Imagine A CRM as the central hub of your workforce. A place where any employee with access can go and track any client who interacts with your funnel. Every time someone completes a form on your website, downloads content, or simply speaks to you on the phone the information is recorded in the CRM. Each time you engage with the client after they have been added to the CRM you will have a log of this. You’ll be able to see what has been said & done so far and what you need to do to move them along the funnel. The right CRM is a primary piece of your companies’ sales & marketing arsenal. Which is best used in conjunction with a marketing automation system. If you are looking to launch your first CRM or update to one more suited to your needs then this article will be perfect for you.
Step 1. Analyse your teams’ requirements
There are a range of CRM systems available. Each is designed and built to cater to a specific target audience and/or sales process. Some of the most widely used stock CRM’s are as follows: Salesforce, Hubspot CRM & Pipedrive. But how do you work out which CRM is right for you without wasting hours of your own time and your clients time by signing up to several before finding the right one? Before you can choose the perfect CRM for your company (if one is available) you have to consider a few things.
How flexible does the system need to be?
For example, CRM giant Salesforce has a large range of customizable options and features that are great for a wide range of companies. However because of all the extra bells & whistles it is easy to get lost in the multitude of features and settings that are available. Salesforce isn’t great for service businesses with a smaller volume of transactions. For companies like this a simpler CRM might make more sense.
Does the CRM allow for growth?
Some systems like Pipedrive are often used by smaller companies with lower transaction frequencies. This isn’t usually an issue and will work fine for most small businesses.
But what happens when your business grows and you are forced to upgrade? When choosing your CRM don’t just think about the size of your current team. Plan for the future and make sure the system allows for easy expansion.
How sophisticated are your sales?
Does your business offer a range of products with different prices & procedures? Or is a sale typically the same every time?
Depending on the answer to the two questions above you would have to look at two very different systems. If you answered YES to the first question you could do with a larger scale CRM that support stock management, stock based invoicing and a whole range of other features. Whereas if you answered YES to the second question you can get away with a much simpler system with a smaller feature base.
When you’ve chosen your CRM what data do you have for launch?
This is a huge part of the process when setting up your CRM for the first time. You need to make sure you have a dedicated employee or team that keeps ALL data updated and accurate so that there are no holes in the funnel. Large systems like Saleforce take a lot of energy and dedication to launch. So you need to consider the amount of time it will take to launch the CRM once you have chosen the right one for you & your business.
Most of the systems that are available for ‘off the shelf’ use are billed on a subscription and can range from $50 – $100 per user per month. Which if you have a team of 5 and that is set to grow in the near future these costs can soon mount up. If you are looking for an ‘all in one’ option it is also important to note that Salesforce & Hubspot offer CRM and marketing automation systems that are all under one roof.
Step 2. What data matters & how do you want to display it?
When you launch your CRM for the first time it is very easy to just add every bit of data you have collected over the last 10 years your company has been running. This will bog the system down with useless information of clients you haven’t interacted with for over 5 years. You need to look at your data and break it down into sections for example (location, service used, revenue, industry, company name, contact details). Once the data has been broken down and make simpler for your team to follow you need to look at the following:
Streamlining the sales process.
What information is valuable to your team & your sales reps when they are speaking to a potential lead for the first time? Whilst they are making that initial contact what information is required to make things move more smoothly later on? These are just some of the questions that you and your sales team should think about as you build a map of fields that you need to track.
For example, if you are selling three brands of shoes from your online ecommerce store you would break that information down into three verticals. (Nike, Vans, Adidas.) To make this easy to track for others you would make a field called “Shoe Brand” with three drop down values that are equal to the values given in the example above.
Identifying trends and your ‘ideal customer’
If you follow the example above suppose after 3 months of selling you find that the majority of your sales are on the Vans section of the website. Because you set up a field to track this information you can now access the data in real-time. Which allows you to build a marketing strategy from your strengths & the current trends.
Flexibility & change
As your business grows so will your sales process. You will want to add new products and track different types of data. You’ll need to make sure that the fields you create don’t make it difficult to record data for new options that have different parameters from your initial services & products. To make this easier all you need to do is give the users of the CRM pre-defined values in the shape of a drop-down system. As opposed to a free text form. This will not only make things much simpler but it will keep your data clean by enforcing a standardised way of inputting data across the whole system eliminating issues such as: spelling mis-match (Vans & VANS). Doing this will also make sure that you have a much more robust reporting system whilst minimising the chance of human error.
Step 3. Integration
Your CRM needs to be able to integrate with a number of other platforms and services. Particularly your marketing automation system. If you are using an off the shelf system then your vendor has likely built some way of enabling this.
Connecting your own products & Services
If you have a service that is based online check to see if it can have API’s attached to it. If so consider integrating it with your CRM. For example, there may be certain actions your customers may take. (Not logged onto the website for X amount of time.) These should be logged in the CRM and flagged for your sales team to follow up. Or your success team to report on.
Step 4. Import your refined data
Once you have chosen your CRM or had a bespoke one built that is better suited to your needs. Now is the time to start importing your data into the system. To start with there are typically 3 types of data that you want to import: Contacts, Company information and Sales.
In most CRMs the 3 types of data listed above are connected. In the sense that a sale is attached to a company with a contact who placed the order. Because of this, it is important to be precise in your way of naming data. By doing this you should ensure that the right data is linked with the right sales & companies. The process of importing the data can be a long-winded and tedious process. Often riddled with the need to manipulate excel documents full of information. If this is an issue or you are worried that you are going to import that data wrong and have to start again. Just get in touch with your CRM supplier. More often than not they will be happy to assist you.
Step 5. Document and train!
Now you have your brand-new CRM up and running. You’ve included all of your refined useful data and imported it. Now you need to make sure everyone is using the system in the same way. Ideally, you need to create a document that states how to use the system in line with the companies policies. When creating the documentation ensure that employees are all aligned with the following:
- Employees are entering full & complete data in applicable fields.
- Sales, companies & contacts are categorized properly.
- The documentation is used as a handbook and followed carefully to reduce any chance of error.
Step 6. Enjoy
Now you have your new CRM system you should notice a significant boost in client to employee engagement. Customers love the fact that you have all of their past information logged onto a system to save repetition. It also allows the employee to give them a much more individual response when talking over the phone. A CRM will also increase the workflow of your sales team and reduce paperwork if used correctly. So there aren’t really many downsides to a CRM. Apart from the hefty price tag on some of the off the shelf systems!
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