Hello there, everybody. I’m here to share a little more info about basic CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) practices and especially about beginning to use the Salesforce CRM platform.
One of my posts introduced the Salesforce CRM platform.
And another one outlined the steps needed to design and build CRM capabilities for an Extension program, complete with timelines.
But in case you were still wondering, there are many practical (and simple) ways in which your program will derive benefits from the advance to CRM practices. Here are examples of powerful results you can expect from this new tool. Thanks for reading on!
Organize your contacts, see a history of their interactions.
A CRM’s core purpose is managing relationships. Those relationships you have with constituents, clients, agencies, and industry partners are the lifeblood of the work you do. You spend time interacting with them as individuals, other times as groups, and the CRM will help coordinate both.
You will benefit from the sophisticated ways it maintains information about the people with whom you collaborate and get work done.
The system will, yes, provide a simple phone number or email address you need to reach out. But at a glance, you’ll also see when the last time was that you had an interaction with that person and what the outcome was. In case you ring her up to answer a big question and she’s out of the office, not to worry. The CRM’s awareness of relationships between people lets you track down the contact info for her colleague inside that organization who’s also a contributor to the same project — problem solved!
Then type in a summary of that new conversation in the CRM, allowing you to access the details any time.
Likewise for relationships with Extension clients and constituents. Go ahead and pick up the phone for a conversation with someone who’s in the midst of submitting critical paperwork. You’ll have access to an interaction history for that person in the CRM, showing you what steps have already been done and so you are able to advise them about the next step, simply because you pulled up their detailed info before calling.
Send smarter emails.
Let me share this example from an earlier post.
Let’s imagine a class or workshop that just took place. The last hour of the workshop was dominated by a very interesting discussion topic. One idea the instructor can have is to follow up with even more relevant resources to enhance what the group is learning. The steps would look like this:
- Login to the CRM immediately after class
this makes the information timely and helpful
- Create a custom email message; fill it with relevant links
make use of an email layout with attention to branding and readability standards
- The new email delivers out to the cohort
the people from that class—the appropriate audience—see the email and experience the benefit
- The cohort may continue the discussion
include a link to a discussion board where they continue sharing ideas
- Afterwards, extend the usefulness of the content
flag that helpful content so it’s then used in an upcoming enewsletter – broaden the impact on a wider audience
Additionally, the CRM will allow for an increasing reliance on automating certain emails. Automatically deliver messages even for simple things like a note to say “thank you” after a person fills out interest forms on the Extension web site.
Consider the ability to send automated reminders for upcoming project due dates and important events. Has a calendar date come and gone and an important document hasn’t shown up? A well-crafted gentle reminder can make all the difference. Salesforce can be enabled to react to predefined conditions and automatically trigger messages to the appropriate people.
Your partners — relations and support.
Another key point of a CRM is that it is a database. It stores and organizes incredible amounts of information.
Using this data, you will be empowered to manage the many various aspects of working with a program partner.
Your team will want to research prospective new partner organizations. For each prospect, you’ll need awareness of each one’s presence, capabilities, and capacity in the various geographic regions your team serves. Simply record this complex info in the CRM.
As your team’s regional specialists plan outreach efforts, lists appear for them, each one pre-filtered to show relevant information for that region.
Maintain profiles of your partners that are accurate over time. Because your entire team has access to the shared data, their contributions to the system keep up with various changes for that partner. An important piece of the partner relationship is assessing and evaluating the efficacy of the work being done with them and you will save these details in the CRM to inform future efforts.
With established partners, those vigorous periods where the actual work is getting done will lead to new relationship management challenges. Make use of the CRM’s database features to design and manage workflows. Salesforce will be a quick and easy way to manage the sometimes complex communication plans you’ll need to customize for each partner.
Though its true the possibilities are endless, hopefully you’ll agree I have shed light on a few effective examples that will save your team time and energy? I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Extension website updates.
- The OSU Extension homepage looks a little different now. Updates were made based on user data. We are also working on a more comprehensive homepage design to come this fall.
- Minor feature update: added ability to change list style and anchor id of collection sections
- We made changes to the main menu based on user feedback. “Find us” is now “Contact us”. We added a link to ‘Ask an Expert’; And the latest website content is now available under ‘About us’.