Get the most out of your CRM implementation

Table of Contents

    A few blogs ago I wrote how many enterprise software implementations fail and made reference to an article that lists top ten reasons (somehow there are always 10 reasons for something good or bad).  One of the reasons listed states that “Dashboard implementation needs to be part of the strategic plan” and I could not agree more.  In fact I would actually use dashboards to determine what I want our of my CRM implementation.  I would start by designing a dashboard or a set of dashboards detailing what I am attempting to measure and achieve by having a CRM in place.

    Why?  Well what is the point of collecting customer data, sales force activities, customer spending, customer value if we can’t report it and use it for something.  The entire point of CRM is so that a company can adjust activities and strategies to satisfy their clients and in the process be more profitable.  If you are implementing CRM and all you are focused on is the data entry screen for customer profiles, how clean your data is and all the associated data interfaces, how the home page looks once a user logs in, you are only 50% there.  You still need to make use of all that data that you are now storing.  In fact, you may even need a dashboard to know if the data is being stored at all in a timely and accurate way!

    But the sad truth is, dashboards and data analysis are typically the last thing a CRM implementation addresses.  Many put them on a phase II (which eventually becomes phase XII) or as a separate parallel project with the hopes that they will meet in the middle.

    So where could we start?  We could start by drafting out dashboards that we would like to have sent to us every week where most of the data will most likely come from the CRM implementation.  Using this as a requirement we can start drafting out what is needed and the structure of the CRM configuration.

    Pharma field force analysis dashboard

    Pharma field force analysis dashboard

    In the dashboard above we know we would need to track calls and sales at the individual sales representative or region level AND at the drug level.  And we would like to report in this quickly for the last 12 months so we would need to keep that much data.

    Some argue that these types of dashboards are for management or for a data warehouse to produce and made available on a portal.  The truth of the matter is that management doesn’t look at these, but the sales representatives do need them.  They want to track their progress and perhaps more importantly if they will achieve their sales targets and commission.  These are actionable dashboards that need to be front and center, delivered periodically and not expecting that field force users access their computer, login, login again on VPN, access their company portal and (most likely login again), click a few menus to get to their dashboard, filter it and finally get their numbers.  They won’t.

    The dashboards need to be an integral part of the CRM application.  As easily accessed as any other screen and updated immediately!

    At ClicData we connect to the best CRM solutions available today such as and soon ZOHO CRM, because customers need better reporting solutions than those provided just by their CRM tool.  A CRM strategy typically has sales objectives, segmentation and targeting data, and budgets associated with them.  CRM solutions do not have placeholders for those data sources as they are typically hidden away in people’s laptops.  ClicData allows the merging of those two data sets to produce dashboards that can help you direct your CRM strategy.  We integrate ClicData into Salesforce and other web applications easily since your dashboards and charts can be “pasted” on any web page and dynamically updated when the data changes.


    Make your CRM implementation relevant by providing immediate feedback to ALL users on their own data.  Dashboards are the best way to see what is happening with their customers quickly and easily.  It can tell them when they need to act and where they need to focus.  That is what CRM is about.  Focusing on the right customer at the right time with the right message or service.

    Happy Dashboarding!