You’ve taken the first step in the right direction by getting a CRM like Insightly onboard. If you want your sales team to get the most out of their CRM you need to make sure there are clear guidelines in place in the form of a CRM playbook. Not having a playbook which maps out clear guidelines for your CRM is a sure-fire way to CRM-failure, Gartner analyst Ilona Hansen said in a report that “The inability to develop, document, and execute a clear CRM strategy is a major, if not leading, cause of CRM failures.”  

By creating strong guidelines you’ll have a framework that will support your business objectives. It also helps with employee training and onboarding.

Your CRM playbook should cover three main facets:

Your CRM vision

This isn’t some hocus-pocus mystical look into the future, nor is it some corporate mumbo-jumbo that is said in meetings and then forgotten about. A CRM Vision tells everyone across your business what the purpose of the CRM is and what goals they are aiming for using the CRM.

In essence this step is about defining the importance of the CRM in business terms and ensuring that his vision is rolled out across your organization.

Your CRM Vision should be specific and actionable. Don’t use vague mission statements that are too abstract to apply to your day to day business.

You can take a couple of approaches to this:

  • Define key goals and objectives in terms of operational excellence, product leadership, or customer personalization.
  • Define by Tactical CRM which focuses on customer data to drive short-term profitability (for example by implementing cost-effective customer acquisition initiatives)

But most of all ask questions and create definitions that make sense to your business. Like how does your business define a lead? What information should be in your CRM? Who has access to the data in your CRM?

Now is also a great time to review unused features of your existing CRM, such as Insightly’s project management function. These extra features can help you and your team reimagine the CRM vision and how different teams across the company can work together by using CRM software.

However you define your vision, you must make is clear your CRM is not just a fancy tool that holds customer data, but it is a tool that is helping your teams reach a definite goal.

Your CRM Strategy

If you’ve been using a CRM for awhile, you probably know how messy the records can get inside the system. That’s why you need to come up with a CRM strategy that has simplicity and customer experience at its heart.

How does simplicity and customer experience go hand in hand? Well, imagine you’ve got a CRM full of customer data which you never delete or clean. You’ve probably got duplicate customer records of duplicate customer records, stagnating on a system that grows more difficult to use as they years pass by. Your outbound sales efforts are doubling up on the same work, marketing are blasting prospects with two or three of the same email because of murky data. What’s a business to do?

Simplify! Get rid of bad data and make it a high priority to only have clean, up to date data in your CRM. Your personalization efforts will be more successful because your data is clean and up to date.

You can start by eliminating duplicate data. Insightly CRM has a feature to prevent and merge duplicates.

You also need to enforce business-wide data entry standards. The key to maintaining a clean CRM database is uniform data entry. Make sure your team know the importance of correctly filling out required fields in your CRM, if a field is only partially filled out, then duplicate records can easily occur again. Insightly has required fields that your team need to fill out in order for a record to be saved.

Sometimes you need extra fields or tags to hold all the required information your teams need to succeed. If this is the case, make use of custom fields and custom tagging features, and make them required fields. This will ensure that essential information is uniformly represented with your CRM.

Your CRM as a Team Unifier

Another sticking point is when you’re using Insightly with other apps to help you run your business. If you’re using an accounting app, a marketing automation app and a VoIP app, you’ve got a lot of customer data floating around that needs to be consolidated so that your teams can get a 360° view on your prospects and customers.

But as Gartner analyst Jason Daigler noted “Creating, maintaining and leveraging a single view of the customer is hard to achieve internally.”

Some businesses try to consolidate this information by using import/export functions (which never really keeps data up to date), one-way data pushes (a duplicate breeding ground), or ad-hoc scripts their tech team dream up.

There is another solution, and that is by using a third-party data synchronization app, like PieSync, that connects your apps together and keeps them updated in real time with the latest prospect and customer data.

By synchronizing your data across your entire you SaaS stack, you’re unifying your teams and ensuring that everyone has access to the most correct, up to date, customer data, no matter which app they are using.

There are many more points to cover for the perfect CRM playbook, but hopefully these three are enough to get you started.

Vanessa Rombaut is the Content Manager at PieSync and a featured writer in various tech publications and websites. The PieSync Blog In the Pipeline has been named The Best Marketing Blog 2017.