The Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) provides a critical link between sales, marketing, product development, and operations. When used properly, a CRM will help you understand your customers better, improve your offerings, close more sales and shorten the sales cycle.
From a simple offline spreadsheet to a more sophisticated cloud-hosted app, almost everyone in business today is using some type of CRM application, but not everyone is seeing good results. Here are three ways to ensure you are getting the best results from your CRM:
- Start by choosing the right CRM
There are a variety of CRMs available. Choose one that will fit your strategy for using it. Do your homework before deciding on which CRM to invest in, and treat the CRM as an investment in your business. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing a CRM:
- Match the CRM’s capabilities to your and sales team capabilities and technology.
- Everyone on your team should be using the same CRM
- If your sales team will need access to the CRM while on the road, a cloud-hosted solution is probably better suited to your needs.
- Consider how much time you expect a sales rep to spend updating it.
- Make sure the CRM is useful to the sales reps, not just a tool to achieve your company’s goals.
- Use a CRM that will integrate with your other Marketing technology.
2. Create a comprehensive strategy and train your team
You need a strategy for how the CRM will work with your marketing program. This includes pre-planning how the data in each field will be used. Train your sales team on the strategy, otherwise the data they enter may not help you achieve your goals.
- Make sure each rep understands how the fields they enter data into will be used in contacts such as emails. You don’t want to send an email to “Dear What’s his name?”
- Create and label fields that are needed for your strategy, then train everyone to use the fields that have been created, and not create their own.
- Accept feedback from sales reps and modify CRM fields if new fields would be beneficial to all (and then make the use of these fields consistent across your organization)
- Fight the perception that CRM entries will take time away from customers or other required activities for the sales team.
3. Measure, enhance, and measure again
Your CRM is one tool in your sales and marketing strategy that needs to be measured against sales and revenue metrics, and then adjusted for optimal results.
- Measure the effectiveness of your CRM usage as it applies to sales and revenue metrics (sales cycle, margins, total sales, top- and bottom-line revenue growth, etc.).
- Adjust your CRM fields, usage policies and training as needed to improve results.
- Tie CRM use metrics to compensation to encourage CRM use (but don’t be punitive).
Are you implementing or upgrading a CRM system? Foresight Performance can help you get the best value from your CRM, by creating a comprehensive strategy. Call us today!