The reason no one in your agency uses your CRM is they see little gain from spending time and energy updating it.

I remember a time when in client meetings we would boast of the thousands of people in our CRM and the number that were in contact with. This was a time when your ability to find a candidate faster than the competition depended directly on the CRM. Even then entering candidates into the CRM was a grind, but you it felt like it was worth it.

If you needed a candidate today, how many places would you look before you decided to search your CRM?

How much time would you spend before you searched your CRM?

For most recruiters – searching the CRM is one of the last places they look.  Research conducted by Lisa Jones from Barclay Jones found that only 17% of recruiters check their CRM first when they have a new vacancy. (their managers thought 90% went to the CRM first!!) This is why Greg Savage is right to call most candidate databases a ‘candidate graveyard’.

The reason most recruiters do not use their CRM is because it plays little or no part in their success.

Does this mean you should stop wasting money on your CRM?

Naturally, there is a yes and a no answer.

If you want to continue seeing your CRM as a database of candidates that you only use when you need 3 or 4 candidates for a vacancy at short notice –  Then my suggestion would be that you can live without it.

If you want to see your CRM as your primary tool for marketing – For building your brand or for winning the battle for “front of mind awareness” in your niche then you need your CRM now more than ever.

This is because, finding and engaging candidates through job adverts, CV databases & Linkedin is becoming less effective.

Even before Google jobs hits the Europe’s shores, internal recruitment teams are more effective than ever in attracting candidates that were previously the preserve of niche recruiters.  Candidates are more and more weary of the daily spam they get on Linkedin.

Imagine a world where clients called you with vacancies and candidates approached you when they were looking for a new opportunity. Or when you approach a candidate or client, say your company name and they don’t respond with “who are you again?”.

This is why tools such as Candidate.ID have so much potential for recruiters. Tools like this focus on helping recruiters build ongoing relationships with candidates and clients.

The challenge is that a “marketing centric” approach to using your CRM is a medium to long-term play; And most recruiters are motivated by things that will help them make money today rather than things that could make them money in the future.

This means that motivation to keep your CRM up to date is often non-existent. Without the relevant data in your CRM, it becomes impossible to conduct any sort of targeted marketing programme.

How to you motivate your teams to keep your CRM up to date?

How do you motivate your teams to keep the CRM up to date?

1: Minimum Requirements

Make sure that any you keep a “compulsory” requirements to a minimum.

I remember sitting in systems meetings where there were 10 – 15 pieces of compulsory data to be entered on every person put in the system.

With CV-Parsing technology and email-sync, much of the basic data-entry has been automated. However, recruiters still need to add key insights to client records to help ongoing marketing efforts. The key is to minimise compulsory updating.

2: Show the Benefit

One of the reasons recruiters hate data entry is that they see little personal benefit from it. This is because, whilst managers drive input they often do not invest in training to help recruiters get their data back out again.

How many of your recruiters can search your CRM for a list of all open vacancies or candidates generated in the last 30 days?

If your answer is not ‘All of them’. Then I ask, “how much time and money have you spent training your team to use your CRM?”

This was one of my key motivators for creating CRM’s make it hard to access to core pipeline data. What recruiters need is instant access to their pipelines, but CRM’s make this hard to do.

3: Use for Coaching and Review

One of my favorite leadership principles is “inspect what you expect”.

When it comes to CRM usage, inspection is key. However, most recruitment leaders do it wrong. They treat inspection as a ticking exercise rather than an opportunity to coach and support their teams.

Imagine you want to help a junior recruiter improve how they approach business development. One approach is to sit down and tell stories “back when I worked a desk….” or you could sit down and bring up their target or lead list then start helping them get more from what they have already done.

Using the CRM’s the basis for coaching conversations allows advice to focused on skills that the recruiter wants to improve.  And if their list is not up to date? Then the managers asks “How can I help you if the information we need is not on the system?”

The key difference here is that the goal is to help the individual recruiter achieve success rather than to simply check a box.

4: Positive Compulsion

Finally, there does need to be some element of compulsion.

Whilst data entered may not help the recruiter this month. It will help them and the whole business in the weeks and months ahead. I imagine everyone in your organisation is paid a base salary every month regardless of how much they bill.

As such they have a responsibility to provide basic data that helps other functions in the organisation.   They also need to provide information to help the leadership team run the business (sales forecast etc).

The challenge for many business leaders is that when they were recruiters they hated managers nagging for data entry. Now they feel hypocritical compelling their teams to do something they hated.

If this is you, then my message is to get over it – it will cost you your long-term success.

In summary

The CRM is not dead. However, for you to make it work for you today and in the future, you have some work to do. How do you do this? Well as the old adage goes “you catch more bees with honey than vinegar”. So rather than relying on compulsion, focus on demonstrating more direct benefits from CRM usage, such as more candidates, more leads or improved coaching from yourself.

It is a long road but the results will be worth it when the inbound leads start arriving.

Want to know more about how to do this?

Watch the replay of the Recruiting Gym: How to Motivate Your Team to Use Your CRM.

About Alex Moyle

I have spent the last 14 years helping 000's of recruiters be better at what they do. My goal is to make recruitment simple. I love using analogies that connect a recruiters job with the things they have already experienced. Please comment or ask questions below, I try to answer everyone. To stay updated with our latest blogs and videos sign up below.