Having spent much of New Year’s Day binge-watching the new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I am feeling inspired. But instead of re-organizing my sock drawer, I have resolved to take on a clutter-prone area of business life: customer relationship management (CRM).
In the spirit of self-improvement and sharing, here are 10 practical tips to help you tidy up your CRM system. I created these with Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement in mind, but most can be applied to other types of CRM systems as well. By removing mental and visual clutter in your CRM system, you will gain a better understanding of your business – who your true customers are, what they need, and how you can help them.
1. Begin With a Quiet Moment and a Vision
Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and remind yourself why you implemented your CRM system in the first place. How does your system serve you and your team?
2. Reconsider Your Customer Relationships – Do Your Customers “Spark Joy”?
You know who your favorites are. Personally reach out to them and let them know how much you enjoy working with them. Follow them on social media. Endorse them on LinkedIn. Strengthening your relationship with them won’t just feel good, it will also increase the likelihood of repeat business and referrals from them. Also, be willing to let go of customers who don’t spark joy. Consider the true cost of doing business with people who are difficult to work with – for yourself and for your team.
3. Acknowledge Former Customers
Take a look at customer purchase history. When was the last time a customer actually purchased something from you? If they haven’t purchased anything within the last 3 years, and there are no open opportunities for them…they are probably a former customer. Re-categorize them as such in your CRM system. (Deciding how much time since their last purchase is too long varies by industry.) In true Kondo style, say “thank you” aloud as you as you update their record. Recognize that they have helped you get where you are today.
4. Be Honest with Yourself about Your Opportunities and Leads
Think about what is “real” and worthy of your own and your team’s valuable time. If you keep pushing out the estimated close date for a sales opportunity in your weekly sales meetings, it is probably time to close it as lost and focus sales efforts elsewhere. Doing this will result in a more accurate sales pipeline. You can always reactivate the opportunity at a later date. If you’ve been reaching out to Leads consistently and still aren’t moving them forward in your sales process, perhaps it is time to disqualify them.
5. Update Contacts for Top Customers
Reach out to the primary contact in each of your top customer accounts and do a quick review of associated contacts. Deactivate contacts who have left the company and find out who has replaced them. Update job titles for people who have changed positions. Not only is this a courtesy, it can tune you into organizational changes and new business opportunities.
6. Eliminate Duplicate Records
Duplicate records make life confusing and difficult for everyone who uses your system. Utilize the duplicate detection tools built into CRM or consider using a 3rd party solution or service.
7. Deactivate Contacts and Leads with Undeliverable Email Addresses
If you use a marketing automation solution like ClickDimensions, review email delivery reports that identify recipients with hard bounces. If all you’ve got is a bad email address, and no phone number for someone, it is unlikely your relationship will develop any further. Stop marketing to them and improve your delivery rates.
8. Close Old Service Cases
If you have cases that have been stuck with status “Waiting for Details” or “On Hold” for more than a month, it is time to close them. Send a brief email to the customer and let them know that you’re closing their case. It’s possible they may have forgotten the issue was still open and will re-engage. Or you may learn that the issue resolved itself. Remind the customer that they can always reopen the case later if the need arises. Tidying up old cases will help you understand your true support team work load and allow you to balance accordingly.
9. Reduce Form Clutter
Remove form fields that are no longer being used. Use Advanced Find queries to analyze the data. Or try out the Attribute Usage Inspector utility in the XRM Toolbox; use it to identify which fields are being used in your system and to what extent. For example, if you’re only capturing a contact’s Spouse Name 2% of the time, chances are this information is of little or no value to your team.
10. Focus Your CRM Users’ Experience
Consider revising your CRM sitemap navigation to remove links to entities your organization does not use. Try out the default Dynamics 365 business apps, like the Sales Hub or the Customer Service Hub. If you’re feeling ambitious, use the app designer to create custom business apps specific to business roles and functions in your organization – you can do this without code! Your custom apps will help focus users on what is relevant for them to perform their daily tasks. Simplify their working experience and make life better.
Hopefully, there is something here that inspires you. Please contact Encore if you need help tackling any of these tips.
41 pages of step-by-step instructions for 6 different key tasks in Dynamics 365 CRM apps. Includes interactions with Power Apps and Power Automate!