Are you looking for relationship advice? Specifically, customer relationship advice. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re about to spin up a CRM system for your business, or you aren’t getting enough from your existing CRM, take a look at these tips below and bring them into your CRM setup.

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Choose the right CRM platform

It might sound obvious, but it’s surprisingly tricky to choose the right CRM for your business., a website that tracks sales and marketing technology, lists 294 CRM systems as of today. That is an overwhelming amount of possibilities with a lot of potential to make a poor choice.

Some of these systems are very well suited to the enterprise organisation (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, SAP CRM). Some solutions say their CRM is focused more on marketing (Mailchimp). Other systems offer sales, marketing, and customer service for scaling businesses (HubSpot, Zoho). Some are well suited for specific sectors (Bullhorn for recruitment).

As you can see, this is why the first step in setting up a CRM for success is choosing the right software for your business. You’ll be living with it for a while, so it’s worth researching front.

Top Tip: Use software comparison sites such as and to compare features and read genuine user reviews.

Create customer journeys

It’s very tempting to throw a lot of data into your CRM on day one and go live right away, but doing so will cause headaches for your and your team. It won’t be long before you come across circumstances where it isn’t clear who owns a contact. Is a sales lead still being nurtured by marketing? Should your account management team be the only one communicating with your customers? Do customers with outstanding support tickets need to be kept off the “refer a friend” marketing campaign?

Make your CRM more useful in the long term by mapping out your customer journey, defining customer lifecycle stages, assigning owners at each stage, and structuring your CRM to reflect these choices.

Top Tip: If you haven’t done a customer journey mapping exercise before, keep it simple using a simple three-stage journey: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. Use this structure to identify what communications a contact will receive at each stage and who owns the relationship at each point in time.

Think about your custom data fields

When your start using a CRM for the first time, it will come with a default configuration. It will include a database that has some default data fields that every business will use. For example, all companies will likely record a contact’s first name, last name, email address, address, phone number, and these fields will come as standard.

Every business has a unique set of data that they need to record, so you’ll need your CRM to reflect these data requirements. An online baker might need to know whether a client is vegan or gluten-free, whereas a tailor literally needs the inside leg measurement of a customer.

These data points will be necessary to deliver exemplary service for each customer, but having this information recorded in the CRM will allow for better segmentation and, therefore, more relevant marketing. More relevant marketing means more likelihood of long-lasting custom.

Top tip: Before importing any data into your CRM, create a spreadsheet of all of your customers into it (one per row) and put every piece of relevant information into the adjacent columns. Go through your CRM and check which fields exist by default and which needs creating. Create each data field as a custom property before importing the data. Think carefully about the format of the data field that you’re creating (e.g. create a numerical field for a phone number, a date field for data of birth), as this can help make life easier in the long term.

Configure your user roles and permissions

Your CRM system is going to contain a lot of personally identifiable information about your customers. As such, you need to make sure you are handling that data responsibly — this starts with defining who in your organisation can access what in your CRM.

Most CRM systems allow creating user roles, such as “salesperson”, “marketing executive”, “sales manager”. These user roles can be given a set of permissions that enable anyone who has been assigned that role to view (or not), edit, or delete information in your CRM.

Providing access only to what is necessary for each user is the responsible way to manage data. You will also have a complete audit trail of the import and export history within your CRM so you can see who has accessed data should you need to find that out.

Top tip: CRM systems typically use a per-user-per-month pricing structure, and it is not unusual to see companies share logins to reduce software license costs. This leaves you vulnerable to data breaches due to password sharing and will mean any data audits would be rendered useless.

Reduce data admin with plugins and extensions

Even a well-configured CRM system is only as good as the data it contains. If you and your team aren’t staying on top of the record-keeping, your CRM is unreliable, and everyone in your organisation will soon become frustrated.

One way to reduce poor record-keeping is to make it as simple as possible to stay on top of data entry. Most modern CRM systems will have a suite of tools that help you to reduce the burden of data entry by integrating emails, calendars and web browsers so that data is captured automatically.

Top tip: Before committing to any CRM system, check the integrations and extensions page on the website. Check the technology your company uses, such as Google Workplace or Microsoft Office, can be easily integrated. Also, check for plugins: HubSpot has the Sales Tool Chrome Extension, Zoho CRM has a Gmail plugin, and Salesforce has a chrome plugin)

For a more detailed look at how CRM can help your business to sell faster and better, download the free ebook below.

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