A CRM system, or Customer Relationship Management system, is software used to manage a company’s interactions with current and potential clients, as well as certain internal interactions.
A sophisticated CRM not only collects information on individuals, it allows a business to store that information and create detailed lists or profiles of what that person does or buys so that they can nurture leads and interact more precisely in the future.
CRM systems are designed to compile information on customers across different channels and points of contact between the customer and the company, which could include the company's website, storefront, telephone, live chat, marketing materials, and social media.
CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers, including former points of contact, purchase history, buying preferences, and concerns. The more a company knows about its customers, the better it can nurture those relationships and ultimately delight return customers.
Choosing the right CRM for your company takes research and time, but no matter which one you choose, there are a few things you can do to get your money’s worth:
3 Ways to Fail-Proof Your CRM System
1. Choose a Designated Driver
When it comes to a CRM system, the designated driver is the person who will be the ultimate authority on your CRM system. Often, CRM software can do so many useful things that it can be overwhelming if you try to jump in mid-stream. You need a DD who is dedicated to learning more about what the software can do and how it works best, so that person can keep the team informed and focused on how the CRM can help you achieve your goals. Think about it: when your company has a new client or project, there's usually some sort of project manager responsible for making sure it gets done and updating the team on progress. Having a CRM project manager or “driver” is a great way to make progress and troubleshoot any questions that come up from fellow team members.
2. Take 3 Small Steps
Most CRMs have so much advanced functionality that it’s easy to get "in the weeds." It can be discouraging when all the cool features that originally attracted you to the CRM aren’t being utilized right away. Take baby steps by focusing on the top 3 things you want the CRM to accomplish within the first 3 months. For our sales team, the 3 priorities were:
- establishing the different stages of a potential sale
- sales pipeline management and forecasting
- setting up automatic workflows for current clients
Of course, there were many things we wanted to implement initially, but our sales team agreed that these were the most critical to immediate progress. Once we had these done, we moved on the next 3 knowing we'd made measurable progress.
3. Let the Sales Team Lead
For most executives and upper management, one major selling point of CRMs is that you can check in on how your sales staff is doing and where they're headed next quarter. However, keep in mind that CRMs are designed to create better relationships with customers and ease the bottlenecks of the sales process, not evaluate sales performance. The minute the tool becomes a chore or a means of monitoring productivity, the sales team will no longer see it as a useful. Their focus then becomes looking good in the CRM rather than using it to make sales. Instead of asking sales people about low numbers or the things they haven't done yet, managers can use the CRM to analyze hangups in the pipeline and help move deals forward.
There are many CRMs out there to choose from; Salesforce is one of the most popular. At VIEO Design, we prefer the CRM integrated into the HubSpot software. We spend most of time each day logged in to HubSpot, so a CRM that is seamlessly integrated with our marketing automation and lead nurturing is a huge bonus.
When you pick a CRM, set yourself up for success by choosing the one you'll be mostly likely to use regularly, whether that's because it's functionality is so robust or because the user interface will make it easy for your team to adjust.