Get the Most ROI Out of your CRM

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  • 6/17/2016
    Businesses today are faced with tremendous pressure to squeeze as much return out of activities and investments like never before. With the amazing advances in technology and the “Internet of Things,” comes valuable analytics and numbers that can either inform us of the great job we are doing or inform us of how much further we need to press on. If we aren't tracking the majority of business activities and information in an effective, consistent manner, we will never improve.
    That is why a quality CRM is so critical today. These platforms now manage, if not heavily influence, the majority of our customer experiences and business growth. If that customer experience is healthy, then you always have a shot at improving and growing your business. Lose that customer experience through mishandling or neglecting the CRM, and then the dominoes fall. With that said, it is never too late to start making improvements.
    Here are five ways to get more out of your CRM to better your bottom-line:
    1. Invite More to the Party
    CRM is not solely a sales and marketing tool anymore. Customer service leaders and specialists need access to critical customer data, and new business specialists want that customer service insight to activate more opportunities. As we align with more customer service data, product engineers need those honest interactions and insight with customers in order to innovate the next big product or service.
    Don't be on an island. We understand that the path to absolute adoption of new technologies and processes are not quick, but you can use a more simplistic approach to reach the same end goal. Provide or create routine daily, weekly or monthly reporting of hard and valuable data to others in your organization without requiring them to do anything other than read and listen. Most of our clients are blessed with passionate and smart people who, once given timely and relevant insight, can turn around quality results.  
    A current trend involves companies with the right amount of resources seeking out agencies or freelancers to devote their time solely to CRM administration. Those interested in pushing forward toward such aims tend to look for specialists to hire out or bring onto their staff.
    2. Mold it to your Business
    Once you have a new license of your CRM, don't think that the work from your side ends there. If you really want to get a lot out of it, understand that good CRMs are built on flexible frameworks with point and click development capabilities for a reason. They allow for molding of process and data flow that align with any unique business. Yes, your business is really that “special snowflake,” not because it is wildly excluded from business realities and best practices, but because it has its own unique culture, values, incentives and performance structures. In addition, make sure that the workflows and processes don't conflict with the company's values and traditional measurements.
    Rather than quickly changing the CRM process, ensure that you’re finding a mold that works for those rock star sales representatives or customer service representatives. Why not elevate, promote and then align your new CRM to the successes you do have, and then find what works for both the CRM, company and employees.
    3. Integrate to All Customer Experience Touch Points
    Data, data, data and then action. That is the name of the game. I don't know precisely who said this, but I will enforce here that, “action trumps knowledge."
    Even while data is awesome and powers businesses into the future, what you actually implement and act on will ultimately determine your fate.  
    Therefore, make sure that the data capturing is integrated with as many customer touch points as possible. Here are some examples:
    • Website
    • E-commerce store
    • Profile center
    • Email marketing or automation platform
    • Enterprise field sales applications
    The data that is exchanged in those experiences need to flow into a system of record, which for many companies is the CRM. Yes, there will be middle-ware, limitations and rules around data capture, but there needs to be the default conversation that happens in all new touch point creation and management. 
    The conversation ought to look somewhat like this:
    • What gets into the CRM?
    • How does it get there?
    • What do we plan to do with it?

    4. Blocking and Tackling
    Yes, in order to sell the platforms the agencies, businesses and the power-users need to have the sophistication to understand the reasons and benefits of the CRM. In order to get to the full value proposition to resonate, the CRM platforms need to market not just the features and costs, but the best practices and processes that the top businesses adopt. They reach beyond just the programming and configuration capabilities and go more into the strategic guidance than the user manual documentation. Consume, review and listen to that guidance. Soak it in and fill the gaps where necessary. If you aren't tracking leads, contacts, opportunities and the size of your funnel, put that at the top of your to-do list immediately.  
    No matter where you are in the maturity of your business, you can learn a lot from going back to the basics.
    5. Incorporate Cross-Selling
    It seems today that cross-selling is such a dirty word. I think most of us, sans financial officers, think the concept of cross-selling is almost too self-serving. In reality, it is absolutely the best thing you could possibly do for an existing or potential customer or client. I have discussed this pain point with financial advisors, retailers, restaurant owners and even heavy manufacturers. Every one of them has been burned by the, "If I had known you provided that [product or service] I would have simply purchased it from you!" Customers are begging for their vendors to simplify things for them-- so why wouldn't you incorporate the management of such efforts into your customer service platform?
    Salesforce, SugarCRM and Hubspot all have capabilities to cross-sell effectively and efficiently. You should start by establishing strategy and workflow alerts for identifying cross-selling profiles and opportunities often triggered by account activities and history. Create methods to notify and assign follow-ups and communication of related products and services at the different customer touch points. These can include visits to websites, scheduled account management calls, triggered emails or newsletters, as well as planned webinars.
    In conclusion, the path to the best ROI with your CRM will not just be code and tech. It will involve cheerleading, critical thinking and consensus gathering. Focus on real, even if small, wins for your organization. Best practices have their place, of course, but make sure you focus on distilling those best practices down to practical processes that are meaningful to your daily operations.

    If you're interested in learning more, listen to our corresponding podcast about getting the most ROI out of your CRM
    About the author:: Bruce represents Digital Development Services at thunder::tech, which encompasses our application development, digital support services, user experience design and development services. Bruce has been an integral player in growing thunder::tech’s technical capabilities and solutions offered to clients. He has helped drive clients’ growth by leveraging today’s digital tools, platforms and technologies to reach goals of any size and scope for any size business.
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