Modern CRM solutions enable companies to manage and access customer and sales data across their entire digital ecosystem by integrating data from email, social media, phone call records, live chat, and more. There are two distinct use cases for CRM. The first is to manage and drive sales and the second is to improve customer service, relationships, and retention.
7 ways a CRM system can improve business performance
1. Have a laser-like focus on customers. CRM systems enable you to centre your sales and customer service processed in one location, enabling you to streamline how you engage with customers and prospects easily. This is both a huge time saver and improves your customer experience. Happy customers are more likely to purchase your products/services and become loyal to your business.
2. Integrate sales, marketing, and customer service. By marketing, sales and customer service, you streamline each of the stages of the buyer’s journey so customers and prospects have a consistent experience throughout. Teams can also share critical data quickly and better collaborate, improving overall organisational efficiency.
3. Centralisation of all data. By having all data centralised in one location in the CRM, fewer mistakes are made in sales and customer service. Having a single source of data also enables you to have a more accurate picture of business performance and areas for improvement.
4. Automating mundane admin tasks. Many CRM systems allow you to automate admin tasks such as email followups, appointment setting and updating data records, freeing you up to spend more time on high-impact areas of the business. Other tasks that a CRM system can automate include:
- Lead capture
- Inputting orders
- Lead assignments
- Lead nurturing campaigns
- Promotional email sequences
- Answering common queries with chatbots
5. Create workflows. Workflows are commonly occurring tasks that happen in a sequence to get a job done. You can create workflows in CRM systems for nurturing leads, issuing quotes, and closing a customer service query among other things. Needleless to say, this saves time, ensures consistency in how work is done, and enables a business to quickly scale up sales and customer service teams as the business grows.
6. Make customer interactions easy. CRM systems can serve as a hub to resolve customer queries and because they can integrate in with social media, chatbots, and email, customers can be sure to have a seamless interaction with the company, wherever they are engaging with your business.
7. Create custom dashboards. Modern CRM systems allow you to build customised reporting dashboards that enable you to monitor the most meaningful metrics for your business. Tracking sales appointments, sales, or time to resolve a customer query is all possible with custom CRM dashboards. Custom CRM dashboards can help you to identify areas that need improvement so to deliver an optimal customer experience and maintain sustainable growth.
How do you know if the CRM is right for you?
1. Your prospects have multiple contact points. If your potential customer has a variety of contact points throughout their sales journey, there is a risk that information get lost along the journey. A CRM system can help you to organise this process so that your sales and customer service teams are all aligned when communicating with customers and prospects.
2. You’re relying on excel sheets and messy processes. A CRM stops you from relying on a batch of scattered excel sheets and fumbling your way through sales and customer service tasks. It gives you action points, reminders, and reporting data so you can focus on getting the job done quicker, and measuring your performance. CRM systems also empower you with accurate sales forecasting to help identify ways of improving and streamlining your processes.
3. You lack clarity over sales performance. CRM systems ensure that your deals and prospects’ details are organised and up to date which allows you to monitor how well your sales efforts are performing and you are on track to hit targets.
4. You have a long complex sales cycle. Many sales cycles last for months and include a multitude of stakeholders that need to sign off before you can close the sale. With multiple stakeholders and a sales process stretching out over such a long time, it’s easy to forget what stage of the sales funnel they are in and what was mentioned in the last call. A CRM system allows you to record and review the complete sales history so you can pick up where you left off.
5. Running marketing campaigns. Whether you are running paid ads to generate sales, running lead capture campaigns, email marketing or have an outbound contact center, a CRM allows you to integrate all initiatives into one centralised location, making it easier to measure and drive sales from all marketing efforts.
How to optimise your CRM
5 ways you can make the most of your CRM system.
1. Develop your CRM strategy and train people. Having a well-thought-out plan is critical to ensure the adoption of the CRM system. Discuss and collaborate with colleagues on this to ensure that everybody buys into the new way of working. Once the system is fully set up and configured, be sure to train up everybody that will be using it to ensure a seamless transition into the new way of working with the CRM.
2. Customise your settings. Customising your CRM to reflect your sales process allows you to get the most out of the system and your team. Think about your existing processes and how they will be adapted within the CRM system. Accurately mapping your sales journey is a good way to start this.
3. Migrate your sales data into the CRM. Most CRMs allow you to upload a CSV file of your contacts, deals and any companies you are currently working with so that you can bring in information about your current prospects and opportunities. Doing this correctly allows you to easily get the new system up and running.
4. Integrate any other tools. Centralising your sales, marketing and customer information within the CRM will give you a full view of any prospects and customers, removing the need for your sales professionals to waste time manually entering data. Taking this one step further, you can also integrate your lead capture, email marketing, call data, email marketing and web analytics tools into your CRM system to give a complete view of overall sales and marketing performance.
5. Set up your CRM dashboard. You can customise the CRM reporting dashboard to help you get the exact data that you need in a visual format. This can give you a clear overview of the performance of your sales and marketing efforts.
8 tips to get the most out of your CRM system.
1. Regular maintenance: Ensuring that your CRM is updated is the best way to get the most out of your leads. Your CRM system is only as good as the data that it holds. It is important to regularly update and maintain the data that you have on deals, customers and customer service queries to get the full benefits of the CRM system.
2. Beware the bells and whistles: With many hundreds of CRM systems to choose from, it is easy to be seduced by the latest faddy CRM touting ‘AI’ bells and whistles which usually command a price premium. The advice here is to ensure that you have a clearly defined set of functional requirements before evaluating CRM systems to ensure that you get exactly what you need, at a price point that is manageable for the business.
3. Avoid overly technical systems: Most CRM tools are user-friendly but do ensure that you find a solution that is easy to navigate and understand without the help of an IT expert.
4. Ensure robust data security: CRM systems store all of your customer’s personal details, including their names, contact details and buying habits. Make sure you are protecting their (and your) valuable data by choosing a CRM system that is ISO 27001, PCIDSS and GDPR certified (depending on your requirements).
5. Email integration: Most CRM systems integrate with Google Workplace or Microsoft Outlook but it is worth checking that your email service provider is supported by the CRM tool that you are evaluating. Most CRM systems offer email tracking when email accounts are integrated. This means that when a sales email is sent from the integrated email account to a prospect, the CRM system will track and report if the email has been opened or the email has been clicked on. This valuable data can help you priorotise the most engaged prospects within your sales pipeline.
6. Data accuracy: If the data being inputted into your CRM system is not accurate, things will quickly go wrong. Many CRM systems now include data validation in them, preventing you from entering inaccurate data (for example an email without an @ symbol) and they also prompt users to fill in the complete set of information about a prospect when a new prospect is added. To get the most out of the CRM system, focus on accuracy when inputting data.
7. Segment your leads: Choose a CRM tool that will help you categorise and segment your leads into the sector, deal size, type, conversion probability etc. This will help you priorotise the most promising leads and spend time on those leads and deals that are most likely to convert.
8. Ensure the CRM is accessible: Using a system that allows you to respond to client requests, manage and act upon them from anywhere will help you stay on top of the game. Many modern CRM systems are accessible via browser and have mobile apps to ensure you can keep up to date on deals and customer queries, wherever you are.