There is a variety of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems available today. Some come with all the bells and whistles you can imagine while others come as simple and streamlined as possible. Whether the CRM is housed in “the cloud” or stationed in your server room, it can provide a continuous heartbeat for your sales pipeline and lead you towards a more successful future. Information technology research and advisory firm, Gartner Inc., has forecasted the CRM market will reach just under $24 billion this year. With those numbers, you cannot deny CRMs have a strong hold in the sales world. The reason, why those companies turn to CRMs, is to get a competitive advantage in the marketplace and beat their competition to the sale. When choosing a CRM it’s best to ask yourself 3 simple questions so that you build a core competency within your CRM.
- Who are the people in your company that will use the CRM?
- What are the mission critical business development activities necessary to win business?
- What protocols and measurements exist or should exist for the people using the CRM?
CRM software is an enterprise-wide system used to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, technical support and more. The goal of CRMs is to hold all of the key contact information for an organization’s prospects, clients, leads, with the main focus being on business development. They can be used to store contact details for employees, suppliers, contractors and other stakeholders. Each CRM system allows you to sync across multiple contact channels, such as email services, call centers, chat platforms, social networking services and direct mail. User clicks, responses, and possible deals can also be tracked according to a specific marketing campaign.
At C-Level, we understand that choosing the right CRM for your business can be a daunting task. We’ve worked closely with the leaders of many companies to determine which system best suits their needs by factoring in existing IT structure, the software’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), desired features, reporting needs and especially the specific people needs. Several CRM solutions have become pillars in the “norm” of marketing and sales processes, such as:
There’s more to Know about Marketing and Referral Tracking Today
A CRM system is only as good as the information it houses, so gathering up-to-date and relevant information is a key business process that should not be overlooked. If done properly all of this can funnel directly into your CRM, enabling you to track and count the leads generated for each marketing tactic deployed, giving you an inside advantage for sales success.
In addition to knowing which marketing routes are best to invest in, you can gather more information on the interested party that will allow you to craft a more targeted approach. To maximize your revenue, and engage with your customers more effectively, you’ll want to take note on how your products or services meet the needs of your target audience, what key bits of information are found important when deciding on a purchase, and what compelled the audience to take notice of your company. Ivan Misner, Founder & Chairman of BNI, a professional business networking organization, said, “It’s critical to track your income sources, whether from referrals, advertising, walk-in or drive-by traffic or elsewhere. But before attempting to track the results of something, you must first set goals to shoot for,” that way you can better strategize future campaigns and more effectively spend your time and money.
Expand By Getting More Out Of Email Addresses in Your CRM
Many companies boast that they understand the importance of list building and that “the money is in the list!” but their actions contradict their words. Today’s marketing automation offers a lot of choices, but without a CRM and/or quality email addresses to your target audience, automation has fewer options. A Drip Campaign is a great example of an automated messaging option available through your CRM and it definitely requires quality email addresses. Knowing details about the people who own the email addresses is also vital. A quality email address is defined as one that is both working and owned by your target audience demographics, for example, the email address for the decision maker as opposed to one of the many sales reps.
More business leaders are recognizing the importance of email marketing today. C-Level Global CEO, David M. Rose, said “Email campaigns are vital in selling and persuading audiences when built into Consistent-Repeatable-Processes for messaging the audience because eventually, timing will be in the campaign’s favor. Some buyers in the target audience will have a need for what’s being offered in the campaign.” Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of email campaigns, just make certain you have a high volume of relevant people to email to and continuously perfect your CRM list over time. The result will be a competitive advantage you can use to maximize your revenue.
The Successful Marriage Between Your CRM and Social Media
All the contacts made through social media should be recorded in your CRM in a specific record for each contact and their company. In addition, it is helpful to see the latest updates on your most important connections from within your CRM. When ExactTarget sat down with Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble a social CRM platform, he said, “Relationship management is entering a 21st-century renaissance” and I couldn’t agree more. CRMs in the B2B market are continually growing to include the newest form of target marketing… social media. Traditional marketing contact made by phone, email, and paper mail have a lower success rate while social media marketing is on the rise. Pairing social media with traditional marketing tactics can dramatically increase audience contact and sales revenues. According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of adults online use social media networking sites as of September 2013, with 40% of them utilizing the social networks from a mobile device.
In today’s online conversational setting, personal recommendations from friends and followers can greatly influence your buying decisions. Regardless of which CRM program you choose, you will find that when you listen and engage with your customers, on a personal level, you will grow the company’s sales community. Ultimately, you will create a stronger and more direct connection with your prospects.
Ensuring Your Sales Force Uses The CRM To Sustain Results
Who is the CRM for? Everyone in the company that is responsible for business development and/or customer experience should be utilizing your CRM. However, getting your team to use the system uniformly can be the greatest challenge. Getting them to use it strategically is an entirely different challenge but both of these challenges depend on leadership. At the end of the day every successful company knows that CRM systems are not optional, but mandatory… it’s a requirement of the job. From senior management down to entry-level, in order to expand your CRM, everyone in the company must know how to use the system and must use it daily. Many CRM users also recommend implementing rewards for those who find ways to streamline a CRM process or make management aware of bugs, thus ensuring you have all hands on deck.
Successfully adopting the ideas discussed in this article enables you to expand your CRM into the 21st century by focusing on the things that make deals happen faster and leave your customers satisfied. Remember, it is far too easy for companies to become complacent, failing to update procedures and alter habits that could produce more tangible sales benefits. Innovative changes, like implementing a CRM system, commonly get set aside so the company can focus on more immediate needs. In business sales and operations, there is never a “good time” or “enough time” to build and implement the right CRM strategies. This can cost companies more than they realize. Sometimes, making a CRM change can be the first step to generating more dynamic growth within an organization.
At C-Level Global, we work specifically with leaders who are looking to grow their company by making their business stronger in both sales and operations. Connect with us today to find out how we can help.