A few weeks ago, when I saw that LinkedIn had announced its “Contacts” services I got VERY excited. My first thought was:
“Can I finally do away with my CRM?”
A smarter way to keep in touch. Apparently.
Sadly, the answer is no 😦 LinkedIn Contacts is not going to solve my number one database marketing problem, which is keeping my data current.
I want my contacts automatically updated within my CRM every time they move companies, they change job titles or even change departments.
Looking to LinkedIn for a solution is entirely logical because the site hosts all of this information (I do realise there are likely regulations on how much of it they are allowed to freely share). Quite a few CRM companies boast LinkedIn integration (Salesforce has probably gotten the furthest with it, but even the Salesforce/LinkedIn integration (featured on the LinkedIn website actually) doesn’t seem to have specifically what I want).
Enter LinkedIn Contacts and I wonder if my CRM-related prayers had been answered. Alas, no. For the reasons I’ll list below, LinkedIn Contacts is not going to solve my dated data problem any better than the so-called LinkedIn integration features many of the CRM companies offer. In fact, having not even yet used LinkedIn contacts (I am on the waiting list) I can tell you that it while it will be a freelance/contractor’s dream, it won’t actually help companies that much. More…
I’d suggest asking for a 1-2 month free trial of your preferred CRM system before making any sort of licence purchase. This will allow you to run use cases and ensure the CRM works to meet all the needs of your organisation.
The most important question of all: Does your infrastructure ensure your data responds to search criteria?
Configuring your CRM data infrastructure (and indeed, the data itself) properly is critical to effective database marketing. If you do it properly, you’ll be able to run reports or queries within the CRM that bring back relevant data which you can use to form contact lists for specific, targeted marketing campaigns.
Here are ten questions to consider when looking at the data you have, and the infrastructure you’ll create within your CRM to house and access that data:
1. Do you have a variety of products? Are some prospects/customers focused on particular products? If so, it’s essential that you consider products at the company level within your CRM infrastructure because companies may opt out of your digital marketing efforts if they are receiving marketing that is focused on products that do not concern them. Addressing this may be ask simple as featuring a dropdown against companies that lists all products (so that you can select and report on the products relevant to that company). You should also be considering whether your CRM has the ability to More…
By selecting and implementing several CRM systems for companies over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. My intention with this series is not to promote or recommend any specific CRM system, but simply to lay out what I feel are the logical questions, steps and tips that I hope will make your CRM selection and implementation successful.
As is not likely a surprise, many of these steps were learned the hard way!
Take a minute and answer the ten questions in the list below, and share them with the relevant people in your organisation. You may be suprised with the conversation that is generated.
10 Important Questions
1. Which parts of the business are set to use the CRM? Is it just sales and marketing, or will support staff be using the CRM to manage support and customer service requests and bug fixes?
2. Does the business use (or has it ever used) a CRM system?
3. (a) If yes: why is the business looking to change the CRM system, or, why did the business stop using the CRM system? More…