3 Easy, But Powerful, CRM Hacks That Will Make Your Day

Easy CRM Hacks

Can you make small adjustments to your CRM that result in big wins?

Recently, I had the pleasure of putting together an educational session called, “Peek Into Our CRMs.” In this session, two SMPS members (Sharyn and Janine) joined me to share exactly how we use our CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems.

It was three different people, who have implemented three different CRMs in three radically different ways.

Yes, it was eye opening. Yes, it was very impressive. Yes, it certainly changed my perception of some of these CRMs.

But the most valuable takeaways were small customizations one of us made that the other two didn’t think of. You might consider them small, but powerful, CRM hacks.

Luckily, these concepts can be applied to nearly any CRM system.

CRM Presentation (Sharyn and Janine get a kick out of my CRM diatribe.)

CRM Hack #1: Identifying Pencil Sharpeners

Sharyn had the most mind-blowing hack. Her firm is a certified DBE and is often in a subconsultant role.

One of the challenges of being a sub is primes will often ask you to “sharpen your pencil.” That means they ask you to lower your price.

But are they doing it for a reason or just arbitrarily?

Sharyn decided to track, in her CRM, every time one of her clients (one of those primes) asked the firm to lower its price. If one of those primes consistently asks for lower prices, she’ll decide to team with a firm who doesn’t.


CRM Hack #2: Tracking Teaming Partner’s Win Rates

Janine also teams, as a sub, with firms submitting as a prime.

As many people do, she assigns a reason why they lost. One of those reasons is “Lost By Prime.”

With this information, she’s tracking how successful or unsuccessful her teaming partners are at winning. And that helps her decide who to team with.

CRM Hack #3: Fore Golfers

Janine also added a little checkbox in each contact record. It said “golfer.”

Why didn’t I think of that?!?! If you know which clients golf, that makes putting together foursomes or inviting people to golf events so much easier.

So simple, yet so genius!

Bonus CRM Hack: Converting Proper Names To Those Actually Used

Matt Handal CRM Presentation (Even a bad hair day won’t stop me from joking about my odd use of CRM.)

I’ve written in the past about my use of Zurmo. One of the customizations I’ve implemented is creating workflows that edit first names when contact records are saved.

For example, one of these workflows changes “Timothy” to “Tim.”

That way, when my CRM sends an email, it doesn’t address people with their formal name. The emails can be much more casual and friendly.

Plus, we all know alarm bells go off when we receive anything that uses our formal name.

I do this for many formal names. Richard and William are the only exclusions I can think of.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you have a CRM hack, a small modification, that makes your life easier?

If so, share with the group by posting a comment.


  1. Similar to the golfer checkbox, we have a check box for historic buildings. It sure makes it a lot easier to find project experience at a moments notice. Same with having a drop down box to choose the delivery method, be it design-build, design-bid-build, P3, etc.

  2. I record names of my contact’s family members and what activities they participate in so I can remember to ask about them during follow up meetings and calls. Friends like doing business with friends.

  3. This isn’t a CRM hack. But back when I was a receptionist, someone called the company and said, “Let me speak to Jim [lastname].” I put the caller on hold, then got on the loudspeaker and said, “James, salesman on line one.” Nobody ever called him Jim.

    Don’t fake familiarity because then you start the conversation with a lie, and nobody wants to buy from a liar.

    I was listening to Michael Strahan’s audiobook and he said good things about a trainer who never called him “Mike.” My mother feels the same way. “I named him Michael, not Mike.”

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