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7 tips to ensure your CRM stays in tip-top condition

By May 19, 2015

tip tip crm

Author: Mags Rivett, Marketing Manager, Purple Vision.

Now you’ve spent time finding your CRM and pedalling your way to success, you’re left with a shiny new CRM. It’s all yours to look after. It’s primed to deliver all the benefits you outlined in your initial project goals documentation, and help you build relationships across your organisation.

So, how are you going to look after it, protect your investment and ensure your system stays in tip-top shape?

Tip 1 Stay calm!

You’ve spent time preparing for the day your tool is handed over to you to use. So don’t panic. You’ve been trained; your team are trained. You’ve worked through any snags or problems you found and everything is working fine. You are ready for this.

Tip 2 The project is not over…

The formal implementation project might be over, but actually the project work still continues. This next phase is all about consolidation, training and development – and adding to any documentation or resources. This is the final ‘embed’ phase. It’s the phase where your work is to support other people to use the system and for it to become ‘business as usual’, where you champion success, benefits and developments.

Tip 3 Be on hand to help, monitor and manage

Changing the way we work is not easy and takes time – we may not even realise we’re doing something ‘wrong’. Pick people up on any issues politely and with respect. Take the time to explain why something you found is an issue and needs to be addressed – not everyone will see the bigger picture (or needs to). Be on hand to offer refresher training, one to one support, team updates, discussions and snag sessions. Keep a really close eye on things in the first few months so you can jump in where you are needed.

Produce documentation or resources that will help people understand how they can get benefit from the system – as well as all the practical bits like how to do x or y .

Make sure any protocols or processes are clearly documented and communicated to system users so they can help themselves to develop their expertise. You may have done a lot of this as part of the implementation phase, but there will always be tweaks and updates that are required.

A helpful approach is to remind users that data = people and those people are their supporting community. Our experience is that this helps people think of using the system as looking after their supporters, rather than ‘data’.

Tip 4 Stay enthused

The landscape we work in changes all the time – new tech, new programmes, new opportunities. Not all of these will be relevant to you, but it’s important to keep an eye on the trends, innovations and updates that take place. Find a blog you trust (this one is a great start!), and just scan it every week or so. Keep in touch with your implementation partner or vendor – some may offer ongoing training or updates for clients. Find ways to keep up with the new, fresh and exciting so you maintain your enthusiasm about the system and it doesn’t become ‘just something else’ you need to keep an eye on.

Tip 5 Be the champion

You might not have anything to say every month, but certainly in the first few months you should make sure your project stays on meeting agendas. Initially, the most important reason for this is to thank everyone for their hard work and input so far. You also need to continue to offer support.

And then, it’s about developing trust, confidence and a deeper understanding of the benefits of using the system – it’s your chance to share the results and positive differences that are happening across the organisation. Share other people’s results and positive stories. Don’t let CRM be forgotten – it is one of the tools at the heart of your organisation. Find ways to champion its use and make it friendly, interesting and approachable – rather than a dull requirement.

Make sure you are able to champion the system to new users, too. When a new employee joins – or someone transferring in from another team or area of the organisation –you need to support them to use the system right from the start. Think about a step-by-step induction process that you can add to all new employee agendas – a mix of 1:1 sessions, a guided self-learn process using all your documentation and a mix of videos and presentations you have recorded are all effective ways. Take time to find out how the individual will mainly use the system and start there to keep it relevant for them.

Tip 6 Keep it tidy and fit for purpose

Remember the sorry mess of data you had bCRM (before CRM)? I think we can all agree it’s best not to let things get out of hand again. But experience also tells us that vital tasks like looking after your data can slip down the priorities list as we get distracted by other new, shiny and exciting things. Don’t let that happen (again) – make a plan.

Our expert advice – based on multiple implementations and client’s experience – is to:

  • Regularly remind staff and offer ad hoc training on key issues (see tip 5)
  • Run regular reports to find orphan and duplicate data (this can help with tip 3)
  • Use de-duplication apps to help pick up duplicates
  • Keep an eye on your data retention – what can you retain once you have stopped doing business with a client or stakeholder? How are your permission managements working?
  • When planning your work schedule, allocate resources and time to help keep the data clean (prevent) and work on it when issues are identified (cure).
  • Do not assume that data that is purchased from external agencies is up to date or clean
  • Keep an eye on all data sources across the organisation – are there sources that aren’t making it into the CRM? If not, why not?

A helpful way of looking at this is to think of the cost of cleaning data not so much in terms of a financial IT overhead but in terms of the cost of keeping your clients happy and staying on the right side of legislation.

Tip 7 Health checks

Just as you will occasionally seek medical advice if there’s something wrong, you can do the same with your CRM. If you have an issue, call the partner who helped you install it – you may have sensibly bought some after sales support from them, or they may be able to offer this to you on an ad hoc basis. Healthcare is about prevention as well as cure.

An investment in the health of your system will help keep it working smoothly – and if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage it in house, you will need to recognise and allocate an ongoing sum to seek the help you need. You’ve invested a lot of time and money in the system; don’t forget to protect your asset.


purple-vision, PartnerAbout Purple Vision: Purple Vision is a consultancy that supports non-profits with technology, digital and data. We are Salesforce Cloud Alliance Partners, and are implementation partners for NGO Connect. Our team boasts impressive Salesforce credentials and experience in implementing – and supporting the use of – Salesforce for a range of charities and non-profit organisations. Find out more about what we offer via