How can you get a big CRM payback?

Topic question: How can you make a CRM provide a big payback?

See term 2.5 Sales management from The GMs Index for relevant Approved Resources

The 3 unanimous lessons

  • A CRM definitely increases sales and margins in all sectors
  • Get compliance by making the CRM reports the basis of recognition and reward
  • Use the CRM to build customer-to-company relationships, not just to track sales


  • Nathan Bares
  • Susan Dineen
  • Bob DeVita
  • Patti Epstein
  • Kevin Hickman
  • Bryon Johnson
  • Tony Lawson
  • Bill Mitchell
  • Kristi Thering
  • Derrick Van Mell
  • Pete Vogel

Workgroup discussion questions

  1. What have been your biggest success or failure with a CRM?
  2. What’s your CRM’s most valuable output?
  3. How did you get people to enter information?

Selection, features and start-up

  • Degree of integration
  • There are CRM differences among sectors, sales cycles and for bid vs. negotiated sales
  • There’s a difference between simple lead-tracking and fully integrated CRMs
  • The CRM apps are improving, becoming simpler and sturdier
  • Training and acceptance can take a year. Contests and awards can help.
  • Take advantage of salespeople’s natural competitiveness
  • It must be ridiculously easy, particularly for inputting notes. Use a mobile app, reminders
  • Use only 3-4 reports
  • Be able to tag prospect by sector, stage and likelihood
  • Use a disciplined selection process (see 1 Applicationsfrom The GMs Index)

The sales manager’s perspective

  • A CRM is an excellent way to keep individuals from thinking the “own” the relationship
  • Getting contact information into a system protects against loss from manager succession
  • Sharing information helps build a culture of collaboration
  • Managing the pipeline: define sales stages and a few measures, such as conversion rates
  • Include influencers (including other prospects and customers) in the CRM
  • Using the CRM to inform sales meetings makes non-compliance obvious
  • Celebrate successes to highlight how the CRM helped individuals succeed

An integrated view

  • Being able to integrate all or most customer communication is essential
  • The CRM pipeline should integrate with operations and customer service flows
  • The R in CRM is Relationship, not just sales
  • While healthcare doesn’t have sales, electronic medical records and telehealth are analogous

Forecasting and analysis

  • Selecting the key reports and KPIs will keep the organization from drowning in a “data ocean”
  • Center members have used the CRM to forecast and stabilize sales over the year
  • Be sure to validate data with other system’s data (e.g., ERP, production reports)

The Workgroup set “analyzing success and failure” as the next topic.

Relevant Terms

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