What it is and how to use it to maximize ROI

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the name alone says it all about this widely used acronym in the business vertical. CRM includes all the strategies, activities and techniques used by companies to manage their interaction with current and future customers.

If a customer is king, CRM helps businesses build a relationship with that king. As a tool, CRM offers a streamlined user interface accumulating data from different touchpoints that helps businesses recognize and communicate with their customers. As Salesforce says in its CRM Manual“there is no secret formula” with a CRM application.

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CRM: what is it and why do you need it?

A CRM application is how companies manage most of their critical customer information, allowing you to see all the information in one place. Without ever leaving the app, the CRM allows businesses to view contact information, track a customer via email or social media, manage tasks, and even track performance.

A number of companies have seen an increase in sales effectiveness from implementing the right CRM software. A salesperson-customer relationship, in its early stages, can essentially be tracked on an Excel sheet or in the form of notes. However, as the business grows and the touchpoints of information expand, the old methods of note taking will no longer work.

Signs that you’re ready for CRM

The very first sign that you need a CRM is when your sales team doesn’t have a single view of every customer’s contact information, orders, and interactions. The traditional way of managing customers could result in little or no visibility. Tracking customer details on a spreadsheet or handwritten notes also makes reporting difficult. This makes it difficult to analyze the sales team’s monthly progress.

The pandemic has shown another reason why companies need customer relationship management. As businesses began to close their offices and sales reps began to work from home, businesses had a new need to properly store all customer information. As a mobile solution, CRM eliminates this problem by capturing data from different sources and allowing you to securely store all information whether you are working from home, in the office or at an airport cafe.

CRM not only benefits businesses to maintain good communication with customers, but also helps customers indirectly. With software like CRM, customers are not differentiated based on their value to the business. The program delivers the same offers and information to all customers and prospects, regardless of phase or region.

Finally, customer relationship management helps companies be relieved that their communication with customers will scale as they grow from 20 to 200 to 200,000 customers. A CRM is designed with scalability at its core and allows businesses to grow without worrying about whether the software will keep up with the growth.

How CRM can boost productivity and sales

The third edition of Salesforce Small and Medium Business Trends Report shows that “lack of time” is the main constraint for SME decision-makers. This constraint brings out the old paradigm that time literally means money and it is imperative that sales professionals use their time effectively and efficiently.

For small businesses to grow quickly, it’s important that these businesses provide their sales reps with the information they need to close deals faster. With a CRM application, sales reps have access to this valuable information, reducing the time spent per transaction.

A CRM application also helps a small business sales team store lead data to ensure relevant information is available during every interaction. The app also provides sales reps with metrics related to visibility and forecasting. Thus, a CRM application makes the sales pipeline more effective and efficient.

Sales reps also need time to sell and with the right CRM at their disposal, they can operate in such a way that the whole team is on the same page at all times. A CRM app syncs with mobile devices anywhere, anytime through the cloud and helps salespeople with the right information.

CRM also helps increase productivity and sales prospects by providing better intelligence. Salesforce offers a CRM solution enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, the CRM captures signals in real time, whether it’s a support request from a customer or a new tweet from a potential buyer.

A CRM application is further able to analyze each data point extracted from different touchpoints and provides a complete view for each customer. By integrating AI and CRM, Salesforce says small business sales teams get “automated customer reporting, efficient data capture, and even prediction of future customer behavior.”

Get a 360 degree view of every customer

While CRM is capable of transforming the way sales reps access customer information, understanding customer data collection is equally important. the CRM Manual from Salesforce shows that the app collects valuable customer data, including customer history, current customer preferences, customer social media presence, customer infrastructure details, and past sales interactions.

However, to get a holistic view of your customer and capture data from all sources, the sales team should remember to think mobile. When considering using CRM tools, a small business should look for one that offers functional mobile tools and can enhance a sales team, no longer confined to 8 hours in the office.

A guide to an effective CRM strategy

In order to build an effective CRM strategy, you will need to follow these seven basic steps

  1. Vision: For an effective CRM strategy, sales managers must first define a clear, repeatable and action-oriented vision. It can be about becoming a market leader or redefining customer service, but the vision should be a rallying cry for the team and should impact the entire organization.
  2. Strategy: The strategy should define how you can achieve your vision. A strategy can pave the way to achieve your goal, whether it’s competing on a metric like price or offering innovative and different products.
  3. Business goals: A business objective is essentially a roadmap of how your vision and strategy translates into day-to-day work. Ideally, a CRM system should be implemented by examining old inefficiencies and optimizing new techniques.
  4. Executive sponsorship: Salesforce says that involving every team member is essential to implementing an effective CRM strategy. A lack of executive sponsorship is cited as one of the top five CRM failure factors.
  5. Metric: Metrics should be visible to everyone, and small businesses should engage in creating dashboards for all levels of the organization. Whether you are a sales rep, manager, or on the leadership team, metrics should be well-defined and clear to every member.
  6. Priorities: Deciding what your most important deliverable is is important, and Salesforce recommends training as a top priority.
  7. Roadmap : Once these phases are completed, a CRM system should be implemented as a way to improve and add new features down the road. This is only possible if companies define their roadmap well in advance.

CRM: how to maximize ROI

Once you have decided to implement a CRM solution, one of the immediate goals would be to get maximum return on investment. There are several ways to maximize your return on investment after implementing a CRM system. Here is an overview of some of the most important steps one should take.

The first is to choose a cloud-based CRM solution as it eliminates the demand for an on-premises CRM application like servers, software issues, and new version upgrades. The second is to integrate your CRM with apps that provide value, whether it’s a business app or a social app.

The next step is to consider mobile integration to get the most benefit from a CRM application. While CRM is a great tool for sales reps, it can also be used effectively by marketing teams if the two departments work together.

The last, but most important, way to maximize the ROI of a CRM application is to build relationships with customers. CRM applications allow salespeople to connect with customers and build relationships that grow over time. However, as customers grow and change, sales reps must also change with them and use CRM data to drive that change.

Want to know what CRM can do for your business? Read the CRM manual which explains how to successfully take your first steps with CRM. You will find all the information you need to build your CRM strategy, maximize your return on investment and improve your sales and productivity.

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