I've seen some great CRM implementations in my career… and some absolutely terrible ones. Like any technology, ensuring that your team is less time working on it and more time providing value with it is the key to a great CRM implementation. I've seen poorly implemented CRM systems that froze sales teams… and unused CRMs that duplicated efforts and confused staff.
What is a CRM?
While we all call the software that stores customer information a CRM, the term customer relationship management encompasses the processes and strategies as well as the technology. The CRM system is used to record, manage, and analyze customer interactions throughout the life of the customer. Sales and marketing utilize this data to improve the relationship and, ultimately, the value of that customer through retention and additional sales.
What are the Benefits of Using a CRM?
Do you have a sales team that manages their own prospect database? Account management and service representatives that manage their own notes about each customer? As your company grows, your people turn over, and more and more people need to communicate with prospects and customers… how will you track it?
By utilizing a central system between customer touchpoint with sales, support, and marketing, the aggregated data becomes more useful to the organization and the database accessible to other platforms. Here are ten ways that organizations are seeing a positive return on their CRM investment nowadays.
- Reporting on marketing, sales, and retention is centralized in real-time and can even be forecasted based on buying journeys and sales pipelines.
- Integration to other marketing automation platforms, accounting platforms, customer data platforms, and a plethora of systems can be achieved.
- Automation can reduce both the effort and the problems caused by manual pushing and pulling of data from system to system.
- Processes can be implemented where key triggers are set up and the appropriate personnel are notified when customer touches need to be made.
- Nurturing campaigns can be implemented to help guide buyers through the sales funnel.
- Customer satisfaction and retention can increase as fewer hand-offs need to be made as a 360-degree view of each customer is easily accessible.
- Sales teams can be monitored and coached to accelerate their performance. Feedback from sales can be aggregated for marketing to improve the quality and targeting of their content and advertising strategies.
- Marketing campaigns can be monitored for their performance and improved utilizing segmentation and personalization based on more accurate data. As leads convert to customers, campaigns can be properly attributed to the sale, providing additional intelligence on the impact of each strategy.
- Opportunities can be identified and acted on as the system is fully utilized to cross-sell, upsell, and retain customers.
- Knowledge is stored about each customer so that changes in people and processes don't disrupt the customer's experience.
If your account managers, customer service representatives, and sales representatives are accurately recording each interaction with a customer in your CRM, your business has a priceless store of data that can be acted on. All your staff can be in sync and have a full understanding of the value and history of each prospect or customer. And, by paying attention, can improve the relationship with that customer.
A great CRM implementation should allow for quite a bit of integration and automation, they're not quite as useful out of the box as your CRM marketing material might pretend them to be.
If you're investing in a SaaS CRM, be prepared for it to be an enormous dependency for future technology enhancements and budgeting. Make sure you have a system that scales affordable, integrates with a ton of other systems, and is continuously adding more features through productized offerings and acquisitions.
As a CRM implementation partner, the less we see a CRM fully integrated, automated, and utilized, the less the return on the technology investment! A CRM should be a solution to help your business become more efficient and effective, not less. Choose a platform and a partner to implement it wisely.
When Do Sales And Marketing Need A CRM?
The folks at NetHunt CRM developed this infographic after analyzing the behavior of their customers in the aftermath of the pandemic.
While the B2B sales cycle can be as long as several months, if you are not treating your prospects right, they can silently leave you. Customer acquisition has a complex nature and your marketing department may need lots of interactions before the lead is ready to test-drive your product. Finally, aligned work of sales and marketing is essential for B2B in order to achieve true revenue efficiency. They both need bridge technology to be on the same path.
Anna Pozniak, NetHunt CRM