It’s important to keep your CRM system up-to-date with your business processes so that as your needs change, your CRM continues to provide value to your users. If you don’t have a CRM Administrator managing this, you may be noticing more and more user complaints and frustration, poor data quality, lack of useful reports, inefficient workflows in the system, and a general sense of disillusionment with the system, to name a few common issues.
Here are some of the main functions that most CRM Administrators handle in order to prevent the above problems and keep your system running smoothly:
- Perform general maintenance tasks such as software upgrades, user maintenance, data backups, and app integrations.
- Add new users and apply appropriate security settings and permissions.
- Provide user support and training.
- Support management with reports, dashboards, and data tracking.
- Troubleshoot any issues that users run into with the software or connected apps.
- Adjust settings and make basic customizations to help the CRM keep up with new and revised business processes.
A CRM administrator must have in-depth knowledge and experience not only in the CRM software, but also of sales, marketing, project management, and business processes in order to translate your requests into solutions that work well for your business needs.
Common Approaches and Potential Pitfalls
Many companies underestimate the necessity of having an expert manage their CRM, and assign these duties to a current employee who has some extra time on their hands. Chances are this internal person won’t have the technical background to jump in and get things done both quickly and correctly, especially not while juggling their primary job duties. They’re likely to need to additional support, at additional cost.
Well-meaning Sales Managers, Marketing Directors, and IT professionals tasked with maintaining a CRM may also attempt to make changes in the system that don’t quite meet your users’ needs, or that may seem at first to work, but end up creating problems in the long run because they didn’t understand the capabilities of the system or the full implications of the changes they made. Unfortunately, these sort of modifications can eventually compound upon each other and grow out of control, eventually rendering the CRM unusable, or at best, more work than its worth.
Hiring a full-time CRM Administration employee can be a better option for companies with a large user base and high volume of work, but many companies cannot justify the cost of a new technical hire with all the associated benefits. For small to medium businesses, the workload may not justify a full-time hire.
A part-time professional CRM contractor on a retainer or as-needed basis may seem like a more cost-efficient approach. If you can find someone who has the expertise you need, and provide them with regular work, over time they can become familiar with your business needs and existing CRM customizations at a lower cost than a full-time employee, even though their hourly rate will be much higher. However, their availability may be constrained by other clients, and they’re less likely to be able to take on small projects without a guarantee of ongoing business.
A CRM Administration Service
Contracting with a CRM Administration Service avoids many of the potential pitfalls of the above administration approaches. This is particularly true if you use the same service you hired to implement your CRM, because they will be thoroughly familiar with the minutiae of your configuration. While a CRM Administration Service that did not manage your implementation may be less fully versed in all aspects of your particular CRM instance from the start, they’re challenged frequently with new and unique setups, helping them to easily assess a problem and investigate a solution rapidly.
Often, your company will be assigned a project manager or lead administrator to serve as your main point of contact and that person will develop a thorough understanding of your CRM setup, but because there is more than one person who can help you at the company, you’ll still be able to get the help you need if your main contact isn’t available at a particular time.
Furthermore, a CRM Administration Service is likely to have partnerships with your CRM platform developer and other providers that can help your business identify and select the right add-on tools and other specialized services to get your project done faster, at lower cost, and with fewer bumps along the way.
You’re also likely to get better package options than an independent contractor could offer, and a far better annual cost than a full-time employee. This is particularly true for small to medium businesses that have a lower volume of ongoing work needed.
If you’ve been thinking that it’s time to realize the potential of your CRM investment by keeping it operating at its best, get in touch with Pacific Street. Whether you’re just looking for a tune-up to get your CRM back on track with your users’ needs, or ready to sign up for an ongoing maintenance and support plan to ensure you continue to get the most out of your CRM, we’d love to talk with you about your needs and see how we can help. Get in touch today for a free consultation!