Ensure data integrity by turning CRM usage into a game

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Forward-thinking companies already know the enormous benefits a CRM can provide. The right CRM, properly used, is a single source of knowledge that can deliver transparency, accurate sales forecasts, efficient resource allocation and important visibility into customer service efforts. 

The right CRM can be a foundation for growth and sustainable results. Just having a CRM—which so many companies already do—is one indication that these benefits are becoming part of the conventional wisdom across industries. But there is one big caveat to all of this: CRMs are only as good as the data that goes into them.

Think of it a bit like a car: When a vehicle is gassed up, it can drive beautifully. But even the most expensive sports car is little more than a paperweight if it doesn’t have the fuel it needs to run. For a CRM, that good and comprehensive data is the gasoline. 

The key here is that the data has to be comprehensive. Gathering comprehensive data means that all of your employees have to be using it and inputting data into it, something that’s easier said than done.

Though employees who use a CRM will find that they can be more productive and make more money, it can remain difficult to convince employees to enter data into the CRM on a regular basis. Why employees don’t use the CRM vary. For some, it’s an age thing, younger workers are simply more likely to use technology like a CRM than their older colleagues. For others, they feel like inputting information into a CRM is taking them away from their most meaningful work. 

Without everyone using the CRM companies lose data integrity, and a lack of data integrity causes CRMs to lose their value. So how do you get people to input data into the CRM and ensure data integrity?

Make CRM usage mandatory

One school of thought is to make data entry into a CRM mandatory. That approach could translate into weekly meetings where sales teams share updates on progress towards their quotas. Those who haven’t input information into the CRM will get called out in public for not performing one of the basic requirements of their job. 

That approach can work—and may be the best choice for companies with cultures that emphasize public accountability—but it’s not necessarily the best choice for all businesses. If the end goal is to have employees recognize that a CRM is a powerful tool to help them stay in contact with prospects and customers, track orders, or make planning decisions based on real data, a better approach is to give reasons for employees to think positively about the CRM. 

Gamify CRM usage

One way to do that is by using gamification techniques to encourage widespread and enthusiastic use of the CRM such that employee engagement overall skyrockets. 

Employee engagement is an undeniably laudable goal. In fact, according to research conducted by Gallup, companies with highly engaged employees have earnings per share that are 147 percent higher than their peers. The problem: Only 13 percent of employees around the globe qualify as being genuinely engaged.

How can gaming help drive CRM usage and employee engagement? For one thing, it provides motivations that go beyond career advancement to spur workers to excel. 

One example of how this works comes from the factory floor at toolmaker Ingersoll Rand. Using software attached to its smart screwdrivers, the company was able to track how quickly workers were completing their assigned tasks. This is obviously a good way to measure how productive an individual employee or a group of workers are compared to others. But gamification unleashes our innate competitive natures in a non-threatening manner. With the Ingersoll Rand example, displaying the results of units produced in each shift—and providing rewards, such as financial bonuses or paid time off—makes both individuals and companies more productive.

Put simply, people want to win, and gamification is an opportunity to take advantage of that impulse. Gamification could be incorporated into CRM usage just as easily as it could be deployed on a factory floor. By making CRM data input a field of play and by tracking and rewarding employees for their performance, companies receive all of the benefits of improved data integrity—including accurate forecasts for orders, enhanced customer relationships and increased visibility into overall business performance. 

But here’s the thing about tapping gamification to increase employee engagement and usage of a CRM: Even if employees are motivated initially by their competitive spirits, they will eventually come to realize all the ways that a CRM helps them in their jobs. When that happens, reliably inputting data into the CRM becomes much more than a game. It becomes a necessity.  

Mickey Patton is president and CEO of Clear C2