Evolve from Record Management to Relationship Management
I recently participated in a technology focus group. At the beginning of the interview, they had the obligatory “introduce yourself and let us know how long you’ve worked with our technology”. I paused and did a quick mental calculation. I was stunned when I realized I had worked with their CRM system in some capacity for over 15 years. Feel free to swap out ‘stunned’ with ‘saddened’ ... ‘shocked’ ... ‘mortified’...
Old Tools. New Rules.
It’s safe to say that CRM technology has progressed beyond the “early adoption” phase of the technology adoption lifecycle. Last year CRM officially became the largest software market in the world at $40B in revenue, finally surpassing database management systems.
However, the actual use of these CRM systems hasn’t kept pace with the investment and evolution of the tools. In fact, overall less than half of sales team report widespread usage. With the proven advantages of CRM, why are organizations just scratching the surface of its capabilities?
Mapping a Path Forward Starts with Self-Awareness
Being aware of how you are actually using CRM is the first step to getting the most from your investment and sales team. A leader within the technology space, Paul Teshmia, has identified the following emerging CRM maturity model.
Stage 1 - Customer Record Management
Stage 2 - Customer Activity Management
Stage 3 - Customer Relationship Intelligence
Stage 4 - Customer Relationship Management
These stages offer a progression in the organization's perspective. In Stage 1 the view is to the past, then stepping forward to the present, and ultimately looking into and anticipating the future in Stage 4. Unfortunately, many businesses today, clubs included, still only use CRM as Customer "Record" Management.
What the Leaders are Doing
We find that these stages align with what we see in the private club industry. The natural reaction to any CRM project is to begin collecting and consolidating data. You gather as much information as possible, format the information into a spreadsheet, upload the contents into your CRM system, and say a prayer. But industry leaders start by asking the strategic questions. They have implemented CRM, but they’ve also instituted practices to manage member relationship intelligence. They use data intelligence and predictions to optimize cross-channel member experience by anticipating the needs of the customer and timely initiate relevant 1:1 dialogue.
Define Your Purpose
Yes, your system can record membership prospects, private event prospects, golf outing leads, former members, waitlists, yacht club slips, golf lessons, and much more. But what is the data that you want to build intelligence around? Work with your team to answer these 3 questions.
1. What is the board asking of you?
2. What are your members asking of you?
3. What are your employees asking of you?
This is the data that will determine the internal structure of your system. Again, the reaction is to “import it all.” Fight the urge and import what matters. That will help your focus and success. It will also help to identify your data gaps, which will lead to answers for step 2, what members want.
Fill in the Blanks
You know what you know, you know? But what else do you want to know? Where do you have gaps in the information requested versus the information currently acquired? Building your fields within the CRM as well as your member marketing will capture the data that leads to a better experience.
Think beyond the standard member data to truly personalize the experience. Consider identifying a member’s affiliations with companies, other clubs, associations, universities, or fraternal organizations. You can also leverage behavioral data like food preferences, purchases, and reservations to get a more holistic view of your members.
If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It
So we’ve answered the ‘why’ and the ‘what,’ but don’t forget the ‘how’. Together with your team answer the following questions.
- How are you using this intelligence to ultimately manage the relationship?
- How will you respond and react to the data?
- What decisions will be influenced by this information?
- How will your member interactions change given the intelligence?
Once you’ve followed these steps and answered these questions you can now begin the tactical execution. Gather the data, map the information, develop the formulas and queries – or work with your Clubessential project manager to complete those tasks.
Managing member relationships is an orchestration of data, technology, and resources. By identifying your club’s strategy and purpose at the start, you can evolve from record management to relationship management.