Many of our clients have asked us to help them to solve their derailed customer relationship management (CRM) system initiatives. When we investigate their problem as what exactly went wrong, we usually find that the project team of the CRM was incomplete. The CRM system touches several stakeholders in a company, both outside and within the sales function.

Unluckily, many companies implementing a CRM system don’t remember to include the right people in the planning process, and hence, misses critical considerations that impact the overall success of the initiative. And when this occurs, the ideas aren’t completely thought out and chaos can reign at rollout.

It’s no one department’s responsibility; it’s everyone’s to own the relationships.

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system holds everything that you need to know about your customers. It’s the central hub for all your teams to which they turn to for all of their customer data needs.

Your CRM will be updated with the data from different departments. A group of different people will use it. And it raises the question:

Who should be in charge of your CRM software?

When trying to decide who should manage the CRM for your business, there are the main questions to keep in mind:

  1. What problems are you tackling using CRM?
  2. What does “owning” or “being in charge of” CRM even mean?
  3. Who should use CRM within your company?

What does “owning” or “being in charge of” CRM even mean?

Who should be in charge of your CRM system? If you breakdown that question down even further, you get smaller questions like:

  • Who decides which data should be collected?
  • Who decides how to organize all the relevant data?
  • Who provides people access to the CRM?
  • Who runs the CRM reports?

Usually, a CRM administrator bridges the gap between the end-users and the system.

But, what exactly does that mean?

The CRM administrator role breaks down into 3 key areas:

  • CRM data governance
  • Business process management
  • CRM training & education

Business process management

Your CRM administrator will have the opportunity to implement new processes that boost productivity and eliminate inefficiencies.

How do you leverage technology to tackle challenges in your organization?

That’s the job of a CRM administrator. Facing big, difficult questions, the CRM administrator uses their technical knowledge of your CRM- and your business- to help you get the answers to make decisions.

What kind of knowledge does the CRM admin should possess?

  • Technical knowledge: Mastering the technical side of CRM enables your admin better understand how to translate real-world problems into CRM-speak. And the more technical knowledge, the more creative answers are possible.
  • Troubleshooting: Technical breaks. More importantly, CRM can give quite weird results when the data is organized in a poor or bad manner- or it has been just set up wrong. These types of mistakes can completely break your CRM, so the CRM owner needs to be capable to diagnose and easily fix them.
  • Business knowledge: You click within a CRM all day- but what matters? And what data will change based on how you do business? The CRM admin needs to fully understand your business, or they won’t be able to help you make better decisions.
  • Your Company: Who gets affected most by your CRM? The person in charge of your CRM needs to know, so they can communicate better for about the changes and fix internal pain points.

See where a CRM may be able to support your existing processes?

71% of sales representative say that they spend too much of their time on data entry. Can this problem be fixed with an automated data entry process?

Through the lens of your marketing team, look at your CRM. Think about their roles and where exactly they struggle. How do they know when a lead is qualified and is ready to be passed to the sales team?

Why not build an effective process for lead scoring to track engagement and forward the qualified leads to the sales team automatically?

By understanding more about your business processes and identifying the inefficiencies that your CRM team can build new, effective uses of CRM and helps your company to grow.

Who ensures your CRM data is accurate?

Customer data is updated and added to your CRM all day long daily. There are going to be errors in data entry. And your customer data will automatically become outdated over time. Research studies estimate that 30% to 70% of the customer data decays every year.

Customer data is the lifeblood of your CRM. But the customer data is very harmful if it’s not accurate. Cleaning and auditing your data is important for your business, and a big part of being in charge of your CRM.

A leading market research firm found that sales teams lose up to $32,000 and 550 hours per sales representative annually because of bad prospect data.

Bad customer data will cost your company both money and time.

How can bad data cost so much money?

According to Gregg Thaler, Principal of Business Development at Marketo; contact data ages like fish, not wine… it gets worse as it gets older, not better.

The customer data is always in a constant state of change. While critical data fields change every year.

These include the following;

  • Job Titles
  • Job Functions
  • Email Addresses
  • Organization/Company
  • Phone Numbers
  • Postal Addresses
  • Value
  • Website

Working with inaccurate data, your sales representatives will waste their time calling wrong or dead numbers and sending emails to no one. The effort and time it takes to do this could be spent selling to the prospects that exist and are more interested.

If this data isn’t accurate, you’ll waste your time calling no one!

Bad data, impacts more than just sales. Instead, when the subscriber email list isn’t properly maintained, many marketing emails go to dead ends and bounce back. And your email deliverability decreases and your sender’s reputation drop, and even your company can end up on blacklists.

Your email open rates, response rates, click-through rates (CTR), and sales will drop- all because of bad customer data.

Data governance is a key part of effective CRM management. And whoever is tasked with being in charge of your CRM should periodically audit your customer data.

Following are the seven steps to a data audit;

  • Locate all data
  • Prioritize the data by value to your business
  • Remove any duplicate or incorrect data
  • Resolve any conflicting data
  • Add data where it is missing
  • Create a uniform system for data entry
  • Repeat audit process at least once every year

Your CRM admin isn’t the only one responsible for the health and integrity of your customer data. Other people update and add data daily, highlighting the criticality of a uniform data entry system.

According to Donato Diorio, renowned data scientist; without a systematic way to start and keep data clean, bad data will happen.

Your CRM users need to be on the same page. And when they are not, it’s up to your CRM admin to get them there.

Who handles CRM training & education?


Training and education are keys for the successful use of your CRM.

Many sales representatives see the CRM as a management tool to constantly monitor them choose not to use it at all. Quite frequently a CRM implementation creates more problems than it solves.


If nobody uses your CRM, it can’t be effective. Your team needs to understand it. They need to understand why they should use it.

The way you use your CRM now will change as your company grows- and each of those change is going to affect how your departments interact with your tech. And if tour teams don’t understand the fundamentals of CRM, it’s going to be much harder to adapt to changes.

This is why your CRM admin needs to train your team- to make sure your CRM is used properly even when a small thing changes.

According to a study by Forrester, 85% of CRM failures are caused by the lack of training and slow user adoption.

Your CRM admin should handle the training.

Never underestimate the criticality of communication skills while selecting your CRM admin. As communicating the technical knowledge to non-technical people helps encourage and promote the use of CRM.

A CRM admin can help train people on how to effectively use your CRM. But, who are your CRM users?

Who should use CRM?

There are many use cases for several departments to use CRM, but which makes the most sense for your company?

Now that you understand what “owning the CRM” means for your company, you can think about who should use it.

  • Marketing?
  • Sales?
  • Support?
  • Some combination of the three?

While each department has different uses for a CRM system, and they all manage customer relationships at some point in the customer journey. But, choosing the main department t of users for your CRM will help you a lot to narrow down who should be the in charge of your CRM system.

When should the marketing team use CRM?

Are the following your problems?

  • “Did our team send them an invite to our upcoming next week event in Denver?”
  • “Where exactly did this lead came from?”
  • “How did our ad campaign on LinkedIn performed?”
  • “Does everyone on our subscriber list get our email newsletter? Does everyone on our subscriber list want our email newsletter?
  • “What exactly is this lead interested in?”
  • “Which of these subject lines do you think will get most of our subscribers to open our email?”

If yes, then it seems that your marketing team needs a CRM system. And by using a marketing CRM, you can easily change to;

  • “22 people already RSVPd for our upcoming next week event in Denver.”
  • “She signed up for a discovery session after our last week webinar session.”
  • “We received 30 new leads from our ad campaign on LinkedIn.”
  • “Our email newsletter goes out to about 65% of our entire subscriber email list.”
  • “Our company website tracking data tagged this lead as interested in Personal Development.”
  • “A/B test results favored the subject line D, so we changed to that.”

What if customer support is your biggest problem?

When should the sales team use CRM?

Do the following problems sound familiar?

“They were prepared to purchase but they didn’t. We didn’t have a reminder to contact them and close the deal in time.”

  • “We have 4 different email addresses for this prospect in 4 different location”
  • “We’re spending too much time trying to look through Excel to find any notes for this prospect’s situation”
  • “I can’t keep track of every prospect.”
  • “How many times have we communicated with this prospect? What have we discussed so far?”
  • “They were interested but then they went with some other vendor; we didn’t follow up soon enough.”

The following problems are classic indicators that your CRM system should be used by sales. And by implementing a CRM system to fix these problems, the above-mentioned problems become;

  • “I set a task to follow-up after 2 days and bring the deal over the line.”
  • “Her email changed 4 times, but the latest one is right here.”
  • “Here are some notes from our recent conversation with this prospect. Their timeline is coming up soon.”
  • “I’ve got 12 follow-up calls from yesterday, and 15 follow-up calls from last week’s event.”
  • “Last time we talked, he said they were potentially interested in multiple offering.”
  • “It seems that they’re evaluating a few options, let’s come back again with an offer this afternoon.”

But, what if you have problems higher in your funnel?

 When should the support team use CRM?

Can you answer the following questions?

  • “I don’t know how to help this lead, who should I give this to?”
  • “How long has this customer been with our company?”
  • “How long has this ticket been open?”
  • “What exactly is the issue?”
  • “Has anyone tried to fix this problem yet?”
  • “What are the most common problems our customers face?”

With a support-centric CRM, the above-mentioned problems convert to:

  • “I moved this ticket to a higher priority.”
  • “This customer has been with us since last 4 years.”
  • “This issue hasn’t been fixed in 5 hours, we should focus more on this first.”
  • “She is unable to log into her account.”
  • “We fixed a problem like this just last week!”
  • “These are the 3 most frequent issues our customers are facing.”

When you know which issues you are fixing with the CRM, then you know who befits the most by using it. These are your users.

Who should be in charge of CRM?

Things get completed only if the data that we collect can inform and inspire those in a position to make a difference. – Mike Schmoker

In most scenarios, CRM is used for managing your process of customer acquisition. The problem it fixes is related to making your sales more efficient.

The sales department is responsible for most of the data that gets updated and added in the CRM, and they will be depending on it as their source of truth for all things related to prospect.

The marketing department plays a critical role as well, but less hands-on than the sales department. Marketing data primarily finds its way into the CRM through automation. The process needs to be configured, but after that it’s self-updated.

The support team will depend on the data that is already in the CRM from sales and marketing. They will update and add customer data with any issue or support related information.

The CRM management will fall on each team;

  • Marketing – Engagement tracking and lead sourcing
  • Sales – Customer acquisition and sales prospect data
  • Support – Service data customer history

Your CRM admin should have visibility into the daily activities of your business’ challenges, and where the improvements can be implemented. They should have the technical knowledge, understand your business process, and be able to properly communicate the needs and updates as they unfold.

Following are typical choices

  • The sales operations team lead: This is probably your best bet in the transition of CRM ownership. Particularly, if the people from the sales operation department plays a critical role, and have deep links with legal or finance. Sales operation department need to get things done right so that the contract and the order will successfully make it through the mill, and are generally driven to get results more quickly. Consequently, when they identify a data quality problem on the need for a policy change to avoid, say, a revenue recognition problem, they have the tenacity and perspective to get the job done right.
  • One of the sales VP or perhaps the U.S. regional sales lead: This is not a good plan, as it’s not the best use of a sales manager’s valuable time. And perhaps, more critical is the political angle: If the CRM system is seen as the purview of the United States sales lead, then why should Asian or the European VP of sales giving any attention to it? It’s quite complex to overestimate the internal competitiveness of sales teams.
  • A pre-sales or inside-sales team lead: This isn’t a bad idea, as these teams are generally the most avid users of the CRM system. But they don’t have the budget or power to get things completed on their own.
  • A sales executive or a business development VP whose career has been sidelined: This is even the worst idea because leaving it in the hands of someone who doesn’t have the power to get things done and as it’s undercutting the implied importance of the CRM system.

The most critical thing in choosing CRM administration is defining the responsibilities and who will be using the CRM system. And once you have that, you can assign CRM administration to the best suitable person(s).

Categories: B2B Data

Leave a Reply

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