Building a strategy for CRM integration is as important as tracking your CRM performance in the business. The first step starts with laying out the exact aims of your CRM followed by identifying key features for boosting productivity.
Entire project management revolves around consistent analysis of such features to know how each of them influences your business.
For small businesses, effective CRM has solved numerous operational issues since it first came into existence. From simplifying communication and collaboration to satisfying external stakeholders, it adds volumes in productivity and efficiency once applied thoroughly.
However, many business owners often make the wrong choice for CRM or chose to work with features that cannot take care of their specific requirements.
For instance, if you are digital media business with a network of blogs, a CRM like Basecamp will solve all your problems of collaboration and communication. However, if you are a complex service agency or an expanding niche ecommerce platform, then it will not do you much good. You will need a more comprehensive CRM with automated email solutions, payroll management and what not. Then you must consider dynamic cloud solutions like Zoho or Vtiger.
How to take your business from small to big
Founders wrestle with their first hires
Social media is your friend when crowdfunding
Here are 7 CRM specific features that you should be using to capture leads more effectively.
#1 Dynamic sales features
Increasing the productivity of sales reps by making repetitive tasks automated is one of the core reasons to use a CRM. This saves a lot of time for sales reps to focus more on purchases and lead conversions. Therefore make sure your CRM incorporated features like:
When you think about the manual nature of contact management, it is a time consuming task as each contact has to be carefully recorded and added. This forces sales people to divert attention from the important job of lead conversion and generation.
Therefore, your CRM must have contact management as an automated feature. This should include export/import of contacts; email management, social media sync and contact segmentation and classification features.
Automated Sales Calls
Lead generation involves a lot of sales calling. Your CRM should provide features like an auto dialer that can help representatives to make more calls, record them when required and access historical records in an instant to get access to relevant data.
#2 Lead management automation
Leads are entities that establish a sales channel. Lead generation and conversion are quintessential to any business. It is one feature that is effectively used by marketing and sales departments both.
Make sure your CRM provides lead management features that allow lead nurturing through emails and newsletter, lead scoring based on tags and notes, lead behavior tracking through web analytics. It should give you data like deals closed, deal buying pattern, average purchase commitments and more.
The system in itself is dynamic and complex. For instance, sales associates who use custom modules to capture additional lead information are often worried about what will happen to that extra information when a lead is converted.
If the fields in the leads module are not mapped to an appropriate field in the Contacts module, then that extra information is lost. For instance, if a you have a custom field called Desired Product to track what product the lead is interested in, on converting that lead to contact, if the Desired Product field is not mapped to an appropriate field in the contacts module, the sales associate ends up losing a crucial information.
With features like Contact type field, you don’t have to worry about any lost information as the entire lifecycle of contacts – from lead to customer – syncs in to one database.
Therefore, the choice of CRM should be impeccable based on your requirements and scale.
#3 Lead capturing features
Lead capturing is a delicate process. One tiny error can lead to irreparable losses. The marketing team first funnels leads in. It nurtures them and passes them to sales to continue the nurturing process.
Your CRM should essentially enable marketers to speed up lead capture. This way they can nurture multiple leads at a time and create a perfect email dripping process. A CRM with features like customer popups, signup forms and surveys makes it easier. Web analytics also help in capturing new site visitors who can later be turned into leads.
Contus using Vtiger is a great example of successful lead management with CRMwhere the former is a mobility, cloud and web solutions company that specializes in web app development for small to global organizations. Everything was going smooth unless gradual expansion of lead capturing led to pitfalls like mismanagement, increased bounce rates and declining sales.
The challenges were clear. As leads increased, management was becoming difficult for sales and marketing team due to increased documentation and other redundant procedures.
What Contus needed was ease of customization and field modification, reports compiling any in-system data, customer profile management and completely organized workflows with triggered alerts.
In a bid to turn it all around, Contus partnered with CRM solutions provider Vtiger adopting their trademark on demand CRM solution across the organization.
The system was setup within hours and the entire marketing and sales department was brought on to it. It started using the solution to store, track and evaluate every lead captured through various inbound marketing activities.
With the help of an effective CRM, Contus was able to focus attention on high-value deals and others requiring special attention, enabling higher win-rates.
Increased data collection capabilities, and powerful alert systems and reporting tools also ensure that the organization’s management is always plugged into what’s happening, and is better informed in its decision making about lead nurturing and future products and services.
Here are some key positive results Contus achieved:
- 30% increase in conversion rates
- $70,000 increase in monthly revenues
- 90% increase in reporting capabilities
- Comprehensive lead profiles, notes, and engagement histories
- Greater visibility into, and management of high-value deals
The statistics are encouraging.
#4 Campaign management automation
Marketing campaigns involve a two-way array of communication like emails, newsletters, blog posts and what not. To run these content campaigns, email automation becomes critical.
Therefore, an effective CRM must have email automation features that can be personalized and customized according to specific business needs.
#5 Analytics and reporting
Historical data analysis and consistent forecasts help a business in staying healthy and warding itself off from unwanted risks and speculation. Numbers and stats help marketing professionals and sales reps understand various steps in their performance.
For instance, without due analytics, it is impossible to figure out why a certain website change is working or how a new A/B test helps boost your traffic! Having automatic analytics report on email and website engagement is a very important feature that your CRM needs to have.
The next three features center on customer and third party engagement. Customer satisfaction is a prime concern for all businesses as it provides for customer retention, brand recall, word of mouth and loyalty.
#6 Social media automation
If your business is not on social media nowadays, it is nowhere then! Manual social management can be a very hefty task as it involves trying to maintain an omnipotent presence over numerous channels like Facebook and Twitter and calls for increased overheads.
An effective CRM nullifies this challenge by providing automated scheduling, publishing, auto-responders and social media analytics. Therefore, choose a CRM that allows your marketing team to acquire sales rather than change statuses and like tweets!
#7 Automated grievance redressal: ticketing automation
The first response to a ticket by any business plays a major role in cementing or uprooting a particular customer. As there is a lot of speculation when this happens, a lot of time is wasted in thinking about response emails and follow-ups.
CRM automation can help if loaded with features that allow creation of question specific responses that can go out easily and automatically, providing instant help and thus an excellent impression. The CRM will not only send replies in real-time, but also allow for customization and personalization.
Sending a response is not enough, as you must solve the issue to provide 100% value to the end user. Tickets need to be checked and prioritized according to urgency. An effective CRM will allow you to add various tags and SLAs that aid automated ticket categorization.
To conclude, let me rephrase something I found recently in Harvard Business Review. It states that on average sales and marketing costs average from 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate for more sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%.
There is no question that deploying effective CRM solutions will boost productivity and help your business. After all, automation is only about getting more from less. Therefore, define your goals more strategically and them align them with your CRM standards to work towards efficient achievement.