Why now is a great time to upgrade your CRM

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Certainly not trying to sugar-coat the lockdown (that would be impossible!) and it goes without saying that it has brought its own experiences for us all. But from my personal experience, the last six months have presented lots of opportunities where Recruitment Business Leaders have recognised that their internal systems and processes have perhaps not received the attention they deserve up until now and the lockdown has served as an opportune moment to review and improve where necessary.

This has been a common theme in many of my conversations and I’m glad to see that these somewhat neglected areas are beginning to be spoken about with greater importance. Factors such as #Automation and #AI are helping to push these conversations higher up the ladder but there is still work to do in order to fully reap the benefits of CRM, Technology and Optimised / Automated Processes.

Moving Recruitment CRM has been at the forefront of these conversations and there are some clear reasons why now is actually a great time to be upgrading your current CRM. Worth noting that I explicitly use the word “upgrading” not “replacing” – as this is very much an opportunity to improve not just replace like for like.

Now there are plenty of direct benefits to be had by replacing your current CRM with a better solution – more features, improved workflow to name just a couple. These will no doubt crop up in any sales pitches / demos that you have. So I’ll leave those for the time being.

But what sometimes can be overlooked are the indirect benefits of upgrading your CRM. It is these that give real weight to the reasons why upgrading your recruitment CRM makes even more sense in these times.

Indirect Benefits of Upgrading your CRM:

Data Cleanse

As almost a by-product of a CRM upgrade project, I commonly see that cleansing of data seems to be highlighted as an action to take in tandem with the actual CRM move. It’s easy to see why this is the case and rightly so. I would certainly recommend that any business moving from one CRM to another should conduct an exercise to review their existing data to see what is NOT worth migrating across. Factors to consider here when deciding what to clean up:

  • Redundant Custom Fields
  • What seemed like a good idea to create Custom Fields in the CRM but have they been used effectively to capture relevant data? And will they be used to search / filter in your new CRM? If not, then consider discarding.

  • Candidates and GDPR
  • GDPR (remember that?!) still needs to be a factor when deciding on criteria of candidates to migrate. I’ve seen a few different approaches to this, one route is to migrate all as opted-in (unless they have of course requested removal), but then ensure a communication is sent to request their consent to remain opted-in. Your new CRM should / must have a portal feature which allows this to be done seamlessly by the candidate.

  • Client Contacts are out of date
  • It’s a fact of life is that Contacts will move between companies, but whether your CRM has kept this information up to date is another matter entirely…A quick and easy way to find out is to take a sample of contact email addresses and run them through a tool such as Hunter or Norbert. Update your CRM with the results returned to leave you with a far more accurate (and therefore valuable) dataset of contacts. This exercise also opens up a potential sales opportunity at the company where the contact has left….

Process Review / Optimisation

Processes are strange things right? We know that they are to be followed as a matter of good practice – but even when obvious inefficiencies exist human nature seems to be to carry on because “that’s the way it’s always been done” – a huge frustration of mine is when I hear this phrase!

Processes and Workflows without question will be affected when upgrading your CRM so take stock of as many processes within your business as possible and look to streamline them. Categorise these in two brackets – those processes that are “Essential” and those that are “Enhancing”.

This exercise will open your eyes up to other areas that can also be streamlined. One of my favourite phrases at the moment is “Sound Simplicity beats Sexy Complexity every time” – this is never more true than when designing processes. No doubt initially you will have more in the “Essential” category to begin with, but as you delve deeper, you should begin to identify current or new “Enhancing” processes that can be implemented.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a tip: Look at where you are storing the same data in different locations. CRM / Finance system PLUS spreadsheet is normally a good starting place – and check whether these duplicated instances can be tightened up.

Automation

Technology moves at such a pace that it’s not only affordable but now also fairly simple to automate processes across your business. However, cumbersome and inefficient processes will curb productivity and thus hinder the opportunity for automation. Worth remembering that automating a poor process will actually increase inefficiencies not remedy them.

Whereas in the past, automation has been seen as more appropriate for Back Office departments such as Marketing, Finance and HR (which it certainly is by the way!). However, it is fast becoming apparent that huge benefits can be gained by fine-tuning and then automating certain areas across the Front and Middle Office areas too.

Your CRM – from both a workflow and integration perspective – should support this and so needs to be a factor when deciding whether to upgrade or not. Middleware tools such as Zapier have simplified and opened up the possibilities of automation across different systems.

It’s a worthwhile exercise to check the Zapier website, enter the name of your CRM and see what other systems it can connect to. You’ll quite quickly get an idea of some of the automation possibilities that exist and can be put in place pretty swiftly. If your CRM does not appear here, well then that opens up a separate can of worms….

As you can see, a combination of better tech, processes and data can quite quickly enhance your business to a level that supports your endeavours while being cost-effective. However this will only come from taking an objective view across your business to identify improvements and to then address them.

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