They’re all gone. Every single customer you had has just walked out the door. No one told you. They didn’t ask permission to leave (why would they?), but rest assured they are gone.
Your phone calls to customers are not returned. Emails are ignored. You’re still waiting patiently for that sales order that will make it all worth the effort. It’s not going to happen. Ever. Your business is toast.
Mike in sales left last week. “Not a big loss.” “Where is he going? Never mind…who cares?!?!”
Mike, the salesman no one was sad to see leave, left with the contents of your entire customer relationship management system (CRM). He also took all your company’s sales manuals as well as your company’s pricing process and cost structure. Mike and his new employer now have all they need to “win” business from your company’s customers. Their calls are being returned. In fact, they just won a huge order from your company’s biggest customer.
CRM is a blessing and a curse. Companies can benefit tremendously from having a complete record of their interactions with customers. However, giving your entire sales force access to your company’s CRM solution can result in exactly the scenario I detailed above (by the way, this is a real case that I investigated).
Think of it this way: you’re having a dinner party at your house for 20 of your company’s employees and significant others. When the guests arrive, you tell each of them to take an unaccompanied tour of the house. Make sure that you have all of your valuables on display, your wallet with cash clearly visible, your watch and jewelry sitting unattended for all to see. What are the chances that something will go missing? Do you really want to take the chance? In the event that something goes missing, how will you catch the thief?
Certainly this scenario is an extreme example to illustrate a point. But that’s the idea. It doesn’t make any sense to let 20 employees and their guests wander around your house when all of your valuables are left scattered around! Yet companies routinely grant employees unfettered access to their CRM database.
My next post will discuss best practices for preventing theft of CRM data. In the meantime, take the time to think about your company’s CRM solution. Would you know if “Mike” from sales had downloaded your entire customer database just before he left the company?
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