Test your CRM management and administration IQ

The story's as old as system administration: Some parts of the job are straightforward and risk-free, but other tasks are fraught with high error rates and nasty consequences.

Think back to the infamous rm rf * command that erased most of Toy Story 2 before it ever made it out of Pixar. Or go further in time to the Bell Labs study of UNIX users' made mistakes with shell scripts. The vast majority of the mistakes involved the IF statement.

Think things have changed that much with today's all-GUI, all-the-time model of system management?

8 Common CRM Management Issues

I've been tracking the errors my clients and my own people make when managing CRM systems. An amazing number of CRM mistakes fall into just a few categories.

Here they are, in no particular order, along with a set of "IQ test" questions you can ask your team to reduce the likelihood that errors surface in the first place.

How-to: Avoid 3 CRM User Identity Mistakes

The 12 Places CRM Management Issues Appear

Now, where do these issues show up most frequently, and where do they cause the most glaring problems? In amusing places, it turns out:

Teach Your Children Well; Employees, Too

If some of these issues sound familiar, your administrators may need to brush up on Nos. 1 through 3 in the first list. Nos. 4 through 8 are the more interesting problems. Some seem to be only partially "teachable," as they're tightly related to math and logic aptitude. I've seen the same weaknesses show up in Excel formula writing - particularly involving compound Booleans, VLOOKUPs, and pivot tables- so skills in these areas might be improved by taking an advanced Excel course.

Commentary: Why CRM Implementation Needs Training Wheels, Not Racing Gear

If these math and logic skills aren't strong enough in the adult world of sys admins, then what can we tell our kids to do in high school or college? It's not like a trigonometry or chemistry course is going to help much. Probability and statistics? Sure. Accounting, algebra and analysis? Absolutely.

But the core skills are going to be most directly developed in business classes that use spreadsheets and databases extensively. If the courses require the development of macros that teach elements of programming, that's even better. As these classes are available at nominal cost in most community colleges, they're "within reach" for most young adults, even those attending night school.

David Taber is the author of the Prentice Hall book, " Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel and India. Taber has more than 25 years of experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.

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Read more about customer relationship management (crm) in CIO's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Drilldown.

This story, "Test your CRM management and administration IQ" was originally published by CIO.

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