fail and go over budget?  Simple, the initial design did not encompass the complexities of the real world.   Balance design with diving in and checking your premises.   Be agile, be creative and get user feedback at critical milestones.