January 28, 2013, 11:12 AM — Getting beyond the basics of using CRM-- tracking the evolution of the customer relationship--means using the system to improve time management close rates and customer satisfaction. In the real world, that means playing the probabilities and using the system to prioritize your team's efforts.
A wide range of business decisions in marketing, sales, services and even engineering should be guided with inferences from CRM data:
Which social network or advertising medium is going to have the best yield?
Which leads should be sent directly to reps, and which should be held back for nurturing?
Which prospect deserves an on-site sales call or a pre-sales engineer?
Which sales territory should get that loaner equipment for a demo?
Which deal is worth the investment of a proof of concept?
Which deals will close this quarter, and which will get pushed out?
Which customer is most at risk of cancelling?
Which features and bugs will have the biggest payoff?
Which customers are most likely to buy again...and when?
We all have to make these decisions with incomplete information. Even the Harvard Business School characterizes management success as the ability to make better bets.
You don't have to have a fancy MBA to increase your odds--but you do need to have a better way of knowing the score. (Before we start, though, it's important to understand that there's no single score: There's a different score for each CRM use-case, and the scores should be changing on a monthly, if not weekly or even daily, basis.)
First Quarter: Using CRM for Pre-Pipeline Scoring
Lead prioritization (which leads need to be worked right now)
Routing (whether the lead should be handled by the inside development team, inside sales or the field)
Nurturing (which vertical marketing campaigns it should be part of)
Qualification (which leads have matured to MQL status).