Tag Archives: sugar crm

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.


The One Thing you MUST do Before Account Deduping

Duduping a CRM is like an equation waiting to be solved.  Just like a high school math, the more variables you know the values for, the easier the problem is to solve and the more likely you will come up with the correct answer.

CRMs include is a vast number of “Data Markers”.  These markers are a literal road map to filling in missing data.   For example, if 100% of the emails for a particular company have the email format of Firstname.Lastname@domain.com, then you can probably fill in missing emails for other contacts with confidence.  If you have the email domains for contacts, but the account record is lacking a website, that can be filled in too.

A company’s website address is a unique identifier.  It is more important than the company name.  Look at Peoplesoft as an example:  long after the company was acquired by Oracle, you could navigate to www.peoplesoft.com.  A few years later, it was totally absorbed…but the website did outlive the company.

Done properly, leveraging data markers within a CRM allows the properly trained consultant to pre-fill data for a more complete picture…BEFORE deduping.   In addition the data should be standardized (sometimes called Normalized) before the dedupe process is done.

If you take the correct measures of:  (1) data normalization and (2) data fill before deduping,  your dedupe process will be greatly improved.