Key Podcast Highlights

What Is a CRM System?

  • CRM stands for a Customer Relationship Management system.
    • These are used for sales, marketing and management services.  

How Can You Get All of Your People to Use Your CRM System?

  • First, have an administrator who is in charge of your system.
    • This is someone in charge of the database in the CRM system.
  • Next, have good reports coming out of your system.
    • Look at the data regularly to run your business.
  • Lastly, make sure there is an executive in charge of the system and that person is held accountable.
    • A strong manager with authority, needs to tell the team that they’re using the CRM system and enforce this.


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Gene: Hey everybody, this is Gene Marks and welcome to another episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. This week, I wanna talk to you about your customer relationship management system. You probably have one. Most small businesses do. CRM systems are a lot of popular vendors. I’m sure you’ve heard of and Zoho and Microsoft Dynamics and Sugar and Insightly. There’s a bunch of ’em that are out there. Many of my clients use CRM systems. We use CRM system in our business as well. But most of our clients have a very similar problem, and it’s this. Getting all of their people to use the system. I mean, this is not like an accounting system or an order entry or an inventory management system. This is like something that’s for sales and marketing and management, you know, services.

Gene: So sometimes it causes some people not to give it the attention that it needs to get. And when people don’t put information into the system, the system fails. You can’t get good information out of it. You can’t leverage it for email campaigns or sales automation or even services that you’re doing. So one of the biggest challenges, if not the be the biggest challenge or the CRM system is getting people to use the CRM. So let me give you three bits of advice to get your users actually using your CRM system. You ready? Number one, have an administrator. An administrator is somebody who is in charge of your system. Now, your system, your CRM system, no matter what you’re using, no matter what vendor you have, it’s just a database. You need to have somebody in charge of that database.

Gene: Not a technical person. It doesn’t have to be an IT person. It can be a good administrator with strong power user skills, but it needs to be somebody who owns that system. That person is in charge of the completeness and the accuracy of the data in your CRM database. If anything is wrong, inaccurate, incorrect, incomplete, not there, out of date, it’s not that person’s fault, but it’s that person’s responsibility to address that issue. Provide the right training, make sure it doesn’t happen again. That person should be your go-to person for any questions or support you need to support that person. Making sure that person is backed up with a good expert in the CRM system as well. But having that go-to administrator, that one person who knows the CRM system really, really well and owns the system as it is. That is one great way to get people involved in using the system. Because that person will be in charge of making sure that people are using the system. So that’s number one. Number two, have good reports coming out of your system. There is no better way to validate the accuracy and the integrity of a database than to be looking at the data. So my best clients have got reports coming out of their system. They have got pipeline reports and service reports and open quotes reports and open proposal reports, and they’re being reviewed by…

Gene: Managers or teams of people all the time. They’re using their CRM system to help them run their business. So you wanna make sure that you’ve got good reports that are coming out of your system and that you’re reviewing them and using them in your business on a daily or a weekly or a monthly basis. Trust me when I tell you, if you have teams or managers that are leaning on the reports coming out of your system and those reports are inaccurate or incomplete or have problems, good managers will see that and they will bring it to the attention of the administrator and they will jump on it to get it fixed. Usually it’s a couple people in your team that might not be doing what they need to be doing or using the system the right way. Well, those people are gonna be called out when data that is needed to run the team by the manager is not there or it’s wrong.

Gene: So use reports a lot. Have one, two, or three really good reports coming out of your CRM system, like I mentioned just a minute or so ago. A pipeline report though is the most popular one. A pipeline report replaces whatever spreadsheets you’re using and should list out all open opportunities that you’re working on your team is working on as well as the value of those opportunities, who’s working on them, what the probability is of close when you think it will close. And notes about actions and next things coming up or historical calls or meetings about that opportunity. Have good reports. Finally, if you wanna get the most out of your CRM system, make sure that there is an executive in charge of the system and that person is held accountable. My biggest failures with CRM systems is when a senior manager who’s supposed to be in charge of the system, isn’t in charge of the system or caves into their users.

Gene: Some of my biggest nightmares have been when a manager will be like, well, I know we’ve got everybody trained, but I have one salesperson that wants to do this and one service person that wants to do that. And so I’m just letting them do it. And when things like that happen, things fall apart. A good strong leader, a good strong manager, an executive who has authority, has to say to the team, listen, we are all in on this CRM system. You are going to use it as you were trained to use it. We are gonna be employing it like we plan to employ it. And I don’t wanna hear ifs, ands, or buts. If you need training, if you need support, if you have questions, we will provide you that support. In fact, we’ve got an administrator here that can help you.

Gene: But other than that, if it ain’t in the CRM system, it doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re a strong boss that’s telling your team to do this and members of your team don’t do this, I’m not quite sure how long that member of the team is gonna be a member of your team. To have a good, strong manager with authority that owns the system as well, that will back up your administrator. Those are the three things I’ve learned to get people using your CRM system. Have a good administrator. Have a couple of good reports to review the data and make sure there is a senior manager or leader in your company with authority who owns that system and lays down the law…

Gene: So that people are using this system and that person is relying on the system to help manage their area of the company. That’s how you can have some success. My name is Gene Marks and you’ve been listening to the weekly Small Biz Ahead podcast. I hope you have enjoyed it. If you need any tips or advice or help in running your business, please visit us at or Look forward to seeing you again next week. I’ll be back with some other tip to help you run your business. Thanks for listening. See you then. Take care.

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