Ok, so you’ve managed a successful CRM implementation, things are running smoothly, and you’re collecting a lot of new data. Thanks to a comprehensive CRM user training program, your employees understand that using CRM is to their advantage, it isn’t optional, and that any data not entered into the system “doesn’t really exist”.
So, all you have to do is sit back, and wait for the system to do its thing, right?
Not so much. CRM doesn’t do things simply by virtue of having it. CRM is a tool, and like any tool, it’s only useful if it’s used correctly. While this usefulness starts with inputting data, it certainly doesn’t end there.
After training, implementation, and input comes analysis. A good CRM training program will teach both managers and end users to analyze, interpret, and act on the data in your system.
The need for careful analysis is sometimes underemphasized during user training, and can lead to a misunderstanding of the role that CRM will play in improving your business processes.
A lot of CRM user training is focused on preparing users to correctly input data into the system. That’s good, considering that the end users will make up the front-lines of your data collection efforts. Making sure they know how to accurately collect and record information is essential to a successful CRM implementation.
Users need to know how to correctly and reliably enter information into the system with a high degree of accuracy. They also need to know how data is going to be formatted, to ensure consistency and avoid duplicate entries. All of these skills are critical to using CRM — but understanding the purpose and value of CRM requires additional effort from users.
While end users are training to use the system, managers and decision makers must be training to utilize the data collected by the system. Among other things, they need to know how to:
- Organize the data that’s most relevant to the business’ needs
- Understand the information presented to them
- Spot trends and changes in the data
- Present the data to other decision makers
- Act on the data in a beneficial manner
Having all of the information in the world won’t do you any good if nobody understands what it means, and what to do about it. To maximize the utility of the system, CRM user training needs to occur at all levels.
This isn’t a skill set that should exist solely within middle management. There will be disagreements over what things mean, and what actions should follow. When that happens, senior decision makers will be presented with information supporting each side. If they don’t understand what’s being presented to them, then major decisions could be made in a fog.
Why It’s Important
Mary in sales is making 100 calls a month more than her counterparts. This is leading to 6 new sales a month. Has Mary stumbled on a new paradigm for your sales process, or are other things falling by the wayside? Her counterpart, Tony, is making fewer calls and hasn’t shown a bump in sales. Is he using his time less effectively, or does he take a more balanced approach?
More sales are obviously good, but not if they come at the expense of existing clients. How do you know what these two salespeople are doing differently? How do you know which approach is preferable? CRM can give you the answers, but only if you ask it the right questions, and understand all of the different factors in its response.
The Power Of Understanding
The information that CRM provides is only as powerful as the decisions that are based on that information. Whether right or wrong, those decisions can have a large impact on your business. The better your analytics, and your understanding of them, the better your overall decisions will be.
At its most basic level, good CRM training teaches people how to use the interface and enter information correctly. To experience the full benefits of the system, your training program needs to go beyond the basics. Making the right choices based on your CRM data requires you to have managers and decision makers who understand that data in its broader context.