Blog Insights
Your CRM in Action: Reporting & Decision Making

Arguably, the most beneficial feature of a CRM is its reporting and data services. A CRM can package your data so that your organization can use insights to make significant and important strategic decisions.  A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is an application that allows organizations to more efficiently manage, track and document customer (or constituent) data and interactions in an organized and systematic way. The benefits of a CRM for mission-driven organizations are many. Overall, they allow organizations to implement a modern, digital approach to how their transactional and customer data is managed and used. Some of the most common CRMs for nonprofits include Salesforce, Raiser’s Edge, and Bloomerang. In fact, several modern CRMs are built on top of Salesforce in order to focus and customize its functionality for a particular use case or type of organization. 

Valuable CRM data for your mission

A CRM provides critical data for your organization about your audience: who they are, what they like, what they do, and how your organization has interacted with them. Learning about your contacts and their preferences gets you one step closer to getting them further engaged in your mission. It also allows your organization to make better decisions around when and how you contact them. Valuable contact data includes:
  • Contact data: identity data and how to get in touch with them.
  • Demographic data: basic data about your contacts such as age, location, job details, etc. While this information may be titled as ‘basic’, it is a crucial level of data that is often the basis for your ability to define and segment your audiences.
  • Transactional data: any data related to a contact’s relationship and touchpoints with your organization. This includes when they joined your database, what their first touchpoint was, what subscriptions they have with you, if they bought or donated something, attended an event, etc. Transactional data is especially valuable for personalized outreach.
  • Behavioral data: data related to contacts’ online activity. This includes analytics detailing browsing and clicking, email marketing data such as email opens, as well as any other gleamed behavioral insights from surveys or polls. Behavioral data can tell you when your constituents are online, their preferences in certain categories, what they search for, and much more.

Using CRM data for decision making 

As your CRM provides you with a wealth of detailed and segmented data and tools, using it to make decisions is where you will have accessed its greatest value. Use your data to make decisions about strategy, marketing, and more. Many CRM’s come with built-in analytics tools that allow you to visualize data and create dashboards to track progress and trends over time. Here are some common areas where you can make real decisions from your CRM data: 
  • Optimizing your overall strategy. As a streamlined and centralized platform, your CRM can help you identify successes and opportunities and makes it easier to make decisions simply by providing all the data in one place rather than in individual platform/silos. You can also more easily extract and compare data about specific goals and initiatives to make strategic decisions around how, for example, your content strategy feeds into your fundraising strategy.
  • Identifying which audiences to target. A CRM can detail the likes and dislikes of your audience. With this information, you can make decisions around how to tailor and create content, services, products, and more, to the specific needs of your audience. It can also help you determine which audiences are responding to your marketing efforts and prioritize your approach accordingly.
  • Defining and building campaigns. By analyzing transactional and behavioral data, you can build informed assumptions about how best to build increasingly successful email campaigns, website content, social media posts, and when the best time is to do each. 
  • Building personalization and segmentation strategies. A CRM can manage your data to create personas and specific profiles for individuals. From here, you can create segmentation strategies and optimize how you personalize content and outreach so that people get what they want and need from you to engage.
If you’re either not using a CRM, or not getting what you need out of your current CRM solution, learn more about how to choose a CRM that is right for you. (Editor: Claire Massey)

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