There is something slightly unnerving about the idea that your business should rely on a lifeline, particularly one that has at times been viewed as quite troublesome. CRM systems of old have a well-founded reputation for being a lot of hassle, an awkward piece of software that more often than not works against your employees rather than with them. So, once again, why would you want to rely on one as a lifeline?
The answer, quite simply, is that modern CRMs are no longer the same beasts. They offer a wealth of functionality that was previously unheard of, they’re no longer glorified spreadsheets. If used correctly they are capable of being the lifeblood of any organization. So, how does one use it correctly?
– Quality Data
If your CRM if the lifeblood of your business, then data is the lifeblood of your CRM. You can’t have an effective CRM strategy without quality data. Whether your company prerogative is to purchase quality data or obtain your own through marketing campaigns, be sure to flood your CRM with rich relevant data. How else are your marketing team to create engaging campaigns if they have no clue who they are targeting? How else are Sales going to minimize cold calling and maximize closing sales?
– User Adoption
There is no way that your CRM can be your business lifeline if the business isn’t using it. Ensure that each department is regularly using – and benefitting – from the CRM. If certain departments are less keen find out why.
Is it a lack of user knowledge? If so, encourage the department to take part in more training to become completely comfortable with the software.
Is there a lack of faith? Explain the benefits of company-wide adoption, how every department has its role to play within the system. In the long term, it will make everyone’s role easier but it requires a certain level of commitment, to begin with.
– Improving Results
Once you have successfully increased user adoption you have to ensure that each department is using the CRM to maximize its departmental goals. Modern CRMs such as Microsoft Dynamics are capable of improving individual departments, which in combination better the whole organization. It boils down to finances, if each department is working more effectively, then each department is bringing in more revenue.
Marketing – Is the marketing department using all the information within the CRM to create inbound campaigns to engage with the most people possible? Are they taking it to the next level and segmenting the database to produce more refined content specific to certain groups only? Refining content in this way has been shown to attract more leads that are ready to buy.
Sales – Is your Sales team using the data found within your CRM to create the right first impression on their calls? Are they marking down any useful information gleaned from these calls for use on future occasions? Sales are about creating relationships, if your sales team has to start from zero on every call they’ll be less likely to get any traction and close deals.
Finance – Are you directly observing these departments to work out their ROI? A CRM should be offering you full visibility into the workings of every department, are you following this? Your CRM is the best source for quality information to help you accurately forecast revenue for the coming months.
– Respect Your Customers
If your CRM is your business lifeline, it’s only because it’s there to support the most important aspect of business, your customers. Without customers, you’re not so much a business as a club.
Your CRM should help you keep track of existing customers; supporting those who need it and recommending upgrades and follow-up purchases to those interested. A CRM is loaded with automated responses, timers, and automatic routing to ensure that any complaints are; forward to the relevant figure and responded to in the quickest possible time. Quality customer service is a crucial element of business that has a measurable effect on your bottom line.
Maintaining minimal contact with previous customers will keep the lead warm and aware of your brand for any future transactions. Customer retention is the name of the game, not only is it far easier to sell to existing customers but customers also act as your reviewers. Word of mouth still plays a vital part in business and any poor reviews will spread far quicker than positive ones.