Many training providers (approx 80% at my last count) have invested in CRM, but as this survey demonstrates, few appear to be using it to their full potential.
CRM was born out of the need for colleges to demonstrate how responsive they were to employer needs and the effectiveness of their employer engagement in order to gain funding and achieve a kite-mark accreditation.
First came Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) accreditation, swiftly followed by Action for Business Colleges, a kite-mark that set out to demonstrate how good a college was in servicing employer demand for training. After a rigorous inspection over a number of days, if the college matched up to the high standards of the accreditation, they were awarded the status of an Action for Business College. This, in theory, was the assurance that employers needed in order to engage with their local college for staff training.
In order to demonstrate how many employers it engaged with and to achieve these accreditations, many providers invested in a CRM system. Some were off the shelf, others were bespoke, with costs ranging from around £5,000 to £50,000. A big investment at the time, but necessary to prove that providers had relationships with employers. Training staff on CRM can be a costly and time consuming exercise, so once the peacock display to TQS inspectors was over, most ended up just using the CRM system as a repository for employer contact details. TQS is now defunct as a result of the withdrawal of government funding, but employer engagement by providers is now the norm, with market forces demanding a quality service.
CRM is the mainstay of many a commercial business, and in these times of cost savings, reduced funding and efficiency drives, it makes good economic sense to revisit your CRM to see just how hard it is working for you.
A good CRM will have all your employer contacts on it, and each employer record will show which staff member is dealing with them, what they have procured in the past, whether they are a live or dormant prospect, what stage any current negotiations are at, what correspondence there has been with them (e.g. copies of emails) and the value of their business in funding or commercial income shown as pipeline activity.
So if you don't actively use your CRM, It's time to dust it off and ask yourself the following:
- Are all employer related transactions recorded on the CRM system?
- Is it used for marketing activity?
- Is it used to monitor sales performance?
- Can it predict a sales pipeline?
Using CRM for business growth may mean re-engineering workflow processes, but if done effectively your CRM will be able to nurture your existing clients, and give a snapshot at any time of where your business stands in relation to staff performance, targets and sales/funding income. It can even be used to demonstrate pipeline activity to support growth cases for additional funding.
Universities have taken one step further and many now use CRM to record and follow up all enquiries and applications from potential students.
Most of us only use a fraction of what any desktop software can do, there are likely to be many uses for even the most simple CRM that you haven't yet explored.
Don't overlook this goldmine, it's time to blow away the cobwebs, dust down the CRM, embrace the technology and use the information it can give you to improve your staff performance and business development/marketing activity.
For a comprehensive review of your CRM and its potential, contact us. And if you don't have a CRM system? Get one!