Your CRM data will be extinct if it’s not updated regularly

Customers have rapidly adopted Cloud ERP and CRM systems over the last decade. For example, NetSuite is a robust ERP system. More and more companies are also looking to NetSuite as their primary CRM system. With one system finance can see sales activity, sales can see marketing activity, AR can see communications between the customer and the sales team. Sales managers can track meetings by rep/customer, and so on. Other companies prefer to use one ERP and another CRM for a number of valid reasons. Whatever the case, it’s important to provide your end-users with a 360-degree view of the customer. If a CRM is not easy to use or integrated with other company Apps it’s just a matter of time before your data (and possibly your company) becomes extinct.

Why it’s important to make CRM easy

If a CRM system is not easy to use it won’t be adopted resulting in money wasted, stale data, and frustrated employees.

Keys to increasing adoption (and keeping your data current)

All too often a new system is rolled out with great fanfare. Employees attend mandatory training sessions and start using it with gusto but quickly fall back to old habits. The keys to keeping employees actively updating their CRM include:

  • Regularly scheduled reinforcement training, especially when new features are implemented
  • An on-boarding process for new users that includes training
  • It must be easy to use
  • Measurable results

Training and onboarding

Work with vendors that will be involved in training your end-users both initially and as needed.  Request to record these training sessions and include them in your onboarding process for new hires as well. When your vendor rolls out new features make sure they have a process to communicate them to you. At a minimum users should receive an email when Release Notes are published. Ideally, your vendor will also provide videos and a webinar to cover the new features.

Companies must have a process to document this information and include it in their own on-boarding and refresher training sessions. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendor to help with the refresher sessions. Most vendors will be happy to do this.

Make it easy and measurable

Your employees already don’t have enough time in the day. If you’re asking them to copy and paste emails from one system to another or to use something other than a best of breed calendar system like Google Calendar or Outlook your CRM system will quickly be a dinosaur with outdated data because it’s too cumbersome to use.

Make it easy to update CRM data directly from your inbox
  • You should be able to attach emails from your inbox to your CRM
  • If it’s not easy it won’t be used. We’re all guilty of seeing some content in an email that should be updated in the CRM. A perfect example would be learning that a Contact has a new job title or phone number. This usually happens via an email but if you need to open a new browser tab, login to your CRM, search for the Contact and then change the data it may never happen
  • The ideal email integration will allow you to update CRM records (such as Contacts) directly from the App with minimal effort
Put the power in the hands of your end-users
  • You’ve hired smart people. Empower your users to decide which email is important enough to attach to the CRM and make it possible with 1 to 2 clicks directly from Gmail or Outlook.
  • Do not settle for copying and pasting or having to switch between browser tabs. Choose a system that works directly in your email platform and auto-suggests records based on the email recipients.
Use your CRM’s native email feature sparingly
  • Many CRM systems allow for emails to be sent from it. Unfortunately, two things typically happen:
    • Every back/forth to the entire email thread is stored in your CRM system causing clutter and making it hard to find important emails. This will result in frustration and, over time, a lack of use.
    • The unique reply to email address (usually a long-hidden string) may get lost if an email is forwarded and subsequently replied to by someone else. Even worse, it could cause problems with spam filters.
  • As a best practice, we advise users of CRM systems like NetSuite to restrict the outbound emails to A/R and marketing campaigns. NetSuite, for example, has a tight integration that allows for invoices to be sent and there is generally not a lot of clutter from replies.
  • Never use a system that attempts to log every single email for every single user to your CRM. You will quickly regret the huge influx of information. If you’ve got a use case that requires this we’d love to hear about it.

Google and Microsoft have best of breed calendars. Most users will prefer to use a best of breed calendar rather than their CRM’s calendar system.

  • Associate your calendar events with specific records in your CRM. Doing so has many benefits:
    • Measurability – Sales managers can run reports by rep and by customer ultimately helping to find opportunities to improve. A report comparing revenue by Account Managers with the number of meetings held may help to find individuals that need added support or coaching.
    • Account Execs and Account Managers can quickly see a list of all past and future meetings directly on the Customer record
    • Don’t just associate events with Customers
      • Sales Reps working on large deals can associate them with Opportunities
      • Support Reps can associate them with Support Cases
      • AR can associate promise to pay emails with Invoices
      • etc.

Document Management

Your CRM may have it’s own document management system (DMS). Don’t assume storage space is free (or that a CRM’s DMS is easy to use or share with non-licensed users).

  • Storage fees – Most CRM systems charge customers for storing documents in their DMS.
  • Portability – If you ever decide to move to a new CRM your documents may not be accessible or will need to be exported and re-organized.
  • Ease of use – The best way to describe ease of use is with an example. CloudExtend’s Google Drive integration allows users to associate Google Drive folders with NetSuite records. A project manager may associate a folder with a NetSuite project record. From this point forward anyone with access to the Google Drive folders can add or update documents and they will automatically appear under the project record in NetSuite.

Stay on top of duplicates

Despite best efforts duplicates are bound to be introduced into your CRM. There should be one person (or team) dedicated to data integrity and they should schedule time weekly to manage the process.

  • Most CRM systems provide some tools to identify and merge duplicates (use them weekly)
  • Consider using a 3rd party tool such as Excel

Integrate your CRM with other SaaS apps used by your company

Not every company uses a system like NetSuite as both their ERP and CRM. Many companies will use a CRM like Salesforce to track sales activities. Successful companies realize that integrating the two can provide the 360-degree view needed, oftentimes in either system. If your company uses separate ERP and CRM systems a SmartConnector such as Celigo’s Salesforce and NetSuite SmartConnector is a must-have.

Choose vendors with track records and a path forward

When evaluating vendors ask to see their release notes. Products with consistent releases and new features are signs of a company listening to their customers. Ask your vendor about their roadmap as well. Some vendors may ask you to sign an NDA. This is a fair point as you may be receiving proprietary information. Ask for customer referrals as well. Quality vendors will have a number of customers willing and able to speak with prospects on their behalf.

Learn more

CloudExtend integrates NetSuite with Google G Suite, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Excel. We also integrate Microsoft Excel with Salesforce. Links to our website are provided below.

Contact us at [email protected]


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