CRM "KIS" principle: sweat the details now, not later

If you mention the word CRM ("Customer Relationship Management") to people it can bring a sweat to the brow of the coolest characters in the room. The principles of the CRM are understandable to most, but we all struggle in some form as to how to effectively use the tools we have at our disposal: add a bunch of staff members to the challenge and once steady hands are now shaking like you're about to go on a date with Freddy Krueger.

KIS--Keep it Simple. I'm sure we all have different connotations of this acronym, so let's break it down in this series of posts and unravel the mystery of CRM "Customer Relationship Management" or as I like to call it, CJM,  "Customer Job Management".


Get Your Ducks in a Row.

In most modern CRM/CJM software a user can tailor their user interface and content as they see fit, so let's focus on customization of content and links. Making sure everyone is on the same page is what I like to call "getting your ducks in a row". If I were to ask any member of a flooring store the basic steps to selling flooring they would more than likely respond as follows:

  1. Customer inquiry

  2. Product selection

  3. Schedule a site visit

  4. Measure, plan, and quote

  5. Sale

  6. Order products and schedule installation

  7. Invoice

How easy is it to get a general consensus from staff members on a sales process? Fairly easy, considering the process is repeated thousands of times a year.


Take your ducks and digitize them  

Now that your staff agrees on how the typical sales process works from start to finish, it's time to take your ducks and digitize them. The examples below show a complicated line of ducks and one that has been customized to match the exact process above, only we are using a simple set of navigation links and their corresponding functions to translate the typical sales process into our CRM software.

Figure 1. Complicated line of ducks

CRM navigation menu setup

Figure 2. Simple line of ducks

CRM navigation menu setup_2

KIS--keep it simple: if everyone agrees on the process, keep it simple from the beginning, adding functionality as your team becomes familiar with their digitized line of ducks. A simple set of navigation links visualizes how the process flooring professionals have in their heads can be interpreted in a CRM/CJM system.

So let's look at what makes the KIS principle work: the first step, getting a general consensus from your team on the steps they need to take to complete their business process (in this case, a sale). Make sure not to clutter the steps--ask your team to think high level and not get mired in all the bits in between that need to happen to get to the next step. You only want a single step for each part of the sales process; all additional steps are what we like to call functions, i.e. "all the things in-between that you need to do to reach the next step".

Consider how functions relate to our everyday life: they are the finer details we learn to complete a task. If we were to say, host a dinner party, your mind may automatically (and haphazardly) run through every little thing you need to complete to achieve the end result. If we approached the meal from a higher level workflow process, however, the task would look something like this: Schedule a date - Invite your friends - Purchase ingredients - Prep - Cook - Dish. Regardless of whether someone has thrown a dinner party before, you've created a structure that is instantly recognizable.

Once you have solidified your workflow process, it's time to get your ducks in a row and create navigation links in your CRM that relate directly to your workflow process, as demonstrated in Figure 2 above. Remember: KIS - Keep it simple.