The 6 C’s of CRM

Financial institutions love to complain that CRM systems don't work. But it takes more than simply buying the system and turning it on.

I’ve had the privilege of personally working in more than 10 different CRM systems, seven of which have been at a bank. I’ve seen and been part of many successful marketing and sales programs that use CRM, but I’ve also been part of a few spectacular failures. Whether you have a CRM and are looking for a few ideas or are debating on implementing a CRM strategy in the coming year, these 6 C’s can help you stay focused on achieving success with your CRM.

1. C is for Customer

Customer is the key word here. As you consider how to use your CRM, you should be continually asking:

  • ­ “How will the data in the CRM benefit my customer?”
  • ­ “How can I use this to speed up our process, to benefit my customer?”
  • ­ “What events could be triggered using this data to help my customer?”
  • ­ “Is there info that can be gained from the data that would help me do what is best for my customer.”
  • ­ “How can my sales team best use the data to identify opportunities to help my customer?

If your customer is not at the center of your CRM strategy, you will quickly find yourself among the high percentage of companies that consider their CRM initiative a failure.

2. C is for C-­Level Executives

There are no excuses for a football coach that doesn’t look at game film or know the stats from their team. If you are a C­-level Manager at your organization, there is no excuse for ignoring or not being aware of how your CRM can be used to provide you with reports that can help your team. Making excuses for your team’s lack of use of the CRM starts and stops with the C-level executive team. Make sure your leadership is all on board, 100% of the time. Make sure you know the system inside and out or your team will quickly take notice and may not take the CRM seriously.

When executives and senior managers know your CRM system as well or better than your front-line producers, the sales team will have very few excuses as to why they don’t use it. CRM systems not only provide the ability to gain amazing insight from dashboards and management reports, but it gives managers the tools they need in order to better coach their team. As a C­-level manager able to navigate the CRM like a pro with your direct reports, how will that affect their attitude and usage of the CRM?

3. C is for Coach

A great coach uses all the tools they have available to identify opportunities for improvement and create game plans with their assistant coaches. Your CRM will likely provide you with data that is much better than an excel spreadsheet. It may not provide the perfect pipeline view, or it may be lacking a few data fields, but it will certainly be better than what was initially used 15 years ago.

Great coaches use data to coach, provide feedback and create accountability to each other. If you aren’t using your CRM to help support your coaches, your organization will struggle to implement the system, gain buy-in, build consensus and create a true sales culture focused customers.

4. C is for Celebrating Success

With any CRM initiative, it is important to recognize and celebrate success. Whether you provide rewards as part of a celebration or just generally acknowledge your team’s successes, it will make a huge difference. Organizations that achieve the quickest success with adoption provide feedback and share scorecards with all users on a weekly basis. Orrstown Bank launched a CRM cross-selling initiative aimed at helping make banking easier for customers. Instead of cross­-selling though, the sales team was “cross­solving.” During the first six months, Orrstown was able to average over 37 referrals or “solves” per branch each week. Weekly reports were shared, coaches used the data to celebrate and give feedback, and customers felt like winners.

5. C is for Commitment

Bank and credit union management teams like to spend money on CRM software, but then they refuse to hire someone to manage the tool. Countless financial institutions have spent tens of thousands of dollars on software, then somehow think that adding the responsibility to the marketing department’s workload will somehow produce the results they want. If the CRM tool isn’t working, you’ll quickly lose the support of both front-line users a C-level executives. Don’t be guilty of buying a “shiny object” and having it sit unused because existing managers don’t have time to fully embrace the tool.

6. C is for Culture

The best organizations in the world that effectively use CRM tools have created culture that depends on the data and insights in the CRM. Their employees realize that tracking conversations with customers is how you provide amazing service and truly know your customers. It’s great that your salesperson knows all about your customer, but if others in the organization can’t see the history and provide the same level of service as the account rep, the customer will view their relationship as being with the rep and not the company.

Great sales reps want happy clients and realize that if their team is empowered to help their client, everyone wins.

Stay Focused

If your bank already has a CRM or plans to have CRM be a strategic objective for the coming year, don’t lose site of these basic principles. Focus on why you have a CRM, implement it well and client retention and profitability will be the result.


jason_tonioliJason Tonioli is a Co­Founder of www.kadince.com and Elevation 43. Elevation 43 provides marketing and CRM consulting services to banks and credit unions. Kadince is a software built specifically for financial institutions that creates efficiencies by digitizing the internal processes for approvals on marketing pieces, donation requests, tracking of volunteer hours and other marketing requests. Send Jason an email.

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