CRM Best Practices: How to Get the Most of Your CRM System
A great product or service offering will take your business far. However, research and forecast surveys show that customer service, not product superiority, is the main differentiator between businesses in the same market.
Let me prove it to you:
- According to a report by Walker, consumers will place more value in customer experience than prices or products by 2020.
- Gartner reveals that a whopping 89 percent of businesses compete on the basis of how good their customer experience is.
- A study by Bain & Company found that businesses can obtain revenues between four and eight percent above their market if they deliver better customer experiences.
To be sure, there’s no shortage of statistics showing how important it is for modern businesses to nurture good relationships with consumers. This is why more and more of them are investing in methods or tools that can help them adjust in order to meet the growing expectations of their customers.
As a result, customer relationship management has become an important philosophy in business operations.
What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to a strategy, system, and technology used by organizations to monitor and nurture a relationship with their customers and prospects.
As a tool, companies are using CRM to achieve various business goals:
- Managing contacts effectively. Staying connected with customers is a top priority. 75 percent of customers demand a consistent experience when engaging with a company.
- Providing personalized experiences. By 2020, 75 percent of customers will prefer businesses that offer a personalized experience.
- Improving customer retention. Customer acquisition is now up to 25 times more expensive than customer retention.
- Increasing sales. Fifty-five percent of customers will spend more money on a company that guarantees them a satisfying experience.
- Improving productivity. Using a CRM results in a 15 percent increase in productivity per salesperson with some making up to 41 percent more revenue because of it.
Previously viewed as a tool exclusive to sales and marketing teams, CRMs are being used by various other departments within the organization to improve their own processes.
To get more specific, departments such as customer service, HR, and supply-chain teams are using CRMs to improve relationships with relevant contacts such as social media users, employees, and suppliers respectively.
4 CRM Best Practices for Finding Success
As they play such an important role in the organization, CRMs are certainly a great investment that every business manager wants to see work at full capacity, at all times.
Here’s how to ensure that happens with CRM best practices:
#1: Choose a CRM that Suits Your Business Needs
The first step to making a profitable investment in a CRM is understanding your business needs.
As mentioned earlier, various departments may benefit from the use of a CRM. This also means that a CRM system may offer different functions depending on your business needs.
There are CRM systems that are designed specifically for certain people or organizations. For instance, WP-CRM System is a CRM for WordPress that’s designed for small businesses and freelancers. It helps them manage their projects and clients with data directly stored on a WordPress website.
Before investing, you must recognize that not all CRM systems are designed for the same purpose.
With your business goals in mind, take time to conduct thorough research as to available offering’s capabilities and limitations. Understand the different elements that will contribute to making a sound investment.
These elements might include:
- On-premise versus cloud-based access
- Extent of customization
- Cost commitments
#2: Create Workflow, Data Input Best Practices, & Rules for Your Workforce
A CRM system is only as good as the information contained in it.
Its functionality depends on how effectively this information is delivered and displayed to the relevant people. The data collected will only be useful if it’s consistent, understandable, and up to date.
Therefore, one of the top CRM best practices is to establish a workflow, data input best practices, and rules for your team on how to properly use the system. A shared understanding will allow your team to see the full potential of the system (which we’ll discuss more in detail next) and allow it to work in a steady, organized, and consistent manner.
#3: Invest in Training to Help Users Adopt the System
According to a study conducted by researchers from Villanova University and Ball State University, automation can make workers anxious to the point of getting sick.
If you’ve tried introducing a new system at the workplace before, you know it can be hard to break existing norms. You may find that not everyone is willing to adopt your fancy new technology. Some would rather keep using their spreadsheets — making quick, sloppy notes on an ad-hoc basis — because that’s what they are used to and think is more effective.
To get the full value of the investment (even to make the CRM work at all), you need to get each member of the team onboarded. Start from the top down, with management demonstrating to other users how much easier things can be when everyone adopts the system.
Invest in training and education to show relevant members of your team how to use your chosen CRM. Help the team get comfortable with the switch and evaluate each person to make sure what they learn is retained. For some, additional hands-on training may be necessary, and that’s ok.
#4: Take Advantage of CRM Integrations
Most CRM systems allow you to integrate other useful tools and data sources with the platform, and vice versa. WP-CRM System, for instance, lets you seamlessly integrate other apps and plugins that can help improve your projects. These include MailChimp, GravityForms, Slack, and ZenDesk.
While it can get technical at times, integrations with other tools can give your workforce access to greater functionality. Explore useful CRM integrations but avoid unnecessary clutter so you don’t bog down the system.
Final Thoughts: CRM Best Practices: How to Get the Most of Your CRM System
CRMs are an amazing investment and a great approach to conducting business. As the statistics show, modern consumers demand great customer experiences and their demands will only increase.
Invest in a suitable CRM system and put effort into its ongoing support and maintenance. Ensure it’s always up to date to take advantage of the latest improvements in the technology and be flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of the modern organization and its stakeholders.
If you’re a small business owner or freelancer who’s interest in improving business operations through the use of a CRM, check WP-CRM System for WordPress.