The integration of portals with legacy databases can produce valuable results for CRM and sales and marketing initiatives. But it really applies to the thinking that needs to happen when you create ways all the information you collect and manage will be used. The difference between a knowledge asset and a resource is ease of beneficial use.
Information in a database is just data. Let's say you have a CRM system and think you've mastered the issue. Chances are, you've only begun to scratch the surface. If you have gained success at getting utilization for the CRM app, that's great. What are you doing with the information you're collecting?
The difficulty with ROI on these kind of projects comes in. The information you collect is a company asset. But, if you can't show that the use of this information is driving results you need to be successful at realizing your corporate goals, then all you have is more information.
The real issue is creating useful ways for your salespeople, customers, partners, operations, and prospects to actually use the information in combinations that can make a difference in how relationships between the company and its constiuents are developed and enhanced. And, I know I keep saying this, but it's more than just the technology.
For each constiutent group/niche, you need to determine what is useful to them. If the goal is to create interactions and build relationships, what are the ways you can combine information in a user-friendly interface that converts interest to action?
Here are a few examples:
- Personalized Lead Generation and Nurturing: When a website user subscribes to your e-newsletter, can they pick an area of interest or do they just get a general newsletter? If they subscribe to Topic A, do they get a follow-up thank you email with a link to a related resource to tide them over until the next newsletter comes out? A user has you top-of-mind at that moment. It's a shame to let them wait for 3 weeks until they get the newsletter. Will they even remember they subscribed and why they did so? And is their information not only updated in their CRM record, but is there a way to see and manage all subscribers to Topic A, including when they subscribed and what lead them to subscribe?
- Account Rep Updates: If a customer or prospect has an interaction with the company and it's logged in their CRM record, is the assigned account rep automatically notified? Do they follow-up?
- Information Awareness: When new content is added to the sales portal for a product that the rep is selling, are they sent an email with a description and a link back? Or maybe it means that new information needs to be available in a variety of different topic areas if it's valuable at different times or crosses the boundaries of interests. For example, a case study may be appropriate for prospects interested in a variety of products. Is this obvious? Does it have an overview that explains why it's relevant to each product and is it available/grouped with each area of relevant product information so it can be used effectively?
With the amount of information generated daily, what tools are you giving interested users to keep them aware of what's new? How can they easily access and use it in a way that's useful and not a time drain? This is why it's important to look at the information you have in your databases and convert it to actionable knowledge.
Things to consider:
- When will the information have the most impact?
- How can it best be used? Or what actions should trigger use or awareness?
A common thing I see clients try to do is to make sure everyone knows everything as soon as possible. Which can be a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming info dump. When it's info dump, chances are it will be ignored. So the challenge, as I see it, is making the conversion from information to knowlege when it needs to happen. Which means you need to really understand each constituent niche and the processes the information impacts.
How do you make sure your knowledge assets become resources?