What are you using for a CRM? Most business owners don’t know how to answer that question. The truth is, a CRM is an essential part of your business.
When you own a business, you’re constantly juggling several things at once. Leveraging high-quality systems and automation tools whenever you can becomes more than a choice. It becomes necessary.
This is especially true if you want to keep pace with today’s business environment. And, it’s even more true if you want to grow and scale.
One of those key systems is your CRM system. Having the right CRM in place can be the difference between your business being a dream and being a nightmare.
Today, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about CRM tools. Our goal is that you’ll know everything you need to know to confidently select the CRM software that’s right for you and your business.
We’ll outline everything a CRM can do for you. We’ll also show you why the right sales automation CRM is an indispensable tool for your business. But, we have a lot of information to cover before we get to that point.
So, keep reading and get your pad and pencil ready!
What Is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s an important part of any business, especially sales. It’s the process of establishing, maintaining, and strengthening your customer relationships.
Back in the day, this process was done with post-it notes, Rolodexes, address books, and day planners. Now, most businesses can leverage software platforms to give them an all-in-one CRM system.
These platforms can keep track of birthdays, last contact dates, customers’ interests, pending tasks for a given customer, etc. A proper CRM system allows businesses to maintain the customer relationship throughout the sales cycle. It also helps business owners to give prompt, world-class customer service.
The result is a dramatic improvement in the customer experience. And, once your customer experience improves, you and your team will see more sales.
Do I Need A CRM System?
One of the questions entrepreneurs might be asking themselves is “how do I know if I need a CRM system”? When you’re just starting it can be easy to think you can do business without one. While this might be true, it’s not recommended.
We understand that you may not be able to invest large sums of money in a comprehensive CRM platform. But, you at least need some form of CRM method from Day 1.
It’s important to have your company’s systems and infrastructure in place early. Laying the foundation for your business first makes growing and scaling a pleasurable experience. You’re not left running around like a crazy person as you start to bring more and more customers into your business.
You can start with something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet. But, at least start with something.
For those of you still wondering, here’s a list of signs that you might be ready for a CRM system to help organize your business.
You Struggle With Sales
Growth is a great sign in any business. But, you need to be able to keep up with that growth. If you find yourself taking on more business or more projects than you can handle, it may be time for a CRM system.
Symptoms of this problem are fairly easy to spot. New customers start to fall through the cracks, follow up with old customers becomes inconsistent, and you begin wasting time on “suspects” rather than prospects.
If this sounds like you at all, a CRM can do wonders for your business. With the right CRM platform in place, you’ll be able to organize, track, and prioritize your sales leads as they enter your system. This allows you and your team to focus your time and energy on the people who actually want the product or service you’re selling.
Having everything organized in an easy-to-use dashboard will also increase team productivity. With all information and data in one place, your team can provide better customer service. This will increase customer retention and increase revenue by converting older leads into sales.
Having a streamlined, automated system will also help your sales agents to upsell and cross-sell products. This will create another revenue stream for your company.
Poor Customer Service
We already touched on this a little but let’s go into more detail. Do you know how long it takes you to respond to a customer? Do you know how long it takes your team to resolve customer issues?
If you don’t have a CRM in place, the answer is probably “No”. Not having a CRM in place constantly puts your customer service team in “react” mode. They’re not handling customer issues proactively which can create chaos.
The result is your customer service team gets to a point where their day is running them. They’re not running their day. Not only does this affect your customer service performance, but it can affect your employee morale.
Who will walk happily into a job where they know “it’s” going to hit the fan every day? We don’t know a lot of people who would. Do you?
The right CRM system can change all that. Most platforms available now can offer you digital assistants and automation tools to help keep track of every single customer.
You can attach documents, make notes, and keep all relevant information handy in one customer file. You can even give your team access to knowledge management tools that will help them give customers the right answer every time.
Depending on your budget for a sales automation CRM, you can even get added features like chatbots. Chatbots are becoming the wave of the future. Customers want answers and they want them quickly.
Using features like chatbots and video chat allows your customers to interact with your customer service team on their terms. They can get the answers they want when they want and how they want them.
And, meeting your customers where they are is the name of the game in the modern economy.
Struggle With Customer Profiles
If you’ve been in sales and marketing for any length of time, you know about the “customer persona”. It’s an important part of any sales or marketing strategy. How are you going to sell something if you don’t know who to sell it to?
Large corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and have teams of dozens of people devoted to this research for their companies. But, the small guys don’t have that level of resources to devote to market research.
Fortunately, a good CRM can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you in this department.
You may be doing a great job of collecting all the appropriate data on your customers. But if it’s all in separate places, it can be hard to synthesize an ideal customer persona. Your CRM allows you to keep all data on your customers in one place.
With an in-depth “file” for each customer, your CRM system can then form insights and show you patterns that will help your “ideal customer” emerge from the data.
Marketing and Sales Operate Separately
In any company that’s running smoothly, marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. These two departments need each other to thrive. Therefore, one needs to know what the other is doing for your sales to be effective.
A good CRM system will hold all types of information for each customer account. Therefore, it can be a good central hub for all departments within your organization. Not to mention, different departments can leave notes or tasks for each other.
If sales needs something from marketing or vice versa, they can let each other know via a simple desktop or mobile notification. Little features like this enable your CRM to unify communication across all departments of your company.
The results can speak for themselves. You will start to see happier customers and happier employees. Nothing is more frustrating than when an employee makes a promise to a customer and another department drops the ball.
If customers get passed around from department to department, without everyone being up-to-speed on what the customer needs, those customers will leave.
Your CRM is an easy, efficient way for all departments to communicate. The result is less frustration for employees and less frustration for customers. Less frustration leads to better performance and higher revenue.
Account Value is Unknown
Every customer is different. And, as a result, every customer account has a different dollar amount. You may not believe it but when you have access to this data on a clear, concise dashboard, patterns start to emerge.
You may have heard of the 80/20 rule. If you haven’t, it’s the idea that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. If you want to look at it a different way, it’s the idea that 80% of your headaches come from 20% of your customers.
The actual rule is called Pareto’s Principle.
The reason we bring it up is that your CRM allows you to employ this principle in your own business. Using your CRM’s data collection and dashboard allows you to see exactly how much revenue each of your paying customers is bringing you.
You’ll be able to identify high-value accounts that might warrant a higher level of more hands-on customer service. You may also see low-revenue accounts that may not be worth your team’s time and energy.
Obviously, you want to provide the best level of customer service possible to all customers. That being said, however, it’s ok to “fire” customers if they’re not a good fit for your business. You want to maximize your investments in marketing, sales, and operating costs.
Using your CRM system to become an 80/20 rule wizard is a great way to do that.
Difficulty Forecasting and Reporting
This ties into what we mentioned earlier about knowing account value. Revenue isn’t the only metric in your business. You’ll want to know other things like average response time, average sales time, and you’ll also want to keep track of individual employees.
Having the right CRM in place will help you to see a bird’s eye view of your business. As employees are working day-to-day, you can see what is driving performance and what’s creating bottlenecks.
These reports will help you to identify what to focus on in meetings. It will also help you to project where your team is heading over the next quarter, year, three years, or five years.
This type of data is especially important if you have any investors involved in your company. If your business is receiving funding from an outside source, they will want to see projections of your performance. They want to see that their money is making them a return.
If that’s the case, faulty reports and projections based on faulty data could really get you in trouble. Using a CRM system will eliminate some of the human error when it comes to forecasting and reporting.
The result is happier employees, happier customers, and happier investors.
The ROI of a CRM System
So, what is your return on investment with a CRM system? As a business owner, ROI is an important metric for any expense.
As we said in the beginning, you might be able to get by with Excel spreadsheets for a little while. Many businesses have started that way. But, eventually, your business will start to hit a wall.
The amount of business you can handle will cap because your entire team is going off of a spreadsheet. And, after a while, that spreadsheet will have so much information on it that it will be a challenge to read.
Experts have calculated that using Excel spreadsheets, a business owner can expect to make a maximum of $8.71 for every dollar spent. When a CRM is introduced, however, those numbers increase dramatically.
Using a CRM has been shown to give businesses a 20-30% growth in their overall business.
Now, the question is: can you stand to miss out on an opportunity like that?
Systems Are the Answer
A CRM system is just one of many systems you need to implement to get the most out of your team and your business. Keeping track of customer data, improving team communication, and maximizing marketing dollars are all key factors of your business that a CRM can improve.