The top 3 mistakes made by newer CRM users

I remember the first time I got my own CRM system, nearly 10 years ago. It cost a few hundred dollars all in and it was actually a desktop app that synced to the cloud once a day for backup. It now seems kind of quaint, but, it helped me start my book of business that today has over 10,000 contacts in it. I can say that I’ve had a personal conversation with almost every single one of them. And that’s thanks for the most part, to good data management.

1. Not having a set sales methodology

I remember, when I was a kid in the late ’80s and early ’90s, my dad would come home from work at his consulting job and put a bunch of pieces of colored paper on the dining room table, and write on them in longhand. At the time, it looked kind of funny, my dad sitting at the table, playing with what looked like construction paper. I later learned that these papers were the famous “blue sheets,” “green sheets” and “gold sheets” from Miller Heiman’s Strategic Selling.

“What’s all this for?,” I asked him

“It’s so that when you’re selling, you don’t wing it,” he said.

I never knew that sales was a systemic process. Ten years later, I had learned this method, and I still use it today.

If you’re thinking of “winging it” with your new CRM, don’t. Two B2B sales methodology books that I recommend are Strategic Selling for the high-level sales details, and Insight Selling, for sales conversations.

2. Not routinely scrubbing your data

When I had my first CRM, I had about 2000 contacts in it. Even a small CRM like mine was degrading at nearly 2% per month, according to D&B. People change jobs, they change their names, and business data goes bad, fast.

That means that your squeaky-clean small CRM begins the year with 2000 accurate contacts, and ends it with only about 1569 clean contacts. If 22% of my potential customers were walking away every year, I’d invest a small amount of time into cleaning their data.

Data scrubbing

Ten years ago, it was ridiculously cost-prohibitive to scrub your CRM data. But today, you can use different online tools integrated with a CRM to verify that your customers’ data is always clean for little more than the price of a nice dinner, every month.

Today, you can remedy this problem by simply having an assistant spend one hour per week cleaning your data. Annual cost, including software would be about $30 per week. Is it worth $1560 per year to not lose 25% of your potential customers?

3. Not segmenting CRM data

In 2010, I remember the first time I sent out an email blast to my entire CRM. (As you may know, email marketing is one of the most high-ROI activities you can do).

I have never seen such a high opt-out rate. I really screwed up by emailing all 8000+ of my customers and partners the same message. From that day forward, I segmented my CRM into 10 different messaging segments. Here’s a few that I’ve used that might be easy ones for you to do.

Segment by function

Think “sales” or “marketing.”This type of segmentation can often be automated.

Segment by role

I’d segment this one two ways — junior-level folks and senior-level folks. Once you slice your CRM data in half, you can always dive deeper later.

Segment by geography

This is especially handy if you sell by territory or travel a lot. Can often be done fast by zip code sorting. If you’re planning on winning deals with your CRM, my advice is to divide and conquer.

For more information on choosing the right CRM for your business, download your free copy of our expert guide, ‘Choosing a Sales CRM’.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.