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September 27, 2016
Sales  |  8 min read

What CRM Really Means For Your Business

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Alessandra Ceresa

There are so many articles floating around these days expressing the importance investing in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, however, I want to explore what CRM really means for a business.

CRM continues to evolve. The industry itself grew 13.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, while, “Gartner advises that 2015 marks the tipping point whereby Software as a Service (SaaS) CRM revenues exceed on-premise. The analyst firm further forecasts that SaaS CRM adoption will reach 80-85 percent by 2025.” (CRM Search)

As you can see from these compelling stats, CRM usage and adoption is on the rise. However, implementation continues to be an issue for many businesses. A lot of this falls on training, but in my opinion, organizations do not fully understand nor embrace how CRM is going to transform their overall business.

CRM brings process into your business

Whether you had a process to begin with or not, a CRM really makes it official. Why? CRM brings transparency to an organization. If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen. All data and activity for both team members and leads/clients are tracked within the platform, keeping everyone accountable. CRM workflows, such as follow-up workflows when a person fills out a form, take both the lead and the sales/marketing rep through specific steps and tasks. This series of activities makes up part of your business process.

This strategic process makes up a large part of your customer experience, creating a consistent journey for your leads and clients.

Process, no matter what, is a critical growth component. Without process, there is no set standard for how you do business, resulting in highly inconsistent inconsistencies, inaccurate data, and the inability to provide optimal customer experiences.

CRM and transparency

Transparency within an organization creates a more collaborative and productive workforce. Because all activities are housed within a single platform, your team members are able to see what was done, who worked on the task, and which tasks are to be completed. This transparency not only keeps your team accountable to each other but also enables each department access to the information they need to help them do their jobs better.

Example 1:

A sales person is making a follow-up call to a new client. With an integrated CRM, they have access to whether that client issued a support ticket, called the support line, opened up any emails you sent, and more. This data helps the sales person better meet the needs of the client. You are well-informed and equipped with the knowledge to really help solve your client’s pain points.

Example 2:

A client calls into your support team with an issue. The support team member is able to look up the contact record, see past conversations, tickets, emails, chats, and more. This way they can reference any past interactions that might be relevant to their current issue. Sales, in turn, can see how the issue was resolved and follow up appropriately.

Both of these are great examples of how CRM creates transparency within an organization. Use triggered workflows to systemize the process, whether it is a support follow-up or a sales follow up.

CRM makes you data-driven

What does it mean to be data-driven? Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense, describes a data-driven company as the following:

“A data-driven company is an organization where every person who can use data to make better decisions, has access to the data they need when they need it. Being data-driven is not about seeing a few canned reports at the beginning of every day or week; it’s about giving the business decision makers the power to explore data independently, even if they’re working with big or disparate data sources.”

This statement relates back to transparency as well. Data and transparency with that data allow companies to do business better. They are more informed and therefore able to take action based on real-time analytics and information. A CRM platform that works in real time will yield information that sales, operations, and marketing can use to trigger highly specific workflows to help drive leads down the funnel and optimize the customer journey. It also helps with customer retention and loyalty.

CRM and segmentation

Personalization is the present and the future. According to as study by Experian, “Personalized messages deliver 6x higher transaction rates, however, 70 percent of brands fail to use them.”

Segmenting your contacts is the first step to personalizing your marketing. You have to obtain enough accurate data about your leads and customers to be able to segment and target.

Use custom user-defined fields to store custom (and important) demographic data about your contacts. Use this data to personalize your messages, so each email, download, etc., that goes out to them is relevant to their needs.

Here are some more compelling stats for segmentation and personalization:

  • 53 percent of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact. – DemandGen
  • Segmented and targeted emails generate 58 percent of all revenue. – DMA
  • 74 percent of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. – eConsultancy

Marketing automation is a great way to accomplish segmentation and personalization for all of your campaigns. As you generate leads and obtain both demographic and behavioral data, messages are triggered based on this data. Results prove that these automated and personalized emails get far higher engagement, generating a significant influx in revenue.

Example 1:

Your marketing team just released a great new e-book and would like to make sure new leads receive this content in a new lead nurturing campaign. However, they want to target all leads with an interest in the topic of the e-book. They use CRM data to filter the contacts who should receive the email. Sales can then use this e-book and whether the lead opened the email or not as an intro to a conversation and perhaps another lead nurturing tool.

What does the mean for your business? With CRM and marketing automation, you transform your business into a data-driven model with the ability to personalize communication with your contacts to increase engagement and ultimately sales.

CRM makes you more agile

With the state of pretty much everything moving at the speed of light, it is critical to stay agile in your industry and in the marketplace. Consumers want to see brands that are keeping up with the trends and consistently improving the customer experience. This means, improving processes, data and how you use it, and improving the relationships you have with your clients.

CRM and efficiency

We all want to be efficient. A CRM with built-in marketing automation keeps your business nimble and able to adapt to particular trends in the market. As more data becomes available, or as it changes and evolves, your CRM and marketing automation platform utilizes these changes to deliver more timely, relevant messages.

Instead of relying on a manual process of exporting and importing new data all of the time, your CRM does this for you, making you more efficient and your messaging more on point. You also avoid the risk of losing data or wildly inaccurate data because the data collected is directly correlated to the behavior or your contacts.

More data means that you can quickly change up your process. With real-time analytics and reporting, any business can easily see what is working and what’s not. Have your buyer profiles evolved? Do you need to be sending more emails? Fewer emails? Are people responding to your lead nurturing strategy? With technology, you identify wins and losses and can quickly evolve your strategy. This is agility in the marketplace.

CRM and cloud

Along with making a business more agile and efficient, cloud-based platforms are constantly making upgrades and adding in new features for their users. This means that you do not have to rely on your vendor or IT department to upgrade the system; instead, these changes are done automatically and readily available to your team without further effort from the organization.

Cloud-based CRM and marketing automation platforms are disrupting the industry and allowing smaller businesses to compete on a higher level than in the past. Now any sized business has access to the same technology that transforms.

CRM + marketing automation = transformation/disruption

As a marketer, I have seen how many businesses have been transformed with the successful implementation of sales and marketing technology. However hesitant you are to transformation, it is what will keep you competitive. As consumers continue to expect more from the companies they do business with, it is our job to find ways to engage and connect on a deeper level.

This article was written by Alessandra Ceresa from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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