An increasing number of companies are coming to realize that one of the essential tools for sustainable success is a robust CRM. The reasons are as diverse as the companies that have embraced the use of CRM. For one thing, companies that consistently use their CRM benefit because it is a tool that becomes a single repository of knowledge that can deliver everything from transparency to accurate sales forecasts to efficient resource allocation to more impactful customer service initiatives.
And those are just some of the more basic upsides that come with utilizing a CRM. The more advanced features and functions allow companies to analyze information to make better business decisions and provide employees additional time to focus on pursuing new opportunities or better serve existing customers. While no single ingredient can ensure that a company will flourish over the long term, a CRM is quickly becoming a tool that greatly increases the likelihood of success.
But the mere fact that a company has a CRM is just a start. That’s because a CRM is only as good as the information that goes into it. Only when employees recognize that consistently inputting information to keep a CRM updated and relevant can it become a tool that lives up to its full potential to improve careers and the overall performance of a business. This is a concept known as data integrity, and it’s one that has to be reinforced and incentivized whenever possible.
While a CRM system with consistently updated data is undoubtedly a powerful tool, there remain challenges to getting all employees on board with using it. The biggest challenge is changing those employees’ habits and perspectives so they are motivated to make the effort required to input data. One reason it’s a challenge is simply because summoning the discipline required to improve a CRM’s data integrity often represents a change in habit, and change is always hard.
That is particularly true when employees view the updating of CRM data as a non-essential, administrative task rather than one that delivers the insights and information they’ll need to flourish in their roles in sales, customer service, or management. There is often a demographic component in the effort to improve data integrity. Older employees who are nearing the end of their careers and have always relied on ad hoc, manual processes to track leads and customer communications will often be more resistant to fully embracing a CRM and the daily work required to make it a powerful tool.
Regardless of the challenges involved, the benefits of a CRM with stellar data integrity are so significant that it’s worth the effort involved to change even the most entrenched behaviors. While some executives may favor a heavy-handed approach that mandates inputting data into a CRM or face public shaming (or worse), a more sustainable and ultimately effective route to improving data integrity can be achieved by having a little fun.
Employing the power of gamification—which literally taps into the competitive spirit we all have inside of us—can be a particularly effective way to motivate employees to pursue data integrity. While the immediate goal is to encourage workers to consistently input information into the CRM, what gamification is really about is employee engagement. If there actually is a recipe for successful businesses, one of the most significant ingredients is engaged employees. Indeed, the polling organization Gallup found that engaged workers are 21 percent more productive than their counterparts.
The enthusiasm with which engaged workers approach their jobs translates into results that are anything but fuzzy and abstract. Gallup estimates that companies with engaged workers have earnings per share that are 150 percent higher than businesses where employees aren’t as motivated.
Companies understand the value of gamification in boosting employee engagement and productivity. For example, toolmaker Ingersoll Rand used software-enabled screwdrivers to monitor how fast workers completed tasks. Those results are then shared publicly and those who are on the most productive shifts win money or paid time off.
A similar approach that employs the good-natured competition that results from gamification could help companies elevate their own data integrity. With the right CRM, tracking which employee inputs data and when is simple. Tying those tasks with awards that are most suitable for your company culture can transform data input from a dreaded task to something that is eagerly anticipated.
But the real rewards for employees, companies, and the customers they serve come from a CRM with high data integrity. When that happens, employees can spend their time serving clients better and looking for ways to expand their engagements. As that takes place more frequently, and workers and managers see the results, games to encourage improved data integrity become less necessary. Then games are more about fun.