If you’re wondering how to save time and money while improving customer acquisition, then the answer may be training your staff in a CRM. Doing so will allow them to understand what customers are looking for and they’ll know exactly what needs to be done.
This eliminates the need for repeated phone conversations with customers or having to go back through notes from previous interactions. In addition, this also saves time because if someone is using a CRM then there’s no confusion over who handled which account or where that information should go.
Customer Management Relation Software benefits companies in many areas, especially when employees are trained to use CRM efficiently.
The relationships and data stored within the system allow customers to connect with employees more personally. A CRM helps gather all the needed information on a client; with this information, their needs can be met and sometimes even anticipated. First, however, the staff must be comfortable with the CRM.
Understand Customers’ Needs
With a CRM, employees have information about the customers at their fingertips. Businesses need to form a relationship with their customers, and often, this relationship can be very one-sided. The customer knows a lot of information about the company through news, social media, and marketing campaigns. However, a customer can often feel like a fish in the water when it comes to the company knowing them; a CRM helps with this issue.
By gathering any information about the customer, employees have access to all critical information instantly, thanks to the cloud. Any information about the customer is saved within the CRM, organized based on the information contained, and easily accessible when the customer returns with an inquiry.
No more looking through miscellaneous papers, sticky notes and wasting time instead of connecting to the customer. With this information, customers will have less wasted time contacting the company, increasing happiness and return rates.
Forge Customer Relationships
Staff will also begin to remember and forge relationships with the customers. For example, when working with a specific customer on an issue, the team may notice similarities between themselves and the customer. Encouragement to engage with the customers more personally can provide positive moments for both the customer and staff.
Think about past friendships; these are all based on common interests. So, if a staff member can connect to potential and returning customers with common interests, the customer is more likely to have a positive experience and return to the company. In addition, the staff member will have also made a connection, increasing their happiness level. Even if the interaction is completed over a wide area, both the customer and staff have started forming a solid relationship.
This type of relationship-building could not be accomplished without CRM software. The CRM provides ample information about the customer including, interests, previous purchases, browsing, habits, and much more information.
Humans revolve around relationships, so customers who feel they have a connection with someone at a company will often return, especially if these relationships can be repeated when a customer returns.
Training with a CRM
The most crucial part about CRM is usability by the staff. This means the CRM must have an excellent user interface to find information quickly, easily, and then interpreted it. Graphs, colors, and images allow data to be rapidly understood and then explained. Luckily, a CRM with all these features already exists, Salesforce.
This software focuses on you focusing on the customer. The interface is easy to understand and navigate. All needed information is easily seen and interpreted thanks to the Salesforce use of colors and layout. Navigation is easy with large panels and labels. Salesforce also focuses on many aspects to increase staff efficiency when communicating with customers.
Salesforce allows you to save information about customers and previous engagements with a customer service cloud and allows your staff to be flexible when engaging with the customer. Staff no longer has to waste time finding information on the customer since it is all in front of them; the team can focus all of their attention on meeting the customer’s needs and forging a relationship with them.
Valuable information is shown on the screen, including response time, a customer profile, similar cases, and a knowledge center. The staff will have the ability to work smarter with AI when available, provide answers to common inquiries before connecting to a staff member, and personalized customer care.
Overall, Salesforce CRM will provide your staff with the skills they need to connect and meet customers’ needs. In addition, they will have access to any of the information they need about the business and the customer relationship.
How to Train Your Team on Your CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is only advantageous for your organization if the users know how to use its functionality and understand how the use of the tool fits within their day-to-day business processes. This guide has shared eight practical CRM training tips involving planning, getting your team to buy in, utilizing resources, determining best practices, and creating training modules to make the most of your investment.
Determine Which Members of Your Team Need CRM Training
Before even planning for organizational CRM training, you need to determine who will be involved. By identifying the right people, you will also be able to identify how training will be conducted, when, and what the scope of the activity will entail—the “who” should account for both the person who will manage the training and the trainees.
When referring to CRM (trainees) users, most people will initially think about the sales teams. However, depending on which CRM your organization plans on using, other departments should also be part of the onboarding process.
Below are just a few examples of other departments that should be involved in the training process if you plan on using some of the advanced features offered in a CRM:
- Marketing teams: Some CRM providers have features dedicated to marketing content management, such as the ability to create email marketing campaigns, manage social media posts, or create ad forms online, all within the CRM platform.
- Accounting teams: Many CRM systems have tools designed for the financial functions of a business, including invoicing, payment processing, bookkeeping, resource management, and financial analytics. This is generally done through third-party integrations with popular applications.
- Human resource (HR) teams: Commission management has become a popular feature within CRM platforms because CRMs are used for sales development. Commissions are handled mainly by payroll, which a lot of organizations delegate to HR departments. Furthermore, CRMs can also be used by HR teams for employee management functions, such as tracking performance reviews and organizing the hiring process.
- Service management teams: Many CRM software offer project management capabilities and tools for organizing customer inquiries.
The best move to select who will take the lead and conduct the training is typically a manager within a specific department. That person is responsible for either hosting the modules or keeping all of the trainees on track if your business plans on using outside training or training resources offered by the CRM provider.
There are two main reasons why a manager should be the one to take the lead:
- As decision-makers, they will set the procedures and best practices to be used for operating the CRM. For example, suppose a sales team member is inputting a new lead. In that case, you want to set specific requirements for all of the information that needs to be added to the system and ensure all team members stick with set requirements for CRM uniformity.
- Top-down support and enforcement will generate more employee buy-in and commitment. For example, more people will get on board with the training if a Regional Vice President of sales leads the initiative.
Create a Strategic Training Plan
Creating a well-thought-out plan is part of a comprehensive CRM strategy. Your goal should outline segmented timelines, assignments for each training leader and trainee, and the overall objectives for each training module.
When setting an overall timeline for completing the training plan, it’s best to select a date when you want your team to be entirely comfortable using the CRM and then work backward in splitting up and scheduling specific modules. Be sure to be realistic in your desired end date and how everything is segmented.
Once you have a tentative timeline in place, notify the training leaders and trainees on each of their assignments if you plan to use video training, set deadlines for when members need to have each completed. For live training sessions, organize which trainees are to attend and which trainers need to be prepared to conduct the training.
Another thing to keep in mind is when assigning attendees to individual training sessions, don’t waste their time by sending them to modules that their department will likely never use. For example, a sales representative probably won’t need a module about updating inventory information.
The objective of each training session needs to be specific and relevant to the particular module. For example, “Learn how to use the CRM” is way too broad. An excellent way to break up modules and set the objectives is by dividing the features within the platform.
“Learn how to create a new lead” or “Learn how to send an invoice within the CRM” is much more specific and less likely to overwhelm the trainees. Essentially, by completing the training module or session, the trainees should accomplish the preset objective.
Generate Employee Buy-in
Once your plan has been created, get employees on board with it. There are a few critical ways to facilitate employee buy-in:
- Itemize the tool’s benefits. Everyone on your team needs to understand how using the CRM to the best of its ability will benefit both the company and, ultimately, the employees within it.
- Make sure that the company’s decision-makers are the ones taking the lead in the training process. If employees see that management is committed to the plan, they will also get on board.
- Make sure that the training plan is enforced on all employees. By setting mandatory requirements and not giving an employee a pass, they know that the training and transition to the new CRM are critical, not voluntary.
- Respect the trainees’ time and effort. Keep the sessions relevant to the objectives and try to find a way to reward employees who are actively involved in each session to promote a positive learning environment.
Utilize Training Resources
Choosing resources to use for training heavily depends on the organization’s budget, goals, and the tools offered by each CRM. Below are some things to consider in selecting a training route:
- Do your employees prefer individualized training or a group setting?
- Do employees want a more hands-on approach or a straightforward lecture approach?
- Should we focus more on job-specific or general-use training?
- Should we do more training through a video or in a live setting?
The initial training resources that can be used are those directly offered by the CRM software company. This can take either video training modules, documented tutorial guides, or even live sessions from a professional trainer employed by the vendor.
External Trainers or Consultants
While it can be more expensive, many third-party consultants on the market specialize in CRM training. Because of their expertise in sales technology and job training, you’ll be able to ensure a high-quality result.
Internal Employee Trainer
By keeping all of the training in-house, your organization reaps the benefits of schedule flexibility for running a training session and cost savings. Another advantage of this training route is that if the trainer is a manager, they can set all data entry and procedural standards and present them as educational content within each session.
Determine CRM Procedures & Standards
To keep a uniform set of rules and best practices, your organization needs to set standards for using the CRM and ensure they are followed. This is primarily regarding how data should be entered.
Examples include requiring periodic system checks to avoid double entry or requiring all new leads to have lead source information contained in each entry. In addition, proper CRM procedures and standards ensure a smooth process and that reporting analytics are as accurate as possible.
Schedule & Run Training Sessions
Once you’ve determined which training resources will be utilized and the data entry standards that will be enforced, it’s time to schedule and run training sessions, these sessions should include a chance for trainees to gain some first-hand experience with the tool and should feature processes that are part of their day-to-day jobs.
To do this, consider setting up a fictional customer in your software to practice adding contact records or tracking deals if your organization plans on focusing on video tutorials offered by the CRM vendor and set completion deadlines for each trainee.
For live sessions run by the CRM vendor, outside consultant, or employee, find times that work for all stakeholders in advance. Business calendar applications, such as Google Workspace or Office 365, are convenient for scheduling and organizing sessions. One or two hours a day is optimal for training as attendees should remain attentive and still manage most of their workload.
Evaluate Training Results
Once all of the training is completed, you’ll want to evaluate several items to help increase CRM adoption within the company. The first is general feedback regarding the activity. This can be done via one-to-one meetings, surveys, or group discussions. The input should be used for improvement in future training endeavors.
Another longer-term evaluation is whether the training and implementation of the new CRM are beneficial to the organization overall. For example, if many tasks are centralized and automated by the CRM, are those results showing on the financial statements and employee morale?
Financial results, good or bad, will not be seen immediately. Your business needs some time to get in the rhythm of using the CRM functions before any data can be gathered regarding results.
Training should reflect the process
“If you are going to use CRM as more than just a basic productivity tool and drive more value, then you need to use it to support key operational processes,” says Richard Boardman, founder of Mareeba CRM Consulting.
“So, for example, one of the things you might do with your CRM systems is located our customer base in a more personalized and targeted way, to increase the number of products and services they buy from us. Once you have that as a strategy, how you use the system to support that becomes a lot more demanding.
“You need to be careful about the quality of the data that you add to the system, for instance, you need to monitor and check it, you need to have some processes around people who opt out and some processes around what you do if you get a returned piece of mail or a bounce back.
There are all sorts of information you’re going to need to capture about contacts and organizations if you target your communications correctly, like distinguishing between people who have bought certain products but not other products.
And therefore, there is a lot more process goes into how you manage and update the system to do that. So as part of your training, you need to explain not just how the software works but also how they are expected to use that software to support the organization’s processes.”
Get key stakeholders involved early.
“Get the key/super-users and end-user trainers involved early,” says Darron Walton, MD at De Villiers Walton. “Key/super-users need to be engaged at the design stage and the end-user trainers no later than the user acceptance testing phase, preferably sooner.”
Don’t limit it to classroom training.
“The problem with classroom training is that some attendees are not going to soak it in – they’ll have their minds on other things, they’re on their Blackberrys, or they’re called out on an urgent call,” says Boardman. “There is an underlying assumption that if we train people, they are going to go off and use the CRM system consistently and systematically. But that doesn’t happen. So in the background, you need to be monitoring people.
“The normal approach is people only address issues if someone is screaming ‘I don’t know how to use this!’. The people help them. But there is a much larger group of silent users who aren’t going to cause a fuss but will not use the system. So you need to take a proactive approach to say ‘is he using it, monitor his usage patterns, yes or no, and if he isn’t, then we are going to book a meeting or drop by his desk and take some proactive measures to ensure he is trained up’.
“There are several ways to do this, but the underlying thing is to proactively go out and find out who is using it and who isn’t using it and have a strategy to address the non-users. For example, I’m a great fan of having people walk the floors and drop by people’s desks and find out if they are struggling with anything.
That is a very effective way of servicing training issues that people are experiencing.”
Use training to establish good practices – particularly regarding data input.
“If a rollout of new software is being undertaken, then this is an opportunity to establish good working practices right from the outset,” says Samantha Kinsley, managing director at 2e2 training.
“This can be as simple and ensuring that data is always entered in the same format; for example, that names and addresses are always entered in Title Case (CRM systems are databases, and some databases read data entered in different cases as different records, so JOHN SMITH would not be the same as John Smith). Data can often be entered into a CRM system in different ways, so a best practice rule may be to ensure certain data is always entered in the same window in the same way.”
Don’t overlook the management.
“The management is in a position where they can avoid it – they are very busy people with a level of authority, so it is not difficult for them to determine that there are better things for them to be doing. But it is a bit of a mistake when that happens because they are not really in a position to monitor if their team is using it if they are not fully au fait with the software themselves,” recommends Boardman.
“It just sends out a message to the rest of the team that maybe they don’t need to engage in the process. So it is essential to pick up that group and make sure that they do attend training and to back the training program, particularly that middle management layer, that is a key battleground for user adoption.”
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