Personal relationships make the biggest impact in sales and organization support. There’s even an old joke about how personal relationships shape our behavior, right down to our most private choices. “Goldberg goes to synagogue to talk to God. I go to synagogue to talk to Goldberg.” You probably know someone who frequents a bank branch, pharmacy or other business because of the relationship they’veĀ  established with the person across the counter. You probably do it too. It makes us feel grounded in a world where we can only count on constant change.

I talked to a friend about this topic just recently. We both served on the board of the same organization and I encouraged him to really start using the CRM I had installed. His response told me volumes about implementing technology in organizations that don’t focus on technology. He lamented that he didn’t want our organization to become just a website. At our business meeting the next day, he demonstrated how badly we needed to use the CRM (CiviCRM) we had in place.

Where do you start?

I’m old enough to remember when most small businesses didn’t rely on digital technology. Often, smaller operations create problems adopting technology without knowing how that technology fits their own goals. I see this especially with websites. A business owner or manager feels that they need a website, because the competition has a website. They seldom ask how that website performs or what they personally want to gain from their own website.

My friend’s problem revolved around notifying new members that they had been accepted for membership. Internal procedures needed to better definition, but simply logging the activity with a CRM would have shown us, as members of the board, the step by step progression of the membership funnel. Furthermore, each event could trigger calendar and email reminders to follow up, with deadlines. That keeps the process moving.

My friend missed how automating many of these tasks and responsibilities didn’t eliminate the human touch at all. My vision of well implemented CRM puts the focus on reminding people to reach out and maintain those vital human contacts. Honest reflection tells us that we do forget. We get busy and distracted and sometimes things like phone calls or personal notes get pushed aside for the urgent problem solving needed “right now.” CRM bring that focus back to you and your team so those human elements and contacts aren’t forgotten.

The focus is personal relationships

The software doesn’t replace the personal touch. We don’t advocate replacing people with technology. My own guiding rule dictates that technology like CRM enhances human behavior. Using software to enhance those personal relationships doesn’t mean form emails and scheduled social media blasts. The best implementation reminds us to pick up the phone to call or write a quick note for email or a text. Making note of a personal information, means that you can follow up with a get well card or just ask how the person is doing. You can congratulate them on a child’s graduation or a recent wedding. A CRM doesn’t replace the interaction. It can make you and your team better at communicating with the real people you serve. Your members and customers will remember that personal touch when you need them.