5 Best Practices to Optimize Your CRM

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Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, November 2, 2020

Your CRM lies at the heart of your efforts to convert prospects into new buyers and keep your existing customers happy, so it's worth asking if your system is the best it can be.

Article 4 Minutes
5 Best Practices to Optimize Your CRM

Your customer relationship management (CRM) system is one of the most important components of your entire marketing operation.

When properly managed, maintained and utilized, this technology can help you succeed in not only converting prospects into new buyers, but keeping your existing customers satisfied.

Research has shown that marketers view CRM software as one of the top three tools and technologies for achieving personalized interactions with customers, leading to more loyalty and better ROI.

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It's crucial, therefore, to invest the necessary time and resources into optimizing your system to maintain a high level of performance. Here’s what you can do to get the best out of your CRM:

1. Keep your data clean and accurate

You can't expect to get good results from your CRM if the data stored in the system is out of date, inaccurate or so badly managed that it's impossible for users to get any meaningful insights from it.

Bad data can lead to a poor customer experience and diminished perceptions of your brand - exactly the opposite of what you're hoping to achieve with your CRM. There are various ways these negative outcomes can materialize. For example, if you address an email to the wrong person or offer to meet a need that the customer has already resolved with a previous purchase, you'll come across as ill-informed and unprofessional.

So it's highly important to understand the potential ramifications of sub-standard data and to implement procedures that will mitigate these risks.

2. Be consistent with data entry and management

One of the most important things you can do to maintain high standards of data hygiene and visibility in your CRM is to introduce consistent processes for data entry and management.

It's vital to ensure that everyone who regularly uses the system, and individuals who have permission to edit the information stored in it, are fully aware of the processes they should follow when adding data or updating records.

There should be standard practices in place for tasks like:

  • Keeping a record of every customer engagement
  • Scheduling calls and appointments
  • Setting follow-up priorities after calls and conversations
  • Identifying upsell opportunities

Standardizing these processes will make it much easier to keep all of the data in your CRM clear and consistent. This will help people do their jobs properly and concentrate on delivering the best results for your customers.

3. Make sure people are using the CRM

You can invest a lot of time and effort into looking after your CRM and maintaining the highest possible standards of data hygiene and accuracy, but it will all be for nothing if your marketing team and other relevant parties aren't actually using the system.

There are various reasons why this could be the case. For instance:

  • Experienced staff are quite happy working the way they have for years and don't see any reason to change.
  • People are unsure how to use the system and are reluctant to ask for help.
  • It hasn't been made clear how beneficial the CRM can be and how it can help users do their jobs.

Engage with your workforce to see how people feel about the system and to find out how you can help staff make the most of it.

4. Identify upsell opportunities

Delivering a steady supply of fresh leads and prospects to the sales team is one of the marketing team's most important jobs. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of supporting your existing customers.

After all, it's five times more expensive to attract a new buyer than it is to keep an existing one. Moreover, it's easier to sell to someone who has purchased from you before, because they're already familiar with your brand and the level of service you're able to provide.

Using your CRM to maintain healthy relationships with your existing customers will help you identify opportunities to upsell. Look back at your contacts' purchasing history to gauge what their future interests and needs are likely to be, and to make sure you're not promoting products that have no relevance or value for them.

5. Embrace automation

Automation is one of the most attractive features of modern CRM software. Embracing it can save your people a lot of time and also help you achieve the vital data consistency mentioned earlier.

One example of how you can benefit from automating key processes via your CRM is when a new lead comes into your database. If someone signs up to your newsletter or submits their contact details to download a content offer. For example, your CRM can automatically send follow-up emails at certain intervals to maintain engagement and nurture the prospect along their buying journey.

This helps you drive efficiency in your day-to-day operations and frees up your staff to focus on activities that make better use of their skills.

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