Many people view CRM as a reporting tool. It’s how your bosses keep track of what it is you’re doing, right? Actually, business developers need to look at it differently. When used properly, it’s also a very valuable sales tool. It’s impossible to remember every aspect of a pursuit, and CRM makes sure you don’t drop the ball.
In this AAMplify! podcast, Danny Estrada, founder of E Squared, shares the benefits of having the right information at the right time, how to leverage data in the system and how to make updating the data part of your processes to avoid the garbage in, garbage out challenge.
Does the following scenario sound familiar? Marketing says they can’t bring you the right targets if they don’t know what you’re looking for while you, a business developer, claim that marketing is bringing you too many of the wrong targets. This situation exists in companies everywhere and is probably as old as CRM itself. Because of this, there is some level of data that you need to include in your CRM.
Determining What Data to Capture
Since multiple roles in an organization use the data in the system, Estrada encourages you to consider the $100 test. First, you identify the key data points you want to capture. You only have $100 you can put toward them so you can opt to $100 toward any one field, $4 on each of them or spread the money out however you want.
“Essentially, it’s about what’s most important to you and your key stakeholders,” Estrada said.
Not all firms have the same resources, so you need to look at the Golden Rule of Data – once something has been entered once, it shouldn’t have to be entered again.
Your marketing technology should have captured any digital leads. If that’s not the case, and a prospect is not in CRM, enter what you need to continue down the sales path.
“Marketing may have collected seven or eight data points,” Estrada said, “but all you need to know is the person’s phone number, email address, first and last name, and how to get a hold of them.”
Managing Your Next Steps
Where CRM adds a lot of value to the business developer is in terms of lists and what next step is needed. Effective use includes noting things like what you need to do next, who you need to go see and what information you’re still missing in order to price or propose.
“You are always looking for that next thing I need to do. As long as you log it, and you say when you need to have it by,” said Estrada, “good CRM systems will serve all these list up to you.”
When you log in, you can see what you need to do by when to plan your work and outreach accordingly.
Keeping Data Up-to-Date
“The information that you need to put into CRM generally isn’t a lot at any given point in time. If you wait, then it looks like a mountain,” said Estrada
This process can be facilitated if you have CRM access on your tablet and mobile device. Today, sales people are taking them into meetings and typing notes into the CRM in real time. Other technologies like speech-to-text allows sales people to record notes and to-dos as they leave a meeting so data entry is fast.
When it comes to partners and consultants entering data, it’s hard to force them to do it.
“It’s more like family than it is business. People won’t say the things that need to be said.” Estrada said. “People don’t adhere to process that made them successful to become a partner.”
Estrada suggests you write down your expectations so they become strategic. If you aren’t going to put the information in, your standard process may be to hand any contact info or business cards over to someone who will.
Utilize this Sales Tool
If your firm has CRM, then get the training you need to use it. If your firm doesn’t have CRM, there are free to low cost solutions you can investigate and use yourself.
The bottom line is that you need to track your leads and activity because it will help you be more successful. The information provided to others in the firm is an added benefit that can be used firm-wide to help everyone up their own game.
The Association for Accounting Marketing has a monthly podcast, AAMplify!, that covers a wide range of topics related to marketing and sales in a CPA firm. You can subscribe to the series via iTunes, Stitcher or YouTube.
About Katie Tolin
Katie Tolin is the president and chief growth guide at CPA Growth Guides. She’s a former in-house marketer having spent time at regional, super-regional and national accounting firms. Today she helps CPA firms drive top-line revenue and profitability through data-driven marketing strategies. She’s a past president of AAM, a former marketer of the year and was inducted into the Accounting Marketing Hall of Fame.