CRM can be a big topic! 

So, to get you up to speed quickly, we've put together a CRM A-Z to provide you with a broad overview of the topic. 

Scroll though the post below, or simply jump to a letter of your choosing! 

A B C D E F G H I  J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

is for...


A valuable feature which timestamps all of your activities and interactions within the CRM system. This makes it easier to follow a process and understand the involvement of other team members.


CRM solutions can be integrated with accounting software enabling you to create a more holistic view of contact records and transactions.


Your CRM systems can be used to track activities. It can work like a daily diary, reminding you of the actions that need to be taken on different records within the CRM system, whether related to individuals or organisations.


Ensuring adoption of your CRM system by your team is key to CRM project success.  How do you do ensure adoption? By engaging representatives from each business function at the very start of your CRM project.


Data contained within the CRM system gives you an insight into how your business is performing, thus enabling you to make key decisions based on real data and information - not simply gut feel or instinct.


Have you ever considered how automation can work within a CRM system? Many monotonous tasks can be automated, quietly happening in the background whilst helping to omit human error. And those humans that were doing these tasks previously can now be repurposed to do more value-adding business activities. 

is for...


To get the most value from the CRM system within your organisation, adoption of best practice from the start of your 'go-live' is recommended. We recommend that you ensure all modules within the system are understood by your team throughout each phase of the project. This should be done through structured training as well as on-going support.


In any organisation there are monotonous admin activities that take place on a regular basis.

Some of these tasks could be managed quietly in the background saving you valuable time and costs but ensuring they are done efficiently and on time.


Most organisations seek to grow. As they do so, they often outgrow the manual processes that they created during the business start-up phase. Finding a solution to automate those processes, and that is scalable in-line with your business needs can be a challenge.  You need to consider your business growth plans and ensure that the CRM  system that you choose is for for purpose not only now, but in the future. The CRM system that you choose might be with you for the next decade!

is for...


Of course C is for CRM, but what does it mean? Customer Relationship Management. CRM is both a software solution (CRM system) and a process which enables an organisation manages its interactions with prospects and customers. By monitoring your interactions you can increase your chances of making a sale, and of keeping your customers in the long-term.


It's typically quite difficult to justify on-premise software solutions in today's world. Cloud-based solutions are more scalable, lower cost, and often lower complexity. They're also well-suite from the off to support remote working. 


Do you have contracts in place with clients and customers, yet you're not entirely sure where they are? Or when they run from and to? Or even what's been agreed? A CRM system provides the ability to record contract start and end dates as well as track status e.g. expired, active, suspended. This information is crucial to business operations for a whole host of reasons.


If you have a support function within your business, it is likely that you have some sort of case management system in place. Case Management is a core capability of many CRM systems.

is for...


CRM is much more than just a database for contacts. When data within a CRM system is managed effectively it gives you the opportunity to see how your organisation is performing, enabling you to make critical business decisions based on the reported data.


A dashboard gives you real-time insight from the information contained within your CRM system. So, if you need to access information anytime, anywhere at the touch of a button, a dashboard can usually be. created  specifically for your business needs.


It stands to reason that the information you glean from your CRM system is only as good as the data contained within it. Data cleansing or data cleaning is the process of identifying, correcting or deleting records from a data set or table. Keeping data up to date is an ongoing task that is crucial to information accuracy.


Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. CRM can be a key driver of your digital transformation. 

is for...


Email marketing can be integrated into your CRM system providing reports and statistics linked to your customer and prospect records. At CRM Insights we work with  Workbooks CRM  and Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions. If you're looking to integrate email marketing with your CRM system, one of the solutions we help people to implement with Workbooks is Gatormail from Spotler. It allows statistics feed directly into your CRM without having to log into another platform to analyse your activity.


Your CRM system makes event planning much easier. Marketers can plan, organise and promote live events, webinars or training courses direct from the CRM system. Other Benefits:

✔️ Easily publish events on the website

✔️ Attendees can sign-up online (and pay if appropriate) and Workbooks is automatically updated with attendance details.

✔️ Send emails automatically prior to, during and post events.


ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) and CRM systems are 2 very different solutions. Whilst some ERP solutions include rudimentary CRM capabilities, a more effective approach is often to integrate your CRM system with your ERP solution. Through effective integration of ERP with your CRM system you ensure a reliable data flow between the two systems. This can save valuable time preventing data duplication and rekeying of information into two different systems.

is for...


CRM is definitely not a 'one size fits all' solution. If you are in the solution research stage, you may be looking at sector specific solutions. Or you may consider a highly configurable solution that offers a range of different features. There is no generic right or wrong solution - it is about determining what's right for your business. 


When choosing a CRM solution, it is important to focus on the outcomes you need and would like to achieve for your business. 


Let's face it, no-one likes to fail - yet without the proper research, we frequently hear of CRM system, implementation failures. In fact, people often approach us after they have initially chosen the wrong CRM solution. It's important to get it right first time when you are investing in a solution for your business.

If you need help with any of these challenges, then schedule a free consultation with one of our CRM experts. 

is for...


One thing to consider when looking at a CRM solution is:- will it grow with you as your business grows? Thinking about scalability may not always be at the front of your mind, but it is an essential consideration.


The dust may have settled on GDPR, but it most certainly has not gone away! Your CRM system will host personal data. You must ensure that it remains GDPR compliant.


Like anything in life, there's an easy way and there's a hard way. When it comes to choosing a CRM system, the latter approach means going it alone. It means not benefitting from the advice and guidance of experts who have been there and done, and who know all of the pitfalls and risks. If you're looking for the easy way, then seek guidance from expert consultants.

is for...


"How do we get started?'" Often the first question that we get asked. Why? Because CRM can be such a minefield, and knowing where to start can be overwhelming. The best place to start is with an assessment as to whether CRM is an appropriate solution for your business needs - spoiler alert - It might not be!


If you have a customer service or customer support department within your business, then you may use an online customer service platform for logging queries. Many of these solutions can be integrated with your CRM system to ensure rapid interaction between businesses and customers. Case Management is also available as a module offered by some CRM solutions.


HTML - or 'pretty' - emails are more likely to grab the attention of the receiver vs. plain text.  Yet surprisingly it is anticipated that up to 66% of readers never download the pictures from a HTML email! Email integration with the right CRM should provide you with the option of either plain text email or html emails.

is for...


To ensure a successful CRM implementation, there are some key factors to consider at the outset:

  • Support from the leadership team
  • Clear project objectives
  • Identification of champions
  • Involvement of users from an early stage
  • Data migration
  • Transition, migration and training
  • Choose the right CRM solution partner (who will help you to map out your processes as part of the project)


If you already have existing systems in place - such as an accounting solution - it may be appropriate to integrate them. Integration of other systems can provide seamless workflow, and should be possible via an integration platform or via an Application Programming Interface (API). Integration requirements should be determined during an initial process mapping exercise at the start of your project.

is for...


If you've ever downloaded a 'trial' of a CRM solution, one of the things that may have prevented you from fully trying it out is having to input data in order to just get started. This is why, at CRM Insights, we provide a demo of the Workbooks CRM solution that you can 'Jump' straight into as it contains pre-loaded data.  Learn more here.


In some situations, organisations wish to get started on their CRM journey quickly. For the Workbooks product that we support, a JumpStart programme is available which provides: 

  1. A pre-configured Workbooks CRM database
  2. A set of pre-defined sales and marketing processes based on best practice.
  3. Implementation services including data import and user training

By using the JumpStart Programme, you can be live with CRM in a matter of weeks, helping your organisation to find more sales opportunities and close more deals.

is for...


There are several stages before the kick-off of a CRM project. Our approach prior to kick-off is as follows:

✔️ Ascertaining the right fit for each other

✔️ Process Mapping Workshop

✔️ Delivering a report to you on the mapping and phasing

✔️ Kick-off - Getting started on Phase 1


Do your research and make sure that you are choosing the right CRM solution and provider for your business.  CRM is complex, so it's important to choose a provider that has specialist knowledge.

KPI's (Key Performance Indicators)

Every business needs KPI's, and there are core KPI's that can be provided from data within the CRM system. Some of the available measures include:

  • Close rate
  • Upsell rate
  • Revenue
  • Pipeline stages
  • Length of sales cycle
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Profit

Measuring performance through the CRM system enables an organisation to gain insight into areas of their business to improve upon.

is for...


Implementing lead generation/marketing automation tools into your CRM helps provide insight into what is and isn't working for your business. Leads feed into a sales pipeline giving you reports on timescales and the sales cycle.


Do you know the lifetime value of your existing customers? CRM can support the data and deliver real time reports to  give you a clearer picture of the customer relationship and the value to the business.  It can help you to assess whether your customer journey is working and identify opportunities for improvement.

LOOK UP (postcode/address finder)

Some CRM systems enable you to enter a postcode and 'Look Up' to populates data into the correct fields. This saves time and increases the accuracy of data in your CRM system. 

is for...


Marketing automation helps marketing teams to automate campaigns, generate and nurture leads, and qualify sales-ready contacts. It helps with better segmentation, campaign management, lead scoring and nurturing.


If you work in territory sales, then a mapping module is useful as it helps you to plan your schedule based on the number of customer or prospects within a chosen radius. All you need to do is to enter a postcode into a lookup field, followed by the chosen area radius you wish to visit, and the CRM system can populate a list of customers and prospects in that area.


In this instance I am not referring to the city but the methodology we use for process mapping the requirements of a CRM project. What does it mean?

  • M -  Must have: critical in order for the business needs
  • S - Should have:  important but not business critical in the current phase
  • - Could have:  desirable but not necessary & if it does not affect anything else on the project
  • W - Will not have: a requirement deprioritised to a later time, delivery won't be this time

is for...


Nurturing sales leads is the process of developing and building relationships through stages of your sales funnel. With a nurturing process using your CRM, it helps you to build trust, plus communicate using integrated marketing tools to provide prospects with information until such time that they are ready to make a purchase.


NPS is a measurement of customer experience and will help you monitor whether you are delivering the level required to help support business growth. 


Sometimes, if an organisation is overwhelmed by too much information, a lack of buy-in from the leadership team, or even concerns with timelines, this can cause inaction. In other words, the nothing! We always recommend that you start with a business process mapping workshop.

is for...


When is a sales lead an opportunity? Every organisation takes a different view on when a 'lead' becomes an 'opportunity'. For us at CRM Insights, we determine the actions of a demo or pricing request as that catalyst for a lead becoming an opportunity. Your CRM system should be configurable to enable you to determine your precise sales process steps and standard actions. 


Office365 is a cloud-based, subscription version of Microsoft's popular productivity suite Microsoft Office and it integrates seamlessly with CRM. For example emails you send to your customers/prospects can be appended to their record inside the CRM.  So no more searching for lost emails, you can just look in one place!


Order processing is a key activity that should be supported by a well configured CRM system,. There are many different activities and your exact needs should be determined. The activities can including:

  • Supplier management
  • Quotations
  • Order creation & processing
  • Contract management
  • Automation
  • Order fulfilment
  • Multi-currency 
  • Real-time reporting
  • Subscriptions & renewals

is for...


As with any project, it is important to identify what needs to be achieved to make a project successful. At CRM Insights, we start this with your chosen CRM team/champions and map it out using the MoSCoW prioritsation technique in a Discovery Workshop  (for details see post A-Z of CRM: Letter M)


As with most projects, a CRM implementation should be phased. A gtypical phased approach would be as follows:

  1. Planning
  2. Build
  3. Migration
  4. Testing
  5. Training
  6. Go Live


Your sales pipeline is the heart of a business: no sales = no business! So it's important for an organisation to understand at what stages prospective sales are currently at. A CRM system provides a central and single source where you to keep track of your live opportunities and real-time report on status. This can include detailing  your overall pipeline value, the value per stage, and when each opportunity is predicted to close and it's probability of a win.

is for...


CRM can deliver insightful reports to help you make crucial business decisions.  However, it does require quality data in the first instance. Yet data is constantly changing - contacts at your clients and customers leave the organisation; your sales funnel stages change; your pricing changes; and so on. It is imperative that throughout all of these changes, the data in the system is kept up to date. 


When asked to provide a quote, how long does it typically take you? Some CRM systems, such as Workbooks, provide CPQ capabilities - that is, Configure, Price, Quote. This enables you to simplify and automate  to some degree complex quotation processes, thereby empowering sales teams to build quotations quickly and accurately, using a guided quotation process.

is for...


If you're not currently using a CRM system for your daily/weekly/monthly reports, then you may have to log-in to several different systems or locate several different spreadsheets to find the information that you require. A CRM, on the other hand, provides you with reporting capabilities. Typically generic, out-of-the-box reports can be pulled off, and you can create bespoke reports for your exact needs. Reporting is often available in real-time. 


Another question we often get asked at CRM Insights is:- "What is the cost of a CRM implementation and what is the expected Return On Investment (ROI)? Naturally, this depends on the size, cost and complexity of your needs and any resultant project.  There are also many different ways in which a CRM solution can benefit a business. To see some examples, and to help consider what benefits you might achieve from a CRM solution, browse through our case studies where we profile the business challenges we've helped clients to overcome, and the benefits that a CRM solution has delivered. 

is for...


A business without sales is... well, not a business, surely?! Therefore, every organisation should have a firm grip on their sales pipeline and the opportunities within it. This is a key feature and capability of a CRM system. It can help you to manage yours sales leads, providing reports on the different stages of your sales funnel, along with timelines, probability, and projected revenues.


Do you ever conduct surveys? There are many different survey tools can be integrated directly into your CRM. Surveys have many different uses, but ultimately they help you to profile your customer, and ideally to positively impact upon customer retention.


When choosing a CRM solution for your business , a core consideration must be scalability. Will the chosen system be able to grow with you as your business grows?


When choosing a CRM solution another consideration is that of data storage and where, precisely, will your CRM data be stored. Some organisations may be legislatively required to store data onshore or be limited to the countries in which data can be stored. This is a key concern when choosing a potential solution.

is for...


Tailored templates made available within your CRM system help to standardise processes. this can ensure that each step in a process is defined, implemented and actioned all within your CRM.


The success of any new system hinges on how effective the training is for users of the system in question. At CRM Insights we always ensure that training is a core component of our projects. It is normally prudent to undertake training at multiple stages and for all relevant CRM stakeholders.

is for...


The 'user interface' is what the users of the system get presented with. It should be designed, not surprisingly, with the end user in mind. However, without focused User Acceptance testing (UAT) of the solution, you risk implementing something that no-one adopts! You must never overlook the importance of the system's users.


A core benefit of a cloud-based solution is that regular software updates are usually included within the licence cost. 

is for...


Having quick access to information is vital for any business. Reports provided through the CRM system can be created to give you the required information, but that same information may need to be presented in multiple different ways depending upon the audience. Your CRM solution should enable you to define different 'views' of data through reporting.


Voice Over Internet Protocol - or VOIP - is a telephony service which uses the internet to access telephone numbers. A Click-to-Dial integration can be set up with a CRM system to ensure expedient dialling of clients, customers and prospects.


It is essential that you find the right supplier for a successful CRM implementation so make sure:

  • Your problem can be solved
  • You are aligned as organisations
  • Your requirements can be met

is for...


Workflows are the sets of processes that make a business function. Where a CRM solution can help is in the identification, standardisation and conformity of those process workflows. The CRM solution, therefore, improves compliance and brings business efficiency and expediency. Process workflows also reduce errors and risk. For example, ensuring that leads are followed up in a timely manner. 


Workbooks Exchange Server Synchronisation (WESS) is an Outlook integration that can be implemented alongside a Workbooks CRM solution. This provides the ability to view CRM data within Outlook, including:

  • People and organisation records 
  • Activity records 
  • Case records 
  • Opportunity records 


Do you have any idea who visits your website? You may have analytics set up on your website but what do you do with that information? If it's simply patting yourself on the back as the number of website visitors slowly grows over time, you're missing out on the bigger picture! Many CRM solutions provide a website analytics capability that can help you to identify your website visitors, track what they are looking at (pages viewed), and know when the iron is hot and it's time to strike!

is for...


Some of you may be familiar with Xero - a cloud based accounting solution. It has been said above that a business without sales is not a business. Therefore, when you make a sale it is crucial to track the status of a sale and begin the billing process. Xero integrates seamlessly with most CRM solutions. By integrating the two you gain full visibility of outstanding invoices and payments against an organisation record. This can further support your process workflows and use conditional logic to determine the correct next step. 

is for...


Why you? Because you are reading this, the chances are that you're a key stakeholder in your organisation's CRM journey! The success of a CRM implementation depends on several factors depending on your role:

  • Your input as a leader, a project manager, a CRM champion, or a super-user
  • Your engagement with the CRM project and implementation team plus
  • Your honesty in providing the processes that you use

Of course, in the early stages of mapping out your businesses processes you are guided along the way to ensure that all scenarios are covered. However, there are occasions where there can be sticking points.  When things that you suddenly remember, yet have omitted to share with your implementation partner during the discovery stage. This can delay a project implementation at any stage depending on how important it is to the project. 

is for...


Zapier is a platform that enables the integration of many systems that do not otherwise natively provide integration. There are now over 1,500 services that Zapier enables integration with, with more being added all the time.If your CRM system does not natively integrate with your other systems, such as your accounting system, then Zapier might be a solution. 


If you have any questions, would like further advice on any of the things discussed in this CRM A-Z - or in fact any other matters CRM related - then click the button below to schedule a free consultation or even a product demo with one of our experts.