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Maximizing ROI from Your CRM

Leveraging a CRM is an excellent way to increase ROI. It can help you manage your sales process and boost customer loyalty. However, not all CRMs are created equally. 

The CRM space is a competitive one and it’s hard to know which system will work for your company. 

Key ways you can maximize ROI from your CRM.


Tech stacks are getting more complicated by the day. Marketing Operations, Revenue Operations, Sales Operations, IT, Analytics, and Executives—we are all doing business using digital automation, including integrations, that allow us to target and interact with our customers and prospects in more meaningful and rewarding ways than ever before.

Take a moment to consider. Are you using a single unified app or platform to grow your revenue strategically? Or are your teams still operating in silos and spreadsheets while losing out on opportunities to make a more significant impact?

If you are like many strategic marketing and revenue leaders, your various specialized sales, marketing, and technology platforms such as (MarTech), Marketo, ZenDesk, Sales Loft, and so many more—generate a lot of last-mile data analytics. 

You have more data and insights, but it can be not easy to unify them into one big picture. Teams spend so much time doing their best to get that last mile of data to load or maintain expected week-over-week growth. 

This leads to more IT projects, longer lead times, more business resources doing integrations or manually inputting spreadsheets, and ultimately burnout or growth slowdown.

You already know insufficient data can sabotage your business. But good data buried under layers of apps and reports can be just as damaging. Time and resources currently spent on compiling and reporting last-mile data can prevent your business from reaching its full potential and focus your most talented people on poorly identified and prioritized opportunities instead of driving natural new revenue channels and targeting the correct accounts, roles, etc decision-makers.

Infighting Between Sales & Marketing

A lot of businesses struggle when it comes to getting the best ROI from their CRM Implementation. The usual complaints include phrases like:

  • “We implemented ‘XYZ’ CRM, and our sales haven’t shot up.”
  • “My users are spending a lot of time on manual data entry.”
  • “Our users are still using the old methods/tools of sales.”
  • “I am spending a lot on CRM subscription, and not sure why.”
  • “Our CRM doesn’t seem to show exactly what’s happening.”

Sounds familiar?

Data has often been the decisive factor between successful and unsuccessful businesses. For example, data is valuable when qualifying leads for the Sales department and showing which marketing campaigns lead to closed sales.

But these insights can be missed due to the ages-old infighting between the Marketing and Sales departments. If Sales and Marketing don’t work together, the insights from the data may become useless. So the first thing to do is to get both departments in a room to map out common goals and discuss how to use the data to achieve their individual goals. 

Furthermore, it is always helpful to have mutual benefits for both the departments to encourage them to work together.

Focus on Force is the ideal preparation for your Salesforce Certification. I’ve spent eight years working with the Salesforce platform in various roles (including business analyst, project manager, consultant, solutions designer, and solutions architect), and worked my way through 10 certifications in order to move up the career ladder. 

Not Acting on Your Data

Salesforce Certifications are tough

Which is exactly as it should be: they actually mean something to the real world, and you’ll bring tons of value to the company or clients when you pass the exam. As a result, having a Salesforce Certification (or many) under your belt carries a considerable salary premium. By setting yourself apart from your uncertified peers and becoming extremely well acquainted with the platform, you’re able to benefit from new job opportunities, promotions within existing jobs, and instant credibility. 

One of the significant features of any CRM application is its ability to create reports from your business data. The proper CRM application can present data in an almost effortless pre-formatted account. But this analysis will do you no good if it is ignored. So what should you be doing then?

Take the time to read the reports and understand and act on them when needed.

If your data could speak to you in your language, it would tell you one thing for sure, “Act on what I’m showing you”. But, unfortunately, often, companies don’t act on their data, and the ones that do are the ones that succeed.

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Not Building ‘Relationships’ with Customers

Building Customer Relationships

CRMs are excellent tools to connect with your customers and build long-lasting relationships with them. However, the experts warn you against assuming that everything is well and acceptable because you’re connecting to your customer with a CRM. 

Building relationships with your customers is an evolutionary process. Be aware that customers tend to evolve and change, and your business may need to grow and adapt to their ever-changing needs.

Low User Adoption

User adoption is a frequent challenge when it comes to CRM deployments. Low user adoption has been noted as one of the top contributors to the list of things, due to which CRM engagements may fail.

One of the best ways to achieve successful CRM user adoption is by defining roles for each team and its members within the project. Involve your team early, from the start to the end of the implementation process.

Moreover, do not skip on the training part. Make sure that the users are taught how to use every aspect of the CRM they will be utilizing.

Furthermore, make sure that user adoption is encouraged at all levels of management. From the CEO to the occasional team members, everyone should know how to use the system. This further promotes other personnel of the organization to learn the system as well. Read the tips to increase user adoption of CRM systems.

Hence, the question arises; what are you supposed to do to maximize CRM ROI?

Choose a Cloud-Based CRM Solution

All major CRM companies offer cloud versions of their Software. But why should you choose this Software as a Service (SaaS) model? This would mean that you no longer need to deal with servers, software issues, and new version upgrades.

Not only do you save expenditure on hosting, having an in-house system, and an IT expert (which costs much more than the subscription), but you also get excellent efficiency on your CRM system, with industry-level data security. Understand why cloud CRM is more secure than on-premise CRM for SMEs.

Integrate with Applications That Provide Value

Integrating your CRM with other helpful business and social applications cannot be stressed more. Such applications may include Marketing Automation, Accounting Software, and Telephony integration with CRM. 

More potential integrations include Email tools (Like Gmail) plus essential social tools, which allow your company to follow people, information, and groups on social networks, while also capturing real-time data. Learn more about what CRM integration tools you may want.

Allow for Mobile Integration

CRM Mobile Integration

It is not possible to have a business without someone handling the sales. It would help if you made everything accessible on mobile devices for your salespeople so that they can work on the go. They should be able to review correspondences, manage contacts and accounts even when outside the workplace. Learn more about using mobile CRM for Sales.

These integrations should also ideally work with back-office systems, social networks, and web conferencing applications. This makes you fully covered to tackle any sales and customer experience challenges that you may confront.

Choose Features Wisely

Focus more on integrating features that matter to your business and less on the parts you don’t need. Many CRM systems aren’t tailored to fit your business needs. Investing in additional features, CRM integrations or customization, automating critical workflows and business processes within your system can take it to the next level. All this will further help increase productivity and thus increase your CRM ROI.

Focus on Transparency

Enabling transparency should be a priority for your company. Transparency helps save time and reduce errors by allowing everyone in your organization to access the same information. For example, in many cases, the marketing team has no access to sales-related work. 

So do make sure that every team has decent access to data within your CRM so that they can adjust their lead nurturing strategy accordingly. After all, being a central database providing its users with up-to-date real-time information is one of the features of a CRM solution.

Upgrade Your CRM Application

It is an excellent step to keep using the latest CRM software version available; else, you probably might be missing out on some ROI-enhancing features. Newer versions tend to have up-to-date functionality, more integration hooks, and customization-ability for mobile and social networking technologies, quickly translating into higher productivity. 

An upgrade can lead to business process improvements in lead management, campaign marketing, and overall access to a greater variety of customer data.

Key Takeaway!

Time and time again, we all read about the importance of becoming customer-centric. But, is it the key to becoming successful?

Yes! Just look at Apple. Despite its size, it welcomes customer criticism with humility and acts on the data received. But, on the other hand, the businesses that struggle are the ones that either do not listen to what the customer is trying to tell them, or if they listen, fail to act on it. 

This is where a good CRM comes in. It lets you achieve these goals quickly, efficiently, and seamlessly. But this happens only when you take notice of the best practices that have been outlined. Focus on them, and you are sure to see your Sales Pipeline overloaded with happy customers; after all, that is precisely how industry experts help companies best maximize CRM ROI.

Tips to increase ROI of your CRM

Choose the right CRM technology

Technology Deficiency

Technology deficiency is one of the most common factors that prevent a business from extracting optimum gains from the CRM investment. And this is precisely why it is advisable to do exhaustive research while choosing a CRM solution.

Quoting the words of Kate Leggett – “Investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) product or suite shouldn’t be overwhelming, but it does require research…you should have a clear understanding of your objectives and the issues you hope to solve as well as the must-have features you need in a CRM product. 

The next step is evaluating the various tools, weighing their strengths and weaknesses, to help you determine the best CRM software for your company.”

Businesses that follow the above-suggested procedure do not have to experience hassles of system performance shortfalls. The CRM system supports their end-to-end processes, is usable and deployed in an agile manner. Most importantly, data migration, acquisition, quality, and governance happen smoothly.

Focus on the right CRM Developers

The onboarding process for CRM is always the most challenging. In the survey conducted by Forrester and Customer Think, 38% of respondents cited problems such as slow user adoption and difficulties in aligning the organizational culture with new ways of working.

The problem of user adoption crops up because most businesses do not provide adequate attention to change management and training. As a result, they underestimate CRM’s change in business processes, work practices, roles, and responsibilities.

Moreover, they expect 100 percent adoption rates for CRM processes and technologies right at the beginning. This is unfair as it takes some time to learn and accept new business processes and supporting technologies.

The best way out is to introduce CRM gradually in the Process. Sessions should be held highlighting the benefits that both the business and employees will get from the CRM. Adoption rates for CRM will automatically soar up once the employees have a clear idea of the benefits.

Businesses can implement reward schemes for those who provide better customer engagement and service using CRM to make further the situation favorable.

Define the CRM Strategy

CRM Strategy

CRM is not magic, Period. Its ROI is equally determined by the strength of the technology you choose and the stratification you do about it.

Quoting the words of Eric Felipe-Barkin – “Enterprises often have unreasonable expectations. Perhaps fueled by the siren call of vendors who tout sales cycles that have dropped from 80 days to 60 days and increased customer support capacity to the tune of 60 percent, they go into a roll-out thinking that a CRM solution is going to take care of itself. 

That it will just automatically whisper the right words to salespeople to close sales and divine the best outreach campaigns for marketing teams.

This attitude costs a lot. Since businesses only do the implementation and walk away, they get to use not more than 30-40 percent of what the tool is capable of. In other words, businesses themselves cancel out the 100 percent efficiency gains CRM can provide to them.

Hence, businesses must take time to define objectives before proceeding with implementing a CRM solution. Once the objectives are well-documented, the next step should be on creating a fundamental strategy, i.e., how will CRM be used to accomplish the said goals?

Having a clear set of objectives and goals ensures that the business uses the CRM in the right direction and gets the most from the technology investment.

Set the proper Process

The survey conducted by Forrester and Customer Think reports that 33% of respondents faced problems grounded in the week or insufficient definition of business requirements, inadequate business process designs, and the need to customize solutions to fit unique organizational requirements.

This emphasizes the importance of setting the suitable Process designs before applying technology. Similar to defining the CRM objectives and strategies, businesses need to invest time and effort to make subtle adjustments in the operations, ensuring that CRM smoothly fits into the work process.

In addition to these four crucial areas, two more pointers lay the groundwork for optimum ROI from CRM investment.

Start with small CRM goals

It is observed that many businesses fall short of realizing full benefit out of their CRM investment because they aim for the bullseye at the start itself. This is because their first goals are shockingly overwhelming and over-complicate what they are trying to achieve through CRM.

This puts unnecessary pressure on the end-users who are already tackling the challenge of learning new technology. Collectively, both these factors lead to the doom of the CRM investment.

So businesses should focus on small successes at first. Initially, they should keep CRM goals and objectives relatively modest, which should be increased in size and matter with time. This approach also fosters better user adoption as employees become more comfortable trying the CRM with smaller goals.

Act on the CRM insights

CRM Insights

CRM is not a robot or a triggered bullet that improves customer relationships, minus any human effort. Instead, it’s a tool to define and implement a customer-focused business strategy. So once businesses have the CRM by their side, they should not consider it the end but rather the start of a journey. Throughout this journey, it is their onus to analyze the CRM data, extract insights, and act accordingly.

So if CRM shows that one of the most profitable customers has a pattern of purchasing in the holiday season – that should set off alarm bells and whistles to the sales team to proactively contact the customer and cross-sell products that he might be interested in.