In a CRM system, there are certain types of records that invariably go through some sort of status change. “Lifecycle records”, as we’ve coined them, are records that should eventually have some sort of disposition or resolution.
What happens if a disposition or resolution never occurs for lifecycle records? The records become immortal. They clog CRM views and reports with meaningless information.
Periodically, these records should be exposed and then have an appropriate disposition applied to them.
Here are some examples of immortal records:
In general, scheduled tasks should always end up with a disposition of “Completed”. Many CRM sales users schedule initial calls and schedule follow up tasks that never get accomplished. Unfortunately, a status field entry of “Never got around to it” is not normally part of a set of pick list values.
Immortal tasks can result when users schedule calls to low scoring leads. They can also occur if tasks are automatically scheduled for users. Eventually, these permanently open tasks should be bulk deleted.
A successful inbound marketing strategy results in a lot more new leads getting fed into a CRM system. However, if leads are not properly filtered based on lead scoring criteria, a large number of immortal, permanently “open” leads can result. This is an area where preventative measures can be taken.
One preventative measure is to not allow certain leads to enter the CRM database to begin with. For example, if you don’t sell your products or services into countries such as India or Nigeria, leads from those countries should not enter your CRM database. Leads with low scores, due to specific firmographic information, can also be blocked from ever getting into your CRM system.
Opportunities created by salespeople should ultimately be marked as won or lost. There’s not a lot of gray area when it comes to opportunity outcome.
What can result in a large number of immortal opportunities is the “hope springs eternal” approach of leaving opportunities open for years and periodically advancing the close date by six or more months. While salesperson optimism should be applauded on some levels, at some point, immortal opportunities should be marked as lost. If the prospect comes back around, a new opportunity can always be created.
If a customer submits an issue, this issue should, at some point (hopefully before long) be marked as resolved. If an issue is unresolvable, then the case should still be closed and tagged as such.
Immortal records in any area of the CRM database can be revealed through the use of reports. For example, a report can be designed that displays all leads that were created before July 1, 2013 and that have a status of “new” or “open”. These records can be addressed individually, or they can be disqualified in bulk.