To leverage your CRM system fully, here are a few things to consider.
1. Technology updates
One of the most common reasons for poor user adoption or users working outside of the CRM is when the technology becomes outdated and out of line with business processes. Cloud-based CRM solutions offer the ability to be updated with ease and ensure your technology doesn’t become archaic. An example of this is Microsoft Dynamics 365; Microsoft roll out two major updates a year, alongside incremental updates to ensure the technology is kept up to date.
2. Take advantage of automation
There’s so much functionality now available to enable you to automate your internal business processes. Repetitive administration tasks are often time-consuming and leave room for human error; automating these tasks will improve efficiency, save time and ensure accuracy.
Examples of where automation can be used include:
- Invoice processing
- Employee on-boarding
- Social media management
- Expense tracking
Deciding where to start with automation can feel overwhelming but starting with those small tasks that take time on a recurring bases will get you off on the right foot.
Many CRM solutions, specifically bespoke options, can be fully customized. Every business is different, so there’s no real one-size-fits-all approach; even if you’re in the same industry, the way in which you operate will be unique. A bespoke or customizable CRM allows you to work the way you want to, fitting around your processes and therefore increasing user adoption. It also guarantees there will be no irrelevant functionality that could prove a detriment to the way you operate.
Scalability of your CRM is also vital if you wish to grow or develop, and your requirements may change over time. A scalable solution will adapt to your evolving needs and additional features or functionality can be added with ease.
4. Streamline your data
This seems obvious and yes, your CRM solution should be used for organizing your important business data, but you must put in the work too. Firstly, you should standardize your methods for imputing data, as a basic example and a minimum, fields required could be first name, last name, address, email and phone number. Be meticulous over counting digits in phone numbers and the use of ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ on email addresses.
Performing a data cleanse as part of your regular practise also helps to avoid working with old data that’s no longer usable. Putting into place actions to update your data as a group exercise is also a great way to educate one another on your customers, their needs and their historic interactions with you.
5. Reporting and analytics
Having the ability to analyze your short comings and highlight your successes is essential for business growth and development. A good CRM solution should include dashboards which provide you with the ability to drill down into your data to gain valuable insights. Using your data to its full potential can demonstrate a clear customer journey, indicate a change in a lead or offer insight into customer retention strategies. Additionally, some reporting tools can also generate ‘what if’ strategies to help you to make more informed business decisions.
6. Integrations with other business software
Ensuring your CRM integrates with the other business software you use, like your Gmail or Outlook account, is key to maximizing the use of your solution. Integrating your email can allow you to send and track correspondence within your CRM.
Integration is another reason to include all departments across your business when you’re considering implementation. Your marketing department, who are responsible for creating communications for your clients, may already be using Mailchimp or Autopilot. Ensuring your CRM integrates with their department specific technology can open opportunities for you to better align with your customers and their needs.
7. Mobilize your workforce
The ease in which your workforce can access your business data and the ability to do so from any location can be the difference between making a sale or not.
A CRM that can be accessed from any location on either a mobile, tablet or laptop and offers you all the same functionality and features as your desktop version is the golden ticket of the CRM world. Providing your team with the flexibility to work from anywhere at any time increases productivity, efficiency and ultimately can increase revenue.
8. Train your staff
Having a solution that no one really knows how to use is one of the biggest pitfalls of CRM integration. Devoting time and resources to training your workforce how to use all the features and functionality of your CRM is critical. Likewise, when you have new staff, training them to use your solution should be part of the on-boarding process.
If you’re working with a vendor to design or maintain your CRM, investigate what training they offer and establish whether it can be ongoing.
Having a CRM solution is only the start. Ensuring you choose the correct solution for your business with all the features and functionality you require is the only way to guarantee your return on investment.