What To Do With CRM Data

CRM Data
HARK! And ye shall hear the Gospel of Data that has been foretold by the Prophets of CRM! Sound familiar? I hear it all the time. There’s been a shift in the world from what was considered “Mass Communications” to the Next Generation of “Personalized Messaging.” (That was bad, I’m sorry.) There are a variety of CRM solutions to choose from, but the same questions always come up:

  • What can I do with this data? How do I use it?
  • How will access to this data improve my organization?

These are great questions and deserve a great answer, although to be honest, it’s often easier to see the benefit afterwards than explain it beforehand. I used to have the same type of discussion when someone would ask “Why do I need a website (or Internet, a cell phone, or a life jacket)?” Sometimes it becomes much more clear after you have it and use it. It’s easy to say “An organization with clear, organized and accurate data will be able to make better long and short-term decisions than one without access to relevant and timely information about the activities and interactions of their constituents.” But what does that really mean?

How Organizations Use CRM Data

The best way I’ve found to provide that answer is to show examples of what other organizations have done. At Heller Consulting we have a great white paper called Insights into CRM for Nonprofits that interviews leading nonprofits and asks how they plan, implement, and use a CRM system. This is a great place to start for sure, and always prompts a deeper discussion. Answers that bring more questions are the best way to REALLY get into a topic.

NTEN has also created a detailed reference called Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits. Through their Communities of Impact pilot program NTEN and Microsoft worked to assemble conversations and case-studies surrounding “what happens when nonprofits make a real commitment to collect healthy data about their programs and operations.”

Between these two documents, there are almost 100 pages of information that help answer “What can I do with CRM data?” and I’ve found this is one of the best ways to start explaining the deep potential within flood of CRM data.

Do you like to talk about CRM and data? How do you make the possibilities clear without overwhelming people?

About Bryan Giese

For the past 20 years Bryan has focused on one goal: Create experiences that establish a relationship. Whether working on application and web interface design, health education portal program experiences, or direct mail relationship marketing, he designs a full experience that brings people in, makes them feel welcome, and let’s them interact with a program for a long-term relationship. He has worked in every step of the process from creative design and development, to strategy mapping and content creation, optimizing each component to contribute to the full vision.

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