The Top 4 Strategies for Maximizing Your CRM Investment

From engaging and delighting your customers at scale to making data-driven decisions and automating everyday tasks, a quality CRM solution can truly transform a business.

Most companies believe that gaining these benefits adopting a CRM is all about choosing the right platform. While this is certainly important (and if you ask us, the right platform is Salesforce!), it is not the entire picture. Below are four strategies every company needs to keep in mind if they want to get as much value as possible out of their CRM investment.

1. Don’t skimp on training and onboarding

That the degree to which your team understands and adopts a new CRM determines your success with the software seems obvious. However, many organizations fail at getting their team to use their new platform.

Part of this comes down to training. While initial training is common, ongoing education is not – and that’s a problem. New team members will come on board who will require education. More importantly, your CRM system will continually update with new features – at least if it’s any good. Therefore, training should be part of your organization’s ongoing schedule.

Usability is another common issue. To get your entire organization on board, ensure that your CRM system is designed with every department’s interest and usability needs in mind. From data hierarchies to the use of abbreviations, everything needs to be easy to understand and accessible for all involved.

Finally, if you want your team to adopt your new CRM platform, make sure they understand what’s in it for them. When each member of your team understands their personal ROI for CRM adoption, they are far more likely to use it.

2. Create processes and automate them whenever possible

According to one Forrester researcher, “33% of respondents had challenges related to CRM strategy, such as a lack of clearly defined objectives, a lack of organizational readiness, and insufficient solution governance practices.”

This underscores the need to set processes and automations in place before rolling out a CRM system. Businesses need to define objectives and strategies, as well as adjustments to operations that are necessary to ensure the CRM runs smoothly.

One of the fastest ways to make more sales is to automate your sales processes – and that’s exactly what CRM platforms are for. They remove repetitive, administrative tasks from your sales teams while ensuring they never miss anything important and can focus on the job at hand.

Example automations include sending emails to new or existing clients, ensuring communication lines remain open and leads don’t get missed. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is then used to tailor the email based on certain criteria, such as customers’ search and purchase history, and can also suggest next actions to sales teams based on where the customer is in the sales cycle.

When these automations are implemented, not only does the CRM system run smoother, but employees begin to see the benefits for themselves. This increases their use of the system, making it run even better, and a snowball effect occurs.

3. Use CRM in the context of your entire IT infrastructure

Whatever you do, don’t use CRM in isolation.

Too many companies believe CRM begins and ends with sales teams. While it may be used primarily by sales, interdepartmental cooperation is essential to a health CRM system. For example, without an integrated CRM and service desk, front line staff may not be aware of recent changes with specific customers, or of conversations they’ve had with sales teams, thereby limiting their ability to capitalize on opportunities or build relationships.

The reverse is true: sales teams need current information that can be used to make data-driven decisions. If CRM goes unintegrated, data is either missing or added manually, which can result in, salespeople acting on weeks- or months-old data.  

4. Don’t neglect data, the CRM foundation

Too often, businesses neglect data governance and quality in favor of more urgent matters. This is a mistake. Data is the foundation of a CRM system (and most IT systems for that matter). Organizations need to view this data as a strategic asset and work to maintain it to get the most value from their CRM.

There are several ways to accomplish this. The first is through data governance. By establishing a governance framework, companies can better prioritize user requests, mitigate risks, and improve performance, both in terms of the CRM system and for sales team performance.

Second, businesses need to ensure all systems are connected and that data flows freely between them. As discussed earlier, interdepartmental cooperation is critical to CRM success, and this begins with data integration. Bringing data from external sources into your CRM in real-time is where true transformation takes place. Data-driven decision making becomes a reality, as your CRM becomes a living, breathing resource that every member of your organization can rely on for accurate, up-to-date insights.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that your CRM is only as good as the data it’s built on. By keeping data fresh, clean, and easily accessible, CRM makes for a formidable decision-making tool.

To discover how you can maximize your CRM investment, contact Gerent today for your free consultation.

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