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For business to be successful, companies have to track the effectiveness of their CRM metrics, interpret the results and then take the appropriate action.
To do that, organizations have to understand what the business drivers are and then design CRM strategies that encourage those results. Is the goal to increase the size of an average order? Increase the amount of revenue each salesperson generates? Save money on acquiring customers? Keep more customers? Reduce the time it takes to respond to a customer?
“You have to know what it is you’re actually trying to do,” said Michael Krigsman,CEO of consulting firm Asuret Inc. “What are you trying to accomplish with your business or a particular section of your business? If you’re looking at salespeople, there will be one set of issues and if you’re looking at your call center there will be another set of issues, so you have to first define which segment of the business you’re trying to get metrics on.”
Sales force metrics
The most important metric for the sales force is how much it’s selling and how much revenue it’s generating, he said. Those are the results-oriented metrics, but within sales there are also process metrics.
“There are a series of process steps that the organization needs to go through, from the time it initiates contact with a prospect to the time the contact agrees to buy or not buy,” Krigsman said. “So maybe initial contact is one step, then follow up and maybe they do a demo and then they write a proposal and go through reference checks.”
Because some people drop out before they buy a product or service, organizations must have metrics to enable them to track how many customers there are; where each customer is in the sales process; how many prospects are reaching each stage and how many are actually reaching the end of the process, he said.
Call center metrics
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of the call center, two broad measures -- efficiency and quality -- are key, according to Krigsman. Efficiency is how fast the company responds to the customer, and quality means customer satisfaction.
“So efficiency is call duration, number of calls per customer, how fast you solve the problem and what the activities are in resolving the problem,” he said. “The quality is going to be customer satisfaction. The two are very much linked, because if the customer gets the problem solved well and fast then he will be happy.”
Keep metrics to a minimum
Whether tracking how things are going with sales or in the contact center, it’s important to keep the number of things measured to a minimum, said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.
“If you’re measuring more than five things, you have too many things to measure,” she said. “So if we look at sales, if your business goal is productivity you want to look at whether you can reduce the sales force administrative staff in some way or if you can increase the targets of your salespeople. But more importantly, you want to be able to look at predictability. Will what your salespeople are telling you be in the pipeline actually in the pipeline at the end of the month? That's where traditional CRM needs that layer of analytics on top of it to understand how predictable your sales activities are.”
Contact center expert Lori Bocklund, founder and president of Strategic Contact, agreed that the key to success is to align the metrics with the goals of the business, define the metrics and ensure that they drive the appropriate behaviors.
For example, when it comes to creating metrics around initial customer contacts as well as the customer life cycle, those metrics will be different for an insurance company’s customers than for prospective students at an online university.
“So each company has to put metrics in place that are based on contacts with the customer as well as the outcomes that define the customer life cycle and the vision of success in that life cycle,” Bocklund said.
Bocklund said there are numerous analytics tools coming out of the call center space including speech, desktop and text analytics as well as analytics tools that help people create consolidated scorecards and dashboards. Not to mention the analytics capabilities of the various CRM solutions, and the pure-play analytics engines that can be used by companies in any industry.
“We tell people to look around and see what analytics tools they already have,” Bocklund said. “Because they probably have tools all over the place that they’re not using or not using very well or they’re using in a little silo. You should tap those and bring a broader use to them.”
When it comes to deciding which analytics tool is right for you, Krigsman said it also depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. The question is, Are we getting the results we want and how do we know?
“Any core CRM [product] basically is going to capture similar type of data, but part of the selection process is going to be what kind of data is collected and what kind of reporting it does,” he said. “It goes back to what the companies are trying to do. … You can come up with all the measures in the world and numbers and metrics, but if they’re not connected to what you’re trying to accomplish then they’re meaningless.”