It’s no secret that Customer Relationship Management has become a necessity for businesses of all shapes and sizes. With customers demanding more from the companies they choose to do business with, it is essential to have a CRM system in place to keep up with your customer needs.
But how can you optimize this process? In today’s blog post, we’ll talk about some ways you can make sure your company is maximizing its CRM potential. Let’s get started! First off, what are email campaigns? Email campaigns are just as they sound; they’re when a company sends out promotional emails to their customers or contacts through their email marketing service provider (EMSP).
The effectiveness of your business’s day-to-day operations is the best indicator of whether your customer relationship management (CRM) software is performing to expectations.
CRM is revolutionizing the way businesses interact with customers, but are you integrating CRM into your business in the best possible way?
Learn how you can transform your business with the following CRM best practices.
Always update customer information
A CRM system is only effective when the data it provides is current. For example, suppose the customer’s address, company name, or preferred contact method has changed. In that case, your staff should update the information immediately, so your sales and marketing teams are always equipped with the correct information and will know how to respond accordingly.
Use purchasing history for upselling opportunities.
It’s easier to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. With your CRM, you can boost your sales performance by analyzing your existing clients’ purchasing history and designing promotions or events just for them.
For example, if they recently purchased a razor from your online store, you can program your CRM to recommend related products like shaving cream or aftershave. Not only does this widen your profit margins, but it also makes your customers’ lives a lot easier and promotes repeat business.
Automate your processes
Since many of the tasks associated with data entry can be automated, take advantage of the workflow automation features in CRM apps to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive functions.
For instance, when new leads are added to your CRM (via newsletter subscriptions or website visits), you can program your CRM to send follow-up emails, offer promotions, and push other marketing efforts to keep your business at the forefront of their attention and to help them remember your brand.
This saves you from writing the same canned responses while also making sure that you’re engaging your clients throughout the entire sales process.
Learn from analytics
CRM can analyze customer trends and behavior. For example, if you notice a spike in demand for certain products and services during the holidays, be more aggressive in pushing them out the following year. If specific email campaigns were more successful than others (e.g., higher open rates, click-through rates, and potential customers), understand what elements were responsible for that success, and try to replicate them the next time you send a newsletter.
Customer data should also be used to shape sales and marketing tactics. For example, a salesperson who already knows the client’s name, location, and preferences can deliver more targeted sales pitches and a better chance of closing a deal. The point is this: If you’re not learning from your data, your business growth will be limited.
Integrate CRM with other business software
Incorporating CRM software into other programs makes it even more powerful. For example, integration with accounting software combines customer and financial data, eliminating redundant manual data entries and providing more insightful reports. When used alongside a VoIP system, your staff will get relevant customer information from multiple databases displayed on one screen when they’re about to make a call.
Get some CRM support.
Work with a CRM provider that offers 24/7 support. Ideally, your provider should keep your data safe, update your software regularly, and advise you on using complex CRM features.
This may seem like a lot but remember: like every technology investment, CRM requires active participation from executives, managers, and frontline staff. If you need more advice on keeping customers happy or want to know what technologies can add value to your business, call us today.
Important Optimization Tips
1. Automate the basic tasks
When asked why they’re not automating, many business owners say they don’t have enough time. And while you’d expect them to be selling most of the time, actual sales comprise only a third of their daily tasks.
Why should we all automate? It is simply because gaining traction with customers is not a one-time thing.
Rather than a destination, this is a journey that requires a lot of input on your side, and some of the tasks it involves can be overwhelming. Luckily, you’ve got your CRM tool to help you get the job done.
Task automation is probably the most useful CRM feature you haven’t explored so far. For example, instead of putting busy sales agents in charge of scheduling calls, you can set your CRM to complete that for them.
You can also introduce automated emails for new and returning customers, redirect them to your knowledge database, and use hundreds of other automation tricks to spare time for more critical tasks. In some cases, your CRM vendor will even allow you to write effective scripts to automate tasks not already in the system.
There are many sales automation functions to choose from; all you have to do is identify what best fits your organization.
To relieve some part of the administrative burden, CRM vendors are thinking of making automation even more efficient. HubSpot CRM, for instance, offers automatic lead rotation to help managers assign tasks evenly. Another popular innovation in this system is the auto-creation of functions and deals intended to shorten administrative work and letting agents focus on what is essential – selling! There is almost no part of your workflow that can’t be automated with HubSpot CRM.
2. Gather business intelligence from your CRM metrics
A good CRM tool will improve customer relationships and provide valuable insights into your business’s health. If you didn’t learn anything from it over the years, you’ve been underestimating its power.
The most significant benefit of using a CRM system is that customer intelligence is aggregated in a single source of truth. This means you can easily pull out and analyze all sorts of behavioral patterns; easily relate them to causes, channels, or even agents; and lose no time coming up with the best solution. With such a possibility at your fingertips, it’d be a pity settling down for basic reports and statistics.
Plus, CRM software specializes in adaptive sales enablement, and there is plenty it can do for you before you’ve started selling. This goes as far as evaluating prospect buyers’ expectations and teaching you how to approach different target groups.
Better yet, professional CRM software such as HubSpot covers a wide range of KPIs (key performance indicators) used to measure the effectiveness of customer engagement. The KPIs you may miss are email click-through rates, several lost opportunities, average response rates, and many more.
3. Create and maintain profitable customers’ portfolios
With all customer data gathered under one roof, you get a historical and cross-channel view of how you’ve dealt with a particular customer/issue. You can easily navigate your entire communication on a specific case and predict what customers would be after in any scenario.
This is how CRM software keeps your service consistent and how it turns quality relationships into a recognizable standard.
Let us give you few ideas on what you can do. First, to help agents deal with specific interactions (especially the new ones), you can pull out service guidelines and create playbooks based on previous interactions. It is a win-win strategy, as returning customers already know what to expect and are more satisfied with your service.
Instead of guessing who your most profitable customers can be, you can use your CRM to distinguish them and prioritize their requests. Note that this won’t mean leaving all other customers aside – instead of that, you’ll only make sure that essential requests are handled at the right time and by the right person.
4. Put your CRM in the center of your marketing strategy
Another thing you probably haven’t tried is using CRM intelligence for developing marketing campaigns. Yet, it provides some of the most crucial insights on approaching a particular market, and it often reveals the most successful tactics.
In short, forming lasting relationships will be much easier if you approach customers in the way they want to be closed. That’s what your CRM teaches you, together with cues on which market is most interactive, which products/services are most wanted, and which support channel gets the most traffic.
If you didn’t integrate your CRM tool with your marketing system, now is the right time to do so. There are loads of benefits you can realize from observing CRM marketing best practices. You can also consider productivity kits that offer synced CRM, marketing, and sales tools, such as HubSpot.
5. Sync your CRM to other essential tools
Since we tackled the topic of integrations, let’s discuss why it is essential to sync CRM systems to other tools you’re using. The uptight connections to marketing, sales, and help desk tools are self-explanatory, but there are some exciting connections you may not have thought of.
The account data gathered in your CRM can support the work of all enterprise systems used to manage your sales. It is a well-known fact that an Enterprise Resource Planning system is never enough. As an idea, you can connect the CRM to your ERP solution and add a single, fully automated inquiry management process for all clients. The CRM tool should also work in synergy with your calendars and email service providers so that there is no need to double-enter information.
Last but not least, your CRM must (without any exceptions!) be connected to your social media profiles. The reason for this is social listening – the conversations taking place on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn impact your brand’s reputation, and you should be aware of them at all times.
Create a uniform system for data entry
If everyone using the CRM is in charge of their data entry methods, you’ll have a hard time finding anything you’re looking for. Reporting will be difficult, if not impossible, and duplicate data will clog up your system.
The organization is your friend. Create clear guidelines for data entry.
Have a code for CRM processes like:
- Tracking phone calls
- Logging conversations
- Adding deal notes
- Setting appointments
- Scheduling calls
- Creating follow up tasks
How can you run a report on customer interactions when there are 15 different ways to indicate a conversation? How can you track customer information if everyone is adding it differently?
Guidelines for data entry give you actual, actionable results. You will have more precise reports and insight into the areas your sales process can improve.
Consistent customer information also helps you evaluate performance on an individual level. For example, you can see where each rep is succeeding or underperforming.
Uniform data helps reveal big-picture trends in your sales process too!
- The average number of sales conversations needed for sale
- Common reasons for lost deals
- Length of the sales cycle
- Average deal size
- Overall win rate
- Total pipeline value
Get more out of your data and improve your CRM return on investment (ROI).
Consistent data helps you lower your customer acquisition cost and hang onto your customers for longer.
Use data hygiene to get people to use your CRM.
What if your team doesn’t use your CRM – even though it has all the features you technically need?
Why would people not use a tool that’s tailor-made for them?
- Lack of training
- Complexity and overkill
- Fear of corporate oversight
- Unclear value to reps
These problems are more common than you might think:
- 83% of executives say the biggest challenge is getting people to use the CRM
- 22% of issues reported with CRM are due to insufficient user adoption
- 40% of sales reps don’t even use their CRM and rely on more traditional tools
So how can you promote user adoption and data hygiene at the same time?
Turn it into a game.
James Wong, CEO of Avidian Technologies, says, “With CRM software, a good starting point is to have the team start entering their sales contacts. Then, once they have fully incorporated this process, start tracking sales with the new system.”
Start small. Make sure that the contacts and information they’re adding is consistent with your system.
When your users master the task at hand, move them to the next level. Your CRM is being cleaned, and your users are being trained at the same time.
“Continue adding new elements regularly until they are using every function of the new solution in their daily routine.”
Never let unclean data into your CRM.
Never let data into your CRM system without cleaning it. Otherwise, it will pile up, and you’ll have a mountain of insufficient data on your hands.
Data pollution occurs when:
- Integrations are faulty or misconfigured
- Humans make errors
- Data is changed within a business process
Identify the source of the data pollution and systemically correct it. Then, put on your detective hat and follow the faulty intel.
- If the source is an integration, you’ll have to play with the configuration until the data transfers correctly.
- If it’s human error, best practices #2 (create a uniform system for data entry) and #3 (use data hygiene to promote user adoption).
- If a business process is a culprit, you may need to simplify or break it into smaller pieces.
Optimized customer data = optimized CRM.
Marketing information best practices
In our information-driven world, you begin to learn about a sales prospect or lead from the moment they become aware of your business:
- Social media ad impressions
- An intro conversation at an event
- Site tracking information
This is marketing data. It can tell you a lot about a potential customer:
- Product/service interests
- The content they have interacted with
- Level of engagement
CRM best practice: Marry your marketing and sales data
What can you know about a lead before you ever make contact with them? More than you might think.
If you’re taking advantage of the available tools, you can answer most of these questions:
- How did they find out about you?
- What channel did they come from?
- Are they on your email list?
- Are they engaging with your content?
- What are they interested in?
The sales process begins with marketing. Studies show that 88% of your prospective customers have started to judge your business before you ever talk to them.
Conclusion: Is your CRM optimized?
Your CRM exists to help you effectively manage your customer relationships.
These nine best practices for CRM optimization will improve your ability to do that. As a result, you’ll get more out of your data, reduce the cost of your customer acquisition, and hold onto your customers for longer.
Narrow your focus to these four key areas and improve your CRM ROI:
- Data hygiene and organization
- Use your marketing data
- Integrate your other data sources
- Automate where you can
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