Recently I was sitting in a cigar lounge enjoying a conversation with a professional-looking couple in town from San Diego.  They had come to Green Bay to attend the Packers/Chargers game. Through billowing puffs of smoke, the question came up, as it typically does, “what do you do?” I replied with my standard, fifteen second answer, “I facilitate the adoption and implementation of CRM systems.” “I’ve heard of CRM,” he blurted, “that’s an electronic account list.”

I was aghast. I thought this guy was a professional. Surely he didn’t just say that CRM is an “electronic account list.” This man, a professional, or so I thought, turned out to be a CRM redneck. I was certain the next words out of his mouth were going to be “yuuuup,” and “get’r done.” All I thought about the rest of the evening was Jeff Foxworthy type jokes, except that instead of, “you might be a redneck,” jokes, they were “you might not understand CRM,” jokes.

You Might Not Understand CRMSo, here goes:

You might not understand CRM if …

  • You think CRM is just an electronic contact list
  • You have multiple departments/divisions on different CRM systems
  • Management and executive management don’t sign into the system on a regular basis
  • You still have spreadsheets tracking data about your customers
  • You have a monthly account summary emailed to you
  • You can go more than a few hours without using your CRM system
  • CRM is something you do, rather than a part of the process
  • You use CRM to stalk, rather than woo customers
  • Most of the fields on your opportunity form are required

Oh I could go on all day. And, I do realize they are not funny like Jeff Foxworthy’s redneck jokes. However, they may hit a soft spot with some of you.  You See, CRM systems, in their simplest form are enterprise-wide, exclusive, process-integrated sources for all data relating to your prospects and customers.  There are three key words in that definition of CRM systems:

  • Enterprise-Wide:  It is used by all departments and divisions
  • Exclusive: All information relating to your prospects and customers should be in CRM.  You should never have to look in another source for this data. It may be gathered in another source (invoices and orders, for example, are entered in your ERP system, but should be visible in your CRM system).
  • Process-integrated: Your CRM system should be a natural part of the flow of your business, not another thing to do.  I can’t tell you how many salespeople I know that do “CRM Fridays.”  They use Friday to catch up on all their CRM entry. This is because CRM is not a natural part of how they do business, and they see CRM as a task they must complete.

Let’s face it, you might not understand CRM if your employees have “CRM Fridays.”

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