Maximize the Value of Your CRM


A successful customer relationship management (CRM)  implementation can help your business develop  stronger customer relationships, design and implement effective marketing campaigns, and turn sales leads into measureable sales performance.

Like most tools, a CRM platform is only as good as the team using it. Here are a few tips to help you use your company’s CRM platform to its full advantage.

Know What You Need from Your CRM System

Before you even choose a CRM or begin a CRM integration, you should know exactly what you’re going to accomplish with the system. Understand the business goals and the expected business benefits before beginning a CRM implementation.  Understanding the expected benefits will ensure you capture the information that is critical to support your business processes. It also it ensures you will not design a solution that captures unnecessary details – possibly adding time and cost to your sales process.

Understand Future Customer Engagement Goals

When choosing a customer relationship management platform, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, it’s important to think of your future needs. That doesn’t mean you have to anticipate everything you’ll use your CRM for as your business grows and develops a wider client base. Many SaaS platforms are scalable, to expand their capabilities in line with the needs of a growing enterprise. Choose a platform that can grow with your business, whether in-house or off-premises.

Customize Only When Necessary

At all stages of customization, choose only those features you’re sure you can use. Martin Schneider, senior director of communications at SugarCRM, advises,

“When looking to customize [your CRM] system, go through this exercise: Ask ‘Why do we need this change?’ And actually ask ‘Why?’ to the answer. If after four or five iterations of asking ‘why?’ the change still seems necessary, it probably is.”

Most SaaS customer relationship management systems are customizable, so you can pick and choose the features and productivity tools you need for nurturing leads, lead tracking, and lead conversion. Think about features that can enhance marketing strategies and tactics to increase sales, with sales automation to help keep track of sales performance and the sales process.
Consider Your Sales Force

Your sales force will need to be trained in the system. Periodic refresher courses can help them continue to use the system efficiently, and help keep them abreast of software updates. Choose an intuitive user interface that’s easy to understand and implement. Complicated software can frustrate your sales force, stifling the workflow process and making your CRM system’s productivity tools useless.

Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

CRM systems can actually derail your sales performance if they aren’t integrated with your company’s other systems. Ensure that your customers continue to have good experiences with your company as they move away from contact with the sales team. Knowledge of a customer’s account history, buying habits and subscription information can with billing, retaining and rewarding loyal customers.

Small businesses especially can benefit from social media networking, so your CRM system should integrate well with social media networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social media networks are a great place to generate and follow up on leads, so make sure your CRM system allows easy input and lead tracking from social media forums.

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