Customer Relations Management softwares are taking center stage in the sales and marketing world. It seems like everyone is talking about CRMs and using them to enhance their marketing in one way or another. Sometimes CRMs get a bad wrap for being expensive and complicated investments.
However, for a lot of businesses, CRM's are a serious option for organizing customer information and making sales and marketing processes more effective, as long as you take the time to deploy your CRM effectively.
There are 5 main things you should consider in order to make sure your CRM works the way you want it to and that the investment pays off.
#1 Research the right CRM for your company
A few years ago, CRMs were really just available for big businesses that could afford to take on large scale, intense CRM systems.
But today, there are more and more scaleable CRMs that can work for small businesses.
Take the time to research the different options available and make the choice that will work for your size company.
There are also industry-specific CRMs you can consider, though keep in mind that going industry specific can get more pricey, so it may not always be worth it, and non-industry specific CRMs can still get the job done successfully.
#2 Don't expect your CRM to run itself
Sometimes it seems that marketers forget that CRMs are tools to be worked with, and are not magic lead makers.
When you get a CRM, you will need to spend a lot of time and energy properly setting it up and inputting the information necessary for it to function to the best of its ability.
CRMs are meant to organize you and make the marketing and sales process easier by allowing employees to quickly reference a customer's history with the company in order to have instant context for a sales call or email.
CRMs are not meant to find leads for you, or to close sales. Automatic campaigns are nice, and CRM's can help you run them.
But automation can not completely replace the human touch necessary in order to keep your customers happy, and if you expect your CRM system to work wonders without effort on your end, you will be very disappointed.
#3 Feed your CRM the right information
As mentioned above, CRMs rely on customer knowledge and information in order to function properly and give you the return on investment you're looking for.
Before you invest in a CRM, make sure you have enough customer knowledge to make the CRM worth it.
Use customer service tools like smart surveys, follow up calls, thank you notes, and Q & A's in order to build customer knowledge on your consumer base.
Also make sure you have your customer contact information in a format that can be easily transferred into the CRM.
You need to get everything organized so that it can be inputted gracefully and the CRM can begin to do its job.
Some questions you might want to ask are:
- How did you find out about our company?
- How many times a year do you make purchases with our company?
- What is your current position? (Manager, Director, etc.)
- How would you describe the last interaction you had with our company? (Positive or negative?)
#4 Make sure your sales and marketing team have a system in place
CRM's do a great job of making the conversion process of a customer more effective.
However, if your sales team and your marketing team don't have a communication system in place, it will be hard to rely solely on the CRM to keep everyone in the loop.
Use your CRM to create a system of communication for your sales and marketing team to let each other know where each prospective client is and how to best approach them.
This will really allow you to use your CRM to take your company to the next level.
#5 Use what your CRM has to offer
Despite what we discuss in points 1-4 of this post, CRM's do have a lot to offer.
It's important that you use the tools that your CRM system provides you with: mainly data analytics.
It's great to keep your customer information organized and contextualized, but where CRMs are really worth their weight in gold is in the analytic features they provide.
When you input your data, send out drip campaigns, and get responses, you can view the meaning behind the actions of your customers through the KPIs that CRMs allow you to set up.
This gives you new customer knowledge and market intelligence that can guide your marketing strategies and sales pitches.
A lot of people overlook analytics and just blindly send out marketing materials. But CRMs allow you to do so much more than this.
CRMs are something you should look into if you are a business looking to grow your customer base and make your customer interactions more efficient and enjoyable.
They require effort and there is definitely a learning curve, but in the long run they usually pay off in terms of ROI.
Don't let CRMs intimidate you: take your time and find a system that can help take your company to the next level.