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If the sales reps make any errors during data entry in a hurry, it leads to incomplete records.
With a CRM system, you can set up lead capture forms, feedback forms, and set up mandatory fields to ensure complete data capture. This takes the data entry effort away from Sales reps and saves them a lot of time.
If they have to do manual data entry (for leads captured through networking events, for example), the system can ensure details are not missed out.
You can really capture the customer’s journey from start (lead gen) to end (first sale) and beyond. Even the social media sentiment of the customer about your brand or other brands can be captured, giving you a highly magnified look into your customers’ lives.
You can get a clear window into how the customer interacted with your brand and confidently conclude what works for your customers and what pushes them away. Over time, you begin to find patterns and insights into the purchase process, thereby strengthening your Sales strategy.
Because we have a simplified and more accurate view of the leads pipeline and an enhanced sales strategy using a CRM, the forecasting becomes less guesswork and more reliable with data-based predictions.
The CRM aggregates conversations from multiple social channels. So when the customer changes from Twitter DMs to Email conversations, your sales agents get everything on a single screen.
Imagine all the time that the sales agent saves here by NOT doing all the overhead work.
No more tracking of the conversation across multiple channels. No more time wasted in copying and pasting the text to collate the data.
And all this for multiple conversations at once!
More than anything, using a CRM ensures that your sales or customer service agents don’t miss any important message in the flood of every day conversations.
To cut through all the marketing and advertising noise a modern customer goes through every day, you need more than just a great product. Personalization is a technique that lets you make necessary changes to your content to make it more appealing to your leads and customers.
Genome Research by Infosys showed how over 80% of customers notice personalization, appreciate it, and use it actively to make buying decisions.
Customers also prefer brands that provide personalized suggestions based on their likes, dislikes, and purchase history. Grace Nasri discussed these trends on her blog on on Digital Trends.
CRM plays an important role in implementing personalization. It stores detailed information in an organized manner and extracts deeper insights through business analytics.
Your content will finally be more relevant to your potential customers. Your brand could fight all the competition and get noticed from among the noise.
What happens when a client with a high acquisition cost leaves within the first year?
It’s heart-breaking. You didn’t spend all those days chasing around the client only to lose them in less than 12 months!
Getting repeat business helps you in so many ways. Your can position yourself so much better when you have a high number of customers coming back to do business with you.
Your marketing becomes easier too. Customers find it easier to trust and follow in the footsteps of others who have trusted you with their business before. If you have multiple repeat customers, it only serves to make you more trustworthy.
Using your CRM, you can discover customers at all levels from super low to high and very high lifetime values.
By focusing your marketing upsells and customer service on the highest-spending customers, you give them reasons to rely on you for future projects and to refer you as a partner to others in that niche. This personalized attention makes your most profitable customers spend even more and you are able to retain them for longer.
Thus, you gradually increase your repeat business.
With the help of Sales analytics function in your CRM, you can find products relevant to each other if they’re bought together often. For example, if I buy a shirt, I am also likely to buy a pair of pants with it. If someone is buying your email marketing services, they would likely buy email analytics package as well.
When combined with your own marketing common sense, you can discover so many cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
You can simply program your CRM to send reminder emails for related products and let the system take care of these cross-sells and upsells.
Recording all conversations across all channels is a single feature of the CRM that’s useful so many times. It’s basically your chicken that lays the golden egg.
CRM tells you how individual products and campaigns are performing. By having all the customer interactions at one place, you instinctively know what works best for customers and what doesn’t.
Armed with this information, you can make changes as and when required to take the performance of your team and your products to the next level.
If a certain message sent by a specific salesperson made the customer very happy, you can replicate that across the team.
The reason lead acquisition efforts suffer, more than anything, is miscommunication between teams. Teams working in a silo (i.e. not sharing information with each other) causes communication gaps. You could lose crucial leads if they are being managed in a spreadsheet-based system or specific independent systems being used by each team.
In a CRM, the access and transparency of multi-faceted customer data ensure everyone in the team sees the freshest copy of user interactions at all times, thereby avoiding any communication gaps.
Ever had disputes in the team about a lead being assigned to a specific salesperson? CRM can also be programmed to assign leads to team members for smoother team functioning.
Marketing helps share the benefits of the product/service to potential customers. During this process, they use various ways to interact with the customer except talking directly to the leads.
The sales team can get on demo calls or other important meetings with the decision making stakeholders of the clients’ teams. These one-on-one and group calls give far more personal and in-depth insights into the emotion behind their purchase decision.
This information can empower your Marketing team to create more relevant marketing material that easily catches the attention of visitors and helps pre-qualify them to some extent.
The customer Service team can also access this shared knowledge base created by the Sales team and anticipate the customer’s problem to give them quick solutions.
The customer service team can help the sales team overcome objections with their in-depth knowledge of what customers go through every day.
CRM can make this information visible to everyone. The teams can conduct a quarterly-exercise to condense Customer Delight insights in one document which is useful for all three teams.
Once small businesses see a growth spurt, they also notice an increase in the number of incoming leads. It starts small and the initial few leads are easier to manage. But once the number of leads outgrows your ability to organize and manage them, you run the risk of losing some important leads among the resulting chaos.
An inefficiently organized Spreadsheet system for tracking leads adds even more pressure on your Sales team. Three potentially dangerous situations can happen for your business:
CRM allows you to avoid all these situations. It lets you:
This makes CRM extremely powerful in lead analytics where all the data about sales effectiveness of your company can be gathered and analyzed critically to make it better.
If you never had that situation, you could have it if you make the mistake of sticking to a spreadsheet-based system.
CRM can help you organize your deals based on the stage of the Sales process they are in. This empowers you in several ways:
Many CRM systems also have multiple Sales pipeline tracks for all the categories of products/services you are selling.
All these features make CRM very powerful for managing your entire Sales cycle without the overwhelm of handling many deals at once or missed opportunities (or both).
A good value proposition statement will help you define the kind of customers you will serve, which needs or problems you will solve, and what will be the advantage that you provide.
It must involve people outside the marketing team and incorporate what every customer-facing stakeholder thinks about your producer.
Follow these three key tactics to create your USP statement:
Value propositions must be specific, realistically attainable, and well-reasoned. For example, if you say you are going to reduce marketing costs, talk about why do you think marketing costs are high and how much money can actually be saved.
It should be a 2-3 sentences long paragraph that is to be placed on the ‘About’ page of your company’s website.
Once you get an idea about exactly what it is that you offer, break down those goals into quarterly, monthly, and weekly. Create a plan that is flexible enough to allow revisions.
These would be one-on-one phone calls or face-to-face interviews in which you would ask them open-ended questions. In feedback forms, customers type something and the information is digitally recorded; you cannot ask for clarification or ask deeper questions to know the exact problem.
These direct feedback calls usually take it a level further than a normal feedback form.
You can ask descriptive questions and have detailed conversations when directly interviewing your clients.
For large client lists, one-on-one interviews are not a practical solution. Surveys with precise strategic questions that help you gain maximum actionable insights are the most suitable customer feedback tool in this scenario. If you have segmented email lists, you can also customize these surveys before sending it to them.
If you can’t cover the entire list with one-on-one interviews, you can interview only the highest-value clients and send surveys to the rest of them.
Buyer Personas (or Customer Personas) are fictional representations which collect the most common traits among your potential and actual customers.
Before your marketing team starts making content for your potential customer, they must know who the customer really is and how he/she buys.
A buyer persona helps them understand the character behind your customer and what his/her motivations are to buy a product/service you sell.
Following attributes about your fictional customer help determine the reasons they will buy from you:
Some of them will have singular values like age or gender. Some of them may not be whole on their own, such as interests and personality; there could granular factors which help determine them.
There are many templates available online which can help simplify your buyer persona creation process.
Creating a CRM strategy involves knowing what your customer is and what his/her problems are. The first step is understanding the customer’s identity is creating a Customer Persona.
A customer journey or a purchasing path is the way you deliver the solutions. So visualizing this journey allows you to get a big picture view and that’s how you start unpacking all the little problems or inconveniences you can solve for your customer.
There are several “touch-points” a potential customer would use to interact with your brand. These include:
This is just an example list, you could have a different set of assets with which your potential customer would interact.
Here’s another example of what your customer journey could look like:
The goal is to understand what questions they have about their needs/problems and what buying stage they are in at each of these touchpoints.
This information helps inform the kind of content you can serve to help the lead move along the journey toward becoming your customer.
At every stage in the customer journey, create 1-3 content artefacts that can solve the customer’s problem at that stage. Usually, the standard is to have one piece of content designed to move leads from one buying stage to the next. Create a list of content pieces (blog posts, podcasts, video, ebooks, etc). This is what you will, at the minimum, have to create in order to have a sustainable inflow of leads.
For example, a lead in the awareness stage would not typically know much about the problem. You could create a detailed long-form blog post to educate them of the problem. To promote this post, you can create a short video telling people about the article in short and share that video on Instagram stories and on Facebook/Twitter.
Likewise, if you want to appeal to a warm lead in the consideration stage, you have to create a sense of mastery to persuade them to convert. So share industry best practices or perhaps a case study that shows how your solution helped a client make a difference in their life/business.
It’s a lot of work so you have to plan out your resources, get them approved from the management, and invite all leave applications from your team for the next whole quarter. You could do this for one content resource per stage or more, if you have the budget and the resources.
A profitable sales channel and a defined sales process linked to those channels are a must-have for any CRM strategy.
An established business might not need this process. But a startup or a new brand has to take into account all the available online and offline sales channels.
A concrete sales process is important as it will be used as a pipeline you will track all your deals on inside your CRM system.
A sales process will be the list of stages of consideration your proposal goes through. This is more important for B2B businesses rather than B2C businesses.
An example sales process could be like this:
One of the things that CRM does for you here is that it tracks all your upcoming deals in a simplified pipeline as shown below. CRM can do a lot more with the analysis of deals that go through and deals that fall through.
With goals and feature list out of the way, it’s time to go software shopping.
It’s easy to lose sight of your goal and wander aimlessly among your options. To make it simple, this guide lists the “must-check” factors in CRM selection:
Most modern CRM systems have this feature. If some software company does claim to provide on-premise CRM solution, they’re living in the past and they will make your company live in the past. You shouldn’t have to manage a huge data center and pay all the costs associated with it, when you can simply outsource it to your cloud CRM provider.
Very few of the software you use will require individual installations because SaaS removes the process bottlenecks and costs caused by on-premise software.
Cloud computing is a boon not only for CRM but for all software.
It’s easy to create mobile apps or mobile-optimized websites. But sometimes the CRM has so many features that the mobile app can become quite heavy.
If your preferred provider does not have all the features on mobile app, they should have a “lite” version of the app for some smaller functions that can be offered on mobile.
Your need for accessibility would also be satisfied if all the major features (pipeline history, purchase orders, or customer history, etc) can be viewed via a mobile-optimized website.
If you have to pinch-zoom to see your data because their website renders as a desktop version on a mobile browser, that CRM should be immediately booted off your list.
So you need a CRM that integrates into other existing software that will need its data.
The integrations can be of two types: native and channelled.
With native integrations, you provide your login info and the data is automatically extracted by the CRM.
Modern integrations can also be channelled through a third-party like Zapier.
If the CRM doesn’t play nice with its sibling software in your company, it should not be on your list.
You want to break in your new CRM quickly after the demo and final selection, but you also want it to be smooth and error-free. Some CRM companies provide free migration, but some charge for it.
First time usage assistance would be required and you should opt it to ensure a problem-free transition.
If you are buying a long-term package, check for discounts on training costs.
This may seem like a lightweight option but it should be high on your priority. You don’t want to hand over your data to a company on the decline. Following are some of the factors that can help study the CRM company as a part of CRM selection due diligence:
Traditionally, social network monitoring was offered separately. Modern CRMs come with a certain degree of social capabilities built into them.
These can range from basic monitoring of hashtags and social feeds of industry influencers to interactions by your support team with your followers.
A Social CRM will expand your capabilities by allowing you to integrate your community with your business; there’s a definite value add.
However, it may come at a cost and may not be fully mature to replace your current social media management software. Decide wisely because this is a “nice to have” capability, not a “must have”.
Ultimately, you should not trust a CRM just because it is a popular industry name or if they are offering a huge discount. Don’t delay your due diligence until after the purchase or you could be in for a rude shock.
After the research and due diligence, it’s time to let your team evaluate the options you have chosen. Your team may be small but they also need to have a say in the process as they wil be the end users of the software. You don’t want your software giving them problems in the future.
Here are some factors you need to consider while consulting with your team and making a decision for them:
Don’t ask for a standard demo, ask for a demo that’s customized to your feature wish-list you created in the early stages of the due diligence process.
You can check for rest of the CRM features (aside from your list) in the same demo but at the end of your wishlist demos.
Repeat this list for three of your topmost choices so you can easily compare. This makes sure you get to see all the important parts of the software while utilizing your demo time efficiently.
An easier way to compare would be creating a Google sheet with your feature wish list and asking your end users to rate the demoed CRM system on each feature.
You want to know what kind of training they provide, how much they charge for it, and what is included in their training. You also want to know how long will the training take before your team can start using the CRM.
Finally, you also want to be sure of what’s not included in the training so that you can schedule those walkthroughs explicitly and avoid any mis-communication later on.
After finalizing your preferred CRM software, you must negotiate. Chances are that you are already getting a substantial discount with the yearly pricing. However, it’s not uncommon for a customer to ask for a discount.
Hopefully, you would have the feedback from your sales and marketing team which would give you reasons to ask for a discount.
The CRM company may not budge on the actual membership pricing of their product. However, they may provide concessions in either the breadth of training, training costs, or additional features that may be outside of the plan you bought.
It never hurts to ask. These requests have a higher rate of success during month-end or quarter-end days to fulfill their own targets.
CRM software is projected to become the biggest investment companies will make in the five-year period between 2025 and 2030.
In the near future, the CRM software market is expected to rise to about $35 Billion by the year 2023.
With so much money coming in, there are a lot of options available. One of the many choices that small business owners will have to make is choosing between a Cloud CRM and In-house (on-premise) CRM.
Cloud CRM is a web-based software where all the code resides on the “cloud”. Here, ‘cloud’ is simply an umbrella term. It means the software doesn’t need to be installed on your company’s network computers. You buy a membership, obtain an account, log into your account, and all the software is available on the website.
Choosing a CRM software is a complicated decision because it could cost a significant part of your budget. So you want to ensure that the CRM that you choose is capable enough to bring about all the positive changes it claims to bring.
The decision is about long-term revenue growth, and not just breaking even with your CRM investment.
As sales agents go about their day, they may be stationed within the office at their desk. B2B Sales often involves talking to the client in their office; traveling is a part of a sales agent’s job description. All business development managers need to account for the traveling expenses for the team.
And sales being a job with a lot of rejection, BDMs also have to ensure a higher level of sustained motivation within the team.
With an in-house CRM, any operational tasks that would require same day completion would require your sales agents to travel back to the office and log in an extra hour or two of overtime.
With cloud CRM, they could access the CRM system from their office laptops or even their mobile devices and finish a good percentage of their tasks while sitting in a cafe or traveling in a taxi.
This translates into some very important benefits for your business:
Data security is obviously a major concern and a valid one for those looking to purchase a cloud CRM.
In a 2018 report by Cybersecurity Insiders, over 60% of respondents said that cloud apps have security that is better than or at the same level of as that of on-premise apps.
More often than not, the challenges in cloud security have less to do with the software itself and more to do with the people who are using it.
In a stunning report, Gartner predicted that at least 95% of security breaches by the year 2022 will be attributed to policies for security and control at the client site - not at the cloud provider site.
So, how can you ensure proper security and control at your end after you deploy a cloud CRM.
First of all, cloud CRM security is different from security measures you would need to deploy for an in-house CRM. You must examine what the differences between two security implementations are and what measures can be useful in securing your cloud deployments. The articles linked in the above sentence should give you a head start to help establish a common ground over security with your cloud CRM provider.
With a greater technical focus on cybersecurity and physical separation coupled with higher resilience, you can get better security in a cloud CRM solution than in an in-house CRM deployment.
All of EngageBay’s data resides on Google Cloud. When you choose EngageBay as your Cloud CRM partner, you are assured of Google-grade security of all your data in the cloud.
There are a few features that make an offering based on Google Cloud Security unique:
For more details on Google Cloud Security, click here.