Are You Getting Value From Your CRM Reporting?
Like many mission-critical business software tools, a well-designed CRM system makes it easy for users to put data into the system. The greatest value, however, lies in the reporting you get out of it.
In too many CRM implementations, report generation is not accorded the importance it deserves. Enterprises focus on the ease of getting data into the system and take it on faith that the system’s numerous canned reports will provide everything the business needs.
This is a mistake. Every business is unique and needs different things from its CRM system. When the canned reports don’t provide quite what the business wants, the sales and marketing teams may turn, instead, to spreadsheets to analyze data and make decisions. This can happen even when the business owns a fancy, expensive CRM system.
Take a Critical Look at Your CRM Reporting Environment
An important step to receive maximum value from your CRM system is to examine your reporting environment—both the processes around reporting and the designs of the reports themselves. In particular, you should ask some questions around spreadsheet use:
- Do you use spreadsheets to create marketing segments?
- Do you use spreadsheets to gain insights into your sales pipeline?
- Do you use spreadsheets for sales forecasting?
- Do you use spreadsheets to present data and reports in team meetings?
If the answer to any of these is “Yes,” the obvious follow-up question is, “Why?”
If the answer is “This is the way it’s always been done,” then you want to find out whether your team really finds it easier to get what they need from spreadsheets, or can your CRM system provide this data?
Spreadsheets do have their uses, of course, and are quite good at analyzing data and presenting visual reports. The problem with spreadsheets, though, is that they can be corrupted by well-meaning users. Users can create incorrect formulas or choose inappropriate summary statistics. Spreadsheets also rely on the availability of up-to-date data, which can be difficult if you don’t have a well-defined and consistent process for extracting data from other sources.
Wean Yourself From Spreadsheets
It’s important to decrease your reliance on spreadsheets. This cannot be overstated. At Empellor CRM, one of our highest priorities is to examine the client’s use of spreadsheets, determine the root cause of that use, and use the CRM system’s native reporting capabilities to provide equal or better insights.
An important part of this process is to review the data captured in the CRM system. If the system is not capturing appropriate data for performing market segmentation (for example), we work with the client to add those fields and make it easy to capture that data. Doing so can provide important insights and enable real-time forecasting.
Another critical activity is to review the sales process to validate that the sales stages accurately reflect the buying processes of your customers. If they don’t, it’s time to re-think the sales process and reconfigure the CRM system to support that process.
Increase the Return on Your CRM Investment
Over the course of many client engagements, we at Empellor CRM have found that the causes of spreadsheet use fall into three broad categories:
- Inertia: The client has a well-established, spreadsheet-based process to perform various analyses of CRM data and never quite got around to reproducing it in their CRM system.
- CRM system: The system doesn’t have built-in analysis and reporting to support the client’s particular needs, and custom reports were not built as part of the CRM implementation. Sometimes, the built-in reports actually are sufficient, but the users were never trained on how to use them.
- Data: The client doesn’t trust the data in the CRM system and maintains a parallel, spreadsheet-based system.
In each of these cases, the client doesn’t receive maximum return on their CRM investment. Such clients not only throw money away but miss critical opportunities and insights that a well-designed CRM system can provide.
At Empellor CRM, we make sure that our clients get what they need from their CRM systems—and don’t need to fall back on spreadsheets. We can help you get out from under your spreadsheets and realize maximum value from your CRM system. Contact Empellor CRM today.
Contact Empellor CRM today to learn how we can help you analyze your CRM setup and align it with your business needs.