If you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner or sales director, you know that customer relationships are at the core of a company’s success. That being said, getting the right tools for your sales and marketing team to help it be more successful is certainly easy to agree with. But there is a plethora of systems out there and evaluating what is the right system for your business and your team can seem overwhelming.
As an entrepreneur and user of CRM systems for over 20 years, I’d like to share what’s important to consider when shopping for a CRM and insights about the challenges it will solve
1. Refine customer relationships with centralized customer records
Your customer data is at the core of your business. The typical challenge seen in small business is customer data scattered in as many tools as you have employees. Some may be using spreadsheets, business cards, email browsers, such as Outlook, to store contact info and tasks about the customer. All this data can be difficult to locate and worse, only visible by one person. If your rep leaves, and as your company grows, the ability to make informed decisions quickly without visibility into customer interactions becomes very difficult, if not impossible.
Centralize your customer and prospect information in one place.
This is where a CRM system with a single, central source of easily accessible customer information can help you drive sales success rates and increase customer retention. This will eliminate the confusion of where the information is stored while bringing all disparate systems together.
2. Get a clearer view of your business with historical data
Having access to historical data, products and service purchases stored within your CRM will enable you to quickly identify potential client needs and business opportunities. Your CRM is not just about the past but also a view into trends that will help you forecast the future using key metrics. The system’s dashboards can highlight changes in opportunities or pipeline value, which can negatively impact your top line. With a CRM, you will have the right tools to be able to proactively manage your business.
3. Use data and mass personalization to help you grow your business
You may have prospects you never closed a deal with or customers you wished you had time for upselling or cross-selling opportunities. Timing is essential and “no” may likely mean “not today.” To avoid ignoring these potential customers, you can keep them alive by filtering your database coupled with an effective marketing strategy to engage them.
For example, an effective email marketing strategy includes developing compelling offers aligned to your prospects’ interests and create the perception of a personal touch with every communication. You may find several customers with the same needs and then use mass personalization to scale your marketing activities. For many businesses, and especially for small to mid-size companies, this is an effective way to compete in a very crowded and competitive world.
Use the power of your CRM to show that you understand your customers’ needs and interests. You don’t need to remember all the details about thousands of customers at any given time; you just need to document them for future analysis when planning a campaign.
4. Keep your sales efforts on track with pipeline and sales dashboards
Sales reps who can follow how their sales are doing on any given day or month will be able to take action on deals they can close. Being able to understand your conversion ratio or explain the best way to reach customers based on actual facts will help improve your sales
Are new opportunities and leads being kept on a spreadsheet and updated manually for progress? If your team is still operating this way, consider how much time your reps are wasting on admin tasks. A CRM will provide an exact portrait of all leads and where they are in the sales funnel in just a few clicks. From the pipeline report, sales opportunities can be viewed by sales stage and value as well as weighted by probability. Sales performance and forecasts can be at your fingertips and help you focus on the right actions to close the opportunities that are hot.
Dashboards and reports
Accurate metrics about your business are critical to your growth and success. You may be able to get this information from Excel spreadsheets, but how much time and effort will it take? Will any errors slip in? Why not spend your valuable time on contributing to building the business? CRM reports and dashboards will help you visualize metrics in an instant. The result? Quicker and better decision-making.
5. Go to the next level by using marketing automation to accelerate lead conversion
If you’re in sales, you know about sales funnels. You start attracting people at the top and, as they engage with your brand, they move down the funnel until they are ready to buy.
With automation, you can engage prospects and nurture them along in a way that will save your team time in execution, scale their activities faster and get more results faster. Consider the amount of time to craft marketing messaging and send follow-ups. What if you were able to scale that to a large audience with the same needs—all by filtering your database?
Marketing automation campaigns can include emails that will cross-sell, upsell, send transactional reminders or simply outreach. Once prospects have expressed interest, the next stage is to build relationships. Sales alerts to representatives can be set up for immediate follow-up.
Web visitors and web-based inquiries can be answered with automatic email responses and sent to sales representatives. A systematic approach to following up on your leads, coupled with dashboard reports for sales management to follow progress on leads, can help your business be more successful.
Tune up your sales and marketing activities with the right CRM
You can become a customer-first organization with the right CRM and build a stronger business. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!