Enterprise software systems are truly having their day in the sun. Data from HubSpot indicates that 61% of sales people use CRM systems.
It goes on to say that customers that engage with a business via a CRM system are 20 to 40% more likely to convert. Other research shows that the average return on investment from a CRM tool now stands at $8.71 to every $1 invested in it. Impressive, huh?
If you read carefully, that’s the average return. Which means there are companies that are achieving much higher ROIs with their CRM systems. What are they doing right? Here are some thoughts…
Begin with the basics and build on it later
A fundamental mistake that most companies that invest in CRM systems make is that they opt for the highest end version, with every possible bell and whistle in the book as they start out on their CRM journey. Not the smartest idea.
Any new tool can be difficult to master in the beginning. A tool as sweeping as a CRM can be seen as even more challenging by internal users. Avoid making your CRM tool into a scary monster by keeping it as simple as possible. You can add on features, reports and more later as your teams get more comfortable using the tool.
Invest in training
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Not knowing what to do with a complicated CRM tool has put off way too many sales and marketing professionals from getting the most out of these powerful platforms. Before rolling out the system officially, carry out in-depth training sessions that allow potential internal users to get their hands dirty on the tool.
Don’t forget about training once the tool is rolled out. Many CRM tools offer self-learning modules that can help users refresh their skills from time to time. Set up periodic training sessions to help users with certain problem areas or simply to upgrade their skills to the next level.
Encourage maximum usage
A large majority of CRM systems that fail, have lack of universal adoption as the most critical reason behind the failure. Sales teams see the whole process of data entry as tedious and non-productive, marketing teams don’t bother linking their campaigns to the CRM as it’s viewed as a “sales only” tool.
Avoid a situation like this by strongly insisting that all sales and marketing team members use the CRM tool regularly. Show them examples of successful CRM implementations and demonstrate the benefits of faithful adoption to the company’s bottom line.
Assert the need to capture customer information from the first point of contact to every single meeting or touchpoint thereafter. This includes basic profile information to key observations about customer pain areas and requirements.
Establish consistent taxonomies
CRM tools are no good if the data they hold is not consistent across the company. Create a coherent company-wide nomenclature for every category name, customer profile detail, title and comment. This makes sure that details about each customer are understood by all users in exactly the same way with no data loss in the process.
Develop rich client profiles and keep them fresh
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As discussed earlier, a CRM system is only as effective as the data that populates it. Once you have your nomenclatures and segmentation in place, make sure your CRM is fed with the most detailed information possible about each user.
Go beyond basic profile information, to include things like past experiences of users with products like yours, their current expectation levels, even off hand remarks that can yield useful mileage in future interactions. Including pictures of each user alongside their profile ensures a personal connection between your sales teams and users.
All of this data can be leveraged to send out minutes of each meeting to users accompanied by a personal note. Not only does it strengthen relationships, it will ensure all parties are on the same page.
Customer data is not a “fill it and forget it” type of thing. With time many data points change, customer needs evolve, even key contact people move on. Each of these changes ought to be captured in your CRM system to keep it robust and productive.
Sync your tools
Let’s say you had a basic website that you recently upgraded into a full-fledged ecommerce site. If you leave the subscribers of your website out of the list of your potential e-commerce customers, you’re doing your new business a huge disservice.
Similarly, to get the most out of your CRM, integrate it with your marketing automation, email marketing and productivity platforms. Linking campaigns in your marketing automation system to your CRM tool will tell you precisely which users responded to which campaign at which exact point in time.
Website analytics like Google Analytics can be linked to CRM tools like Salesforce to help you determine user behavior in real time. Things like pages visited, click patterns, content they show interest in, devices used to access the website and its content are all critical inputs that cannot be fathomed without this cross-linking.
Linking your social media management platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite to your CRM is another mission critical aspect of getting more juice out of your CRM. A marriage between social and CRM will help you develop a richer user profile. You’ll now know what your users do in their leisure time, what their key influences are and what would be the best ways to convert them into paying customers.
For best results, go mobile
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We saw how mobile has become an imperative for websites and online content in 2015, thanks in no small way to Google’s Mobilegeddon.
The logic that drove websites to make themselves mobile friendly is the exact same one that says that your CRM needs to be mobile optimized too. Sales teams are usually on the go and the smartphone is their steadfast technology partner. By making sure that your CRM is mobile friendly, you essentially make your sales teams’ lives easier and make it simpler for them to input or retrieve data from the system in seconds.
Studies show that integrating social media with the CRM tool and making the CRM mobile friendly can together drive sales productivity up by 26.4%.
Over to you
How many of these steps have you implemented with your CRM platform? Did you use any other smart move to keep your CRM productive and efficient? Share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you!