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Time is not just money, it's a factor in the efficiency of your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy.

Just think about it: You tell yourself Monday that you'll focus your efforts on chasing leads and learning new functions, then Wednesday comes around and you find yourself straying as more important workloads shift it from being a priority.

But ensuring you include CRM in your daily workload really should be one of your main priorities if you want to solve what we at Maximizer call the "productivity puzzle."

You might think you can catch back up with things out-of-hours, but the majority of the time it's the hours you dedicate to the system Monday through Friday that really count. After all, that's when everyone is in work mode and switched on to the same vision.

With that in mind, here are five ways you can have a more productive day with your CRM system—one for each day of the week.

Monday

Make it fun and competitive

No one feels especially motivated on a Monday. The realization that the weekend is no longer with us and five days of hard work lie ahead can prevent the get-up-and-go needed to have a successful day with your CRM.

So how about putting a rewards scheme in place to make things a little more interesting? Remember, salespeople are competitive by nature and enjoy the thrill of being No.1. Badges, leaderboards, and rewards can encourage staff to use the CRM more and return when they connect it with praise and recognition.

Tuesday

Capture leads with Web forms

Tuesday's focus is to get a strong call to action on your website and capture the leads from it. We're not talking about those weak "why not pick up the phone and give us a call" lines you see in the footer of almost every website, but something strong and compelling that distinguishes your business from the competition and forces that customer to get in contact.

If you don't already have a Web form on your site, get your developers to create one immediately and create some content such as a free downloadable article or whitepaper, maybe even a free trial—something that's going to appeal to the customer uniquely.

Next, ensure your CRM is syncing with the Web form and collating the entered information. A sophisticated CRM will be able to also automatically assign the contact to someone on your team, set an assignment task for that team member to follow up, and create an opportunity to track the new prospect in your sales process.

Wednesday

Get organized by grouping contacts

If midweek mayhem has set in and there simply don't seem to be enough hours in the day, it's time to get organized. You can easily transform your CRM and make it more efficient by ensuring all your contacts are grouped and categorized methodically.

Open a Word document or a spreadsheet, or simply note it down on paper and begin to identify the various groups, interests, categories, and general opportunities that exist within your current list of contacts. A well-organized database of contacts can help you to build stronger client relationships, increase your sales, and create an overall more productive strategy.

Mid-week motivator: Get senior-level executives on board and have them send out an email to say what they've recently noticed on the CRM. If execs are encouraging the use of the CRM, the staff is likely to use it as well in an effort to make a good impression.

Thursday

Implement a social CRM strategy

You might think you're home and dry with your CRM, whether it's bespoke or out of the box, because chances are you'll have spent a lot of time (and money) ensuring you have the perfect match for your business. Then social CRM comes along and threatens to make your system outmoded. Keep abreast with trends by adapting to them.

Thursday is your day to reinvent the wheel (or at least integrate social media with your CRM). Your first step is to begin collecting data. Social CRM is not possible without social media data, and most firms turn to listening initiatives for data sourcing and analysis. To feed data found in these initiatives, many vendors offer API integrations with some of the larger customer databases.

Testing an outbound pilot using social data is key. Reach out to your customers for sales, support, or marketing—informed by social data in the database. Start with a small, single campaign and recognize how your customers respond. You might identify only a small percentage of customers through their social profiles, although you can easily compile a virtual focus group and collect targeted feedback even with that small amount of information.

Remember, start small and you can scale your social CRM strategies without overwhelming yourself in data.

Friday

Have an end-of-week feedback session

It's important to monitor your CRM strategy so that you can recognize which areas are naturally more successful than others and which are flailing. Invite your CRM provider to one of your team meetings and open the floor so the sales team (and anyone else who uses the system) can critique it. More staff will get behind it if they believe they are being listened to. And if there are still features that need to be ironed out, invest in the necessary training.

Friday is also a good day to look to the next week and plan to get other staff on board. Rolling out your CRM in phases will help with its gradual success.

End of week exports: Remember, most CRM systems will enable you to easily export your data for further processing, so if you need to send a customer list to a coworker, you can easily do so. Saving and backing up either via conventional spreadsheets or on the Cloud is an efficient way of making things more secure and convenient for everyone.

Out-of-Hours Observations

In the evenings or at the weekends, check out your coworkers' schedules (especially the sales team) for the upcoming weeks so that you know where they are and what they're doing. If you're more aware of their movements, you're more able to encourage them to log leads when they're out networking or to take a look at the CRM when they're back in the office.

Continue reading "Five Days to a More Focused CRM Strategy" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anita Holley is head of marketing at Maximizer Software, EMEA. She is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of a diverse portfolio of marketing tactics.