Being a consultant in the CRM space for over two decades, I worked for many customer implementations from multiple industries with varied sizes.
A key question that often comes my way is ‘How we bring improvement to some or all aspects of CRM?’
If I get downright to ‘Why CRM?’ the answer is confirmed to only two processes, Customer Relationship Management helps in acquiring and retaining customers – Customer Acquisition and Customer Retention. Marketing and sales processes predominantly manage customer acquisition while the retention part is taken care of by the services and sales processes (upsell).
The fundamental and underlying processes that are present in both acquisition and retention include Account Management (Hunting and Farming) and Contact Relationship Management (Simple acquaintance to a brand promoter).
Customer acquisition and retention are equally important to understand business performance, but before we dig deep into these metrics, you might as well want to know why do they matter in the first place? This article covers these two aspects from a B2B context. So, let’s start addressing why it is critical to measure these key metrics.
Measuring the key metrics:
Growing up, I remember reading about ‘Success,’ and this line intrigued me and stayed with me even today. It’s a simple but effective one. To become successful, you’ve got to travel through two phases,
- The first phase is to define what you want and set a plan to reach there – Setting goal and plan
- The second phase is all about implementing what you’ve planned – Implementing the plan
The first part is probably more important than the second one because once you chose a wrong goal, even if you sketch out a great plan and reach your destination, you may not relish your success.
Implementing your plan is often the tough part and involves acquiring the right skills and competencies required to execute the plan and also involves a lot of determination and perseverance to overcome many obstacles. Likewise, measuring the key metrics help you understand where you are at and what you should do to reach where you want to be.
As businesses continue to invest in CRM initiatives, the goal is often to improve customer/prospect facing aspects of their business. If you have the required metrics in place, you can easily identify the main elements of the business plan to measure and improve.
In a B2B scenario, the relationship between your firm and your customer often involves multiple stakeholders on both sides with numerous touch points. Measuring the key aspects of various processes help you learn how you are doing currently and how you can bring about a change that can help improve the metrics.
Your CRM system should easily provide you with all the Operational metrics. The second set of metrics that bring about the biggest impact falls under the category of Customer Perception metrics.
As a Salesforce partner, Solunus often recommends our customers two sets of dashboards for all our projects to improve operational efficiency. The first one shows how the overall big picture for a given functional area looks like. We slice and dice it for various users of the application either at the micro or macro level. For folks who want to do a detailed analysis of the data, we suggest using a tool such as Salesforce Wave Analytics which allow you to slice and dice the data across various dimensions.
For effectively managing the operations and ensuring the process is running smoothly, we also help and develop the “outlier” or exception dashboard for the functional area. The advantage of the outlier/exception dashboard is that it identifies specific examples of metrics that do not fall under the normal control limits set for your organization.
As a consultant and management professional, understanding these outliers can help you understand specific examples where your CRM business is either doing very well, and here you can learn it better and
bring about a change across the organization or the particular department.
Similarly, the dashboard also exposes the specifics on the area where the process does not follow the norm and often helps identify the key tools, people or process changes to be brought to restore the normal trend.
Now comes the important question, what metrics should be measured? In order to determine the right
set of metrics to measure and manage for your organization, Solunus recommends the following
- Define and quantify the business goals and align it to both short term and long term business outcomes.
- For each identified goal, formulate the CRM strategies and tactics for Sales, Service, and Marketing.
- Then select the right set of metrics that align with the above 2.
- The document, define and communicate the CRM Initiative goal, strategies and tactics along with the specific metrics that will be managed. The key focus for this step is to enable each department and individual to succeed in their job roles comfortably.
- If the organization has an incentive or bonus plans, align the same with the key metrics that can bring about the desired business outcomes. Use gamification as an effective tool to bring the competitive spirit in your team members and find ways to recognize and encourage positive behavior.
- Review the performance every quarter and fine tune the above as required to make the desired course correction.
While we have covered the majority of CRM metrics, a piece of advice is not to try and measure all aspects or fix them all at once. As suggested by the Pareto law, you can bring about a positive change by just measuring and monitoring 20% of the key metrics. Another point to consider is what metrics align with your organizational goals and business goals. Trying to fix all things at once will only overwhelm and will drive your team crazy.
Solunus, a US-based Salesforce Services company, prepares businesses for their next generation customers. Established in 2014, we simplify Salesforce for you to build more meaningful customer relationships. We partner for a win-win arrangement with clear ROI that the client realizes by the end of the engagement. Our 350+ years of industry exposure, project management expertise, and Salesforce experience underpin our position as a problem solver.
As a Salesforce Partner, we are an integral part of the Salesforce ecosystem and are a trusted advisor for several Fortune 1000 companies. Our experienced and innovative consultants deliver quality results, consistently. Our strength lies in how we use technology to improve business since we are former sales, marketing, and Salesforce consultants.
About the Author:
Venkat Subramanian is the President and COO of Solunus Inc. He is responsible for developing and delivering the company’s enterprise cloud transformation solutions to its customers. He has over two decades of experience with management, consulting and business development experience, guiding clients with product evaluations, roadmap, vision, implementation, and integration of high-performance technology and business solutions. Venkat is a natural communicator, mentor, and leader with strong motivational skills and ability to build, produce, and succeed. If he is not doing any of the above, you can find him holding a golf club or relaxing on a game of chess.