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Previous posts in this series have covered preparation for the journey, traveling from “No CRM Land” to “CRM Land” and how to bring your team along on the journey.  So here we are in the land of CRM.

Now that we are here, it is time to take a deeper look at the aspects of this journey that bring us the rest of the way to CRM Success. 

In this post we’ll focus on CRM’s role in managing contact information, tasks, reminders, and history. Utilizing CRM effectively on these fronts delivers clear and measurable benefits to the business. While there are some challenges to be aware of, this really is the easiest level of CRM utilization and will show value very quickly for most advisory practices.  

Managing contact information, tasks, reminders, and history are what we refer to as “Essential Functionality” for any CRM system. These are functions that are included in pretty much every CRM solution on the market today, and should be considered an absolute requirement.

  • Contact Management: The management of contact information, history tracking, managing relationships (households, contact linking, etc.), and extending the system to meet a practice’s unique needs.  
  • Activity Management: The creation, assignment, delegation, and escalation of tasks, calendar management, and reporting on this data. Integration with productivity tools such as email and telephony is also included.
  • 360° Client Management: Access to client financial information, alignment of teams to clients, and management of segmentation and service models. Reporting on this data is included.  

Contact Information & History

While moving contact information and history into a CRM system is not an overly complicated endeavor, changing the behavior of the team to continually update and add information can be.  The difficulty at this point of the implementation is very low, the follow-through is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. 

The reason this area is important (when used diligently) is simple, it allows you to store nuanced information about your clients in a way that ensures everyone who touches the client has access to the information. We are talking here about the details that make each client unique and that can be leveraged to deepen your relationship with them. Examples include hobbies, children and education.  

The payback of using this information is developing deeper personal relationships with clients by not forgetting important aspects of their lives.  

Tasks, To-Dos & Reminders

Tasks, to-dos and reminders are the proactive side of the equation. Here again, building these into the CRM system is at most a medium level of difficulty. Getting the users to abide by the expectations for entry and documented completion of these items is the more difficult task. Now that the users are on board and utilizing the contact info & history data we already discussed, the behavior change is less intense but certainly equally challenging. 

The value in committed utilization of these scheduling and reminder functions is eliminating the possibility of things being forgotten or falling through the cracks. Once entered, a task is always visible – so short of blatantly ignoring a reminder or intentionally choosing not to do it, the task will not be forgotten or lost in a sea of papers and notes.

Why Should You Care?

If your existing client data is contained in spreadsheets, Outlook, and people’s brains, this is the part of the journey where you will move from chaos to organization, which in turn prepares you to move further into a more scalable and effective practice.  

My advice is always to start with the essential functionality because that is what your staff will use 80% of the time. With that in place you can begin to move forward on to more advanced functionality. For more on the varying levels of utilization, take a look at our 5 levels of utilization series

In my next post our stop along the Journey to CRM Success will be a discussion about templates, checklists and workflows.