CRM is it sales or customer care?

CRM or Sales Pipeline

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions are used by businesses for Sales and ongoing relationship management.  Which works best for your business?

This article examines what a CRM is and what it should provide in context and considerations of the GDPR and legal considerations that might apply.

  • Understanding the role of departments
  • CRM to the rescue
  • Insight or Metric

[read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]

Understanding the role of departments

What departments?

Grouping, categorising and naming things helps people especially managers focus on specific parts of complicated solutions.

Many people do many jobs in a business.  In bigger businesses people have clear defined roles but in smaller businesses people need to multitask and deliver in different ways.

So let’s make the complicated simple.

Marketing is the process of inviting lots of people to chat.  A term I refer to as the “opportunity to chat“.

Only a smaller subset of those people will enter into the opportunity to chat with the sales team.

And of those people some will become customer.  The sales completes, the customer passes from sales to customer care where customer care look after the customer on an ongoing basis.

Simples!  Right?


Blurred lines

A sales team calls a list of customers.  This is an outbound sales campaign.  By the definition above however this is marketing and sales.

A sales person stays in touch with the customer they originally signed up to see if there’s opportunity to upsell and cross sell… but that’s customer care?

Business causes blurred lines.  The scenarios complicate very quickly!

Yet no matter who does what job, there are three perspectives.

  • Marketing wants to know how many people got to the point where it became a sales job.
  • How many people were sold to is Sales question.
  • How many happy customers are there and were retained is Customer Care’s focus.

A sales person does not want to do the marketing person’s job but realises marketing can help.  Care also realises marketing can help but doesn’t need any extra work.


Computers to the rescue

No matter the business the computer system needs to be all things to all people.

When a sales person is working with a sale, the system should also be able to cater for the marketing and care needs.

Luckily CRMs solve this by providing three solutions at the same time.

CRMs should deliver for everyone in a business unfortunately not all CRM solutions can.

Solutions generally deliver against a primary focus area, usually sales and consequently spill into the others by virtue of the blurred lines described above.



CRM to the rescue

Sales makes the money

If sales makes the most money we help them first.  So what do they need?

Sales managers appear to start with “Here’s your desk and phone, here’s a list … best of luck!”

There is nothing complicated to this but the challenge is giving information back to the manager.  We mention the dirty word “metrics”.

A metric is a number to allow for objective review of a situation.  How many calls did the sales person make in the day and as a result how many were sales?

The sales person should focus on counting not generating reports and this is where CRM steps in to help.  A CRM should provide basic sales metrics.


Managing feelings and ego

Cold Calling 2.0 Funnel
Cold Calling 2.0 Funnel from

I made 50 calls today and I have 1 sale.  Is that a good sales day or a bad sales day?

Excuses and a defensive posture immediately arise including saying “it depends”.

This is a natural reaction.  When a person puts their best effort in in sales, sometimes the customer is just not ready to buy.  I have been in the selling process and it is physically and emotionally draining especially when the deal or offer falls through after a very promising initial set of conversations.

Selling is not an easy task even if the product is amazing.


Selling requires motivation and encouragement to sell yet metrics can be very deflating as they are objective consequently sales reporting has tried to be more gentle on feelings and describes things as a funnel.

Managing motivation is just as important to reporting for a sales manager.

Managers can maintain motivation using different techniques and approaches including splitting sales teams.

A good CRM provides a sales funnel report which has sales and also “nearly sold”.



How much did that cost?! (splutter, cough, expletive)


If sales makes money, marketing spends money.  Marketing in itself cannot generate money without sales completing the work.  So sales are always the heroes and marketing are always the bad guys depending on the perspective.

For this reason marketing want to know how sales got on.

Let’s say for example Marketing created 50 opportunities to chat and sales only converted 1 of them to a sale, is it not fair that marketing would want to know what happened and why?

For that one sale, they will want some of the credit, the glory, the motivation while the sales person will want to say it was their skill and working with the customer as a result Media Codes are vital.


Media Codes

Media Codes are a tag that follows a potential customer to allow marketing count where the marketing spend actually worked or didn’t work.

GCLIDs, Google Click Identifier are the most famous media codes these days .  These allow Google Ad spending to be tracked and also who found your online marketing using google search.

There are other techniques such as Response Tap which offer effective tracking using phone calls.

For TV and Radio promotion codes such as specific phone numbers or “use this code” allow media codes to be communicated.

“Can I ask where you heard about us?” is the simplest addition to the sales call to achieve this.

Media codes help marketing departments to better analyse their media spend.

A CRM should be able to add information to the sales record without the sales person having to do extra work, or at the very least minimising the effort.


Making the most of a relationship

So as a prospect becomes a customer there are opportunities there to up sell (adding more to the package of the customer for a higher cost) or cross sell (selling a complimentary product also adding to the customer’s bill).

For marketing and sales there is valuable information to be gained here.  Customer care may not want to engage in a sales way and managing the hand over between sales and care can be a complicated internal division.

The CRM should facilitate different views and processes depending on what the customer needs not just the sales interface.




Insight or Metric

What you need your CRM to do

The first thing is that the processes work without a CRM.  You can phone a customer and sell them something without a system.  The power of a CRM is providing metrics and in adding information to the process to facilitate better information to everyone involved.

So what does a good CRM offer?

  • Sales can make use of tools that provide list management, integrate with websites and email solutions, call back and reminder management essentially doing all the boring counting work and leaving the sales person to focus on selling.
  • Marketing want tracking and reporting through the entire sales process and into customer care.
  • Customer care deal with the customer as effectively as possible certainly avoiding haranguing the customer.


GDPR and data security

Slice of PII

PII pronounced pie stands for Personally Identifiable Information.

PII gathers during the sales and marketing process and as a result the more information you have about someone the more data analytics you can perform on them.

Basic information such as gender, age and location can drastically change profiling information and make marketing campaigns far more focused.

Broadcast ads, such as tv or radio ads, present to everyone and a business pays to get the message to everyone.  It is more cost effective to advertise to a group interested in your product.

Imagine you have a female oriented product such as lipstick.  Advertising to predominantly women would seem a sensible approach.

Whilst it is not exclusively women the propensity to buy would be higher amongst females. Marketing departments use this form of reasoning when designing and paying for marketing campaigns.

Cleaning up afterwards

Tidying up is a challenge for businesses.

  • Sales people don’t want to be tidying data they want to be selling.
  • Marketing perform analytics on data as result if there’s no data there’s no analytics to it is in their interest to retain data.
  • Customer care will keep customer data as they need to be able to support the customer.

A business can’t keep information lying around as not only is it a security risk but also illegal under GDPR law.  The business must tidy their data.

Keeping information about an existing customer in order to deliver an effective service is perfectly fine.  Keeping information about a prospect who never became a customer or is a former customer must be tidied up and removed at specified appropriate intervals.  So who in your business is going to do the tidying?

An effective CRM on a scheduled basis cleans up data based on dates and removes the PII but can keep demographic information.  Thank you CRM!


Prebuilt and custom reporting

Metrics are used to review and optimise processes.  I discuss optimising processes here.  They help managers motivate staff and they also provide unbiased key decision making talking points.

What reports do you need?  Sometimes even a manager won’t know what’s useful or not.  Objectivity is a desire not a need for a lot of businesses.

A good CRM support team will provide you guidance on what to look at where and when.

Wallboards, dashboards, gamification and real time analytics all provide manages with useful tools to help them improve and refine their processes.

Sales process engineering refines the sales process.



I have built solutions exactly to business needs for over 15 years and every year people come up with variations on a theme but essential the requirements of the CRM system are the same.

The choice is to change your business to match the system or match the system to your business.  I always choose the later as some change is too drastic for staff to adopt so it is easier to change the system than the people.

If there’s anything in this article you’d like to chat to me about you can contact me here or on social media.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.