We, at Nexus Electronics, laugh sometimes by saying that “If it isn’t in the CRM, then it didn’t happen”. Of course, the truth is that if a CRM software is effective, it’s only as good as the amount and type of data you put into it. So the saying should go, “If I didn’t put it in the CRM, it didn’t happen”. CRMs are unfortunately poorly used, mismanagement, and are most definitely insufficiently filled with the right data. So I thought that today could be a good opportunity to talk about how you can figure out if your CRM is actually helping you or if it doesn’t do anything in particular to raise sales and support performance.
How to evaluate if your company needs a CRM system?
But let’s start with the basics. Before you implement the metrics of evaluating your CRM software, you’ll need to answer a few questions about your company status.
- Do we need a database and records of information about prospects and current customers?
- Is data management becoming too difficult?
- Do we need to have it put under different categories and filtered?
- Do several team members interact with certain clients?
- Is the team getting slowed down because it’s hard to find the data for both leads and customers?
- Do we need better ways to measure the sales team’s productivity?
When Customer Relationship Management software debuted as a set of technologies, business prospered because it provided more information about customers than business had before. But the simple existence of a database, no matter how elaborate and accurate as it may be, isn’t (or shouldn’t) going to cut it performance-wise. You need more and faster information that’s balanced with the tools to interpret and even act upon those pieces of information that you’ve gathered.
You could use your CRM software for lead management purposes to help you increase the number of leads you get and the percentage that you convert to end business. You can also use it to help you manage your existing customers more effectively, by nurturing them through customized email campaigns and ultimately selling more to them.
What should you expect from an effective CRM software?
A good CRM is more than just a database for sales information. Of course it contact information and related demographic data, provides a space for updating notes and allows sales teams to track their progress. But it also helps provide the data needed for analyzing sales trends, creating performance reports and developing marketing insights and strategies. When utilized correctly, sales and marketing managers can interpret the data and evaluate metrics to help anticipate upcoming opportunities.
In practice, this means that sales teams should be able to note when it would be appropriate to follow up with an individual contact or even an entire segment of customers. It should mean that the data would point to the most advantageous times to engage with prospects and clients and lead to the most effective and efficient sales closings.
While there are several factors that could contribute to poor sales growth or inefficiencies, if you cannot determine through your sales data when a good time to approach a certain customer segment is, either you’re not analyzing your data correctly or the data simply isn’t there. In most cases, the data isn’t there.
What are the right metrics to evaluate when using a CRM software?
The two departments that are most associated with the influence of CRM systems utilise a whole range of different operational metrics to measure their related performance are sales and support/client service & client success.
Let’s take a look at some performance and evaluation criteria for these to company segments.
- number of new customers and prospects
- closed sales rate
- number of sales calls made
- amount of new revenue
- number and types of opportunities
- sales stage duration
- Sales cycle and stage duration
- number of cases (support tickets) generated and handled
- number of tickets closed by day
- average time for solving problems
- average time to send a reply to the complainant
So it’s pretty obvious that your sales/support software has to offer you the whole feature pack in order to obtain the information so necessary to you and even to make the whole sales, service and consulting processes easier.
This leads us to the following set of attributes and features that a CRM software should have.
1. Easy access to data
The CRM is supposed to help you better manage the information you have in order to increase your sales. The CRM software programs help you gather the data that you think is important and give you the possibility of constantly reviewing it, enabling you to make some business decisions based on it.
A CRM software can help you grow your sales by creating a basic and elaborate overview about client information and employee activity. The key is that activities tracked in your CRM system need to clearly ladder up to the larger goal of increasing sales. It’s essential that your CRM software tracks activities that are important to your business, like how many prospecting calls have been made, or how many opportunities have produced a positive outcome.
2. You can better manage important accounts
Not all customers are considered to be equal under some aspects. Of course, you should offer all of your clients the best services that you can deliver, but it’s usually recommended and more productive to have a clear segmentation of the people you collaborate with. In Zimplu CRM, for example, we segment our clients into different groups like Important, Regular, Major and so on.
A CRM software can automatically remind you of milestones and important events for your most valuable customers, so you can easily send out timely communications and assure them of your intentions and care.
Plus, CRM solutions can help keep track of individuals within an organization. This not only allows you to further personalize your communication but also to maintain a relationship with an account even if your contact there has moved on.
3. Offer you a bird’s eye view of the client
A comprehensive view of the customer is essential, and necessary to provide consistent customer response regardless of who in the company is communicating, or understanding customer behaviors for improved marketing campaigns, loyalty programs or actions from enrollment to referrals to impact on repeat business.
Additionally, CRM systems should capture customer data from within and without the company to include social media, store visits, partner visits, company blog comments, and online buying patterns. CRM analytics can then generate demographic, behavioral and psychographic insights so that you are aware of the customer's satisfaction with service, price changes, response to marketing offers, etc.
4. Raises retention rates
Nowadays, customers and consumers expect an outstanding user experience across every device and every channel, expecting at the same time the top standard of customer service.
Within these expanding markets, creating loyalty with your highest value customers is crucial. A CRM software is going to help you do just that, communicate better with existing customers at the right time, on the right channel, with the right message to ensure they keep coming back or eve become an advocate for your business.
5. Sustain a better collaboration between departments
Sometimes departments become so absorbed by their daily work that they start to lose track of what other departments are doing and how they impact one another. At Nexus, we find that it is crucial to align our sales efforts with our marketing strategies.
A CRM allows anyone in the organization to see the lifecycle of each customer or lead and know exactly how to address their needs.
Zimplu CRM allows you to segment your clients, making it easier for the marketing department to target them with different messages that increase the chances of converting or upselling.
6. Implement better data analysis
If you don’t keep track of what your prospects or customers are complaining about or mentioning when they call your business, then they won’t feel a great deal of trust in your ability to handle their needs.
All the employees who interact with clients or potential clients should have easy access to all of their information: past calls, exchange of emails, meetings and other activities, etc. that create a better understanding of all of the interactions.
Having the ability to personalize and tailor the sales process to the prospect’s specific needs will also make for a much better relationship with that prospect.
A CRM system can give you the ability to target prospects based on their interests, needs, concerns, location in the sales process, geography, industry and more. This will allow you to give your salespeople the best opportunity to sell to these prospects, while giving your prospects a better, more personalized experience. And we all know that a personalized approach is highly appreciated.
7. Gives you the ability to work from anywhere
Through mobile apps, web interface and offline access, CRM technology empowers people to get work done from just about anywhere.
So even if your sales reps are on the field, they’ll be able to immediately respond to client requests, react to leads, and manage existing accounts. If teams cannot access customer data, potential business is basically put on hold when they leave the office, or are away from their desktop or laptop.
Mobile CRM means that everyone can connect, make updates and initiate action on-demand when certain events occur.
The benefits of having a CRM software mobile app are several:
- Bringing up certain details and information from your contact history logs or support tickets, if needed during a customer meeting
- Updating sales opportunities and pipeline details right after a sales rep ended a customer visit or meeting
- Creating a new service case through a support ticket from an email received on a mobile app
- Scheduling follow up CRM activities after receiving an email or after ending a meeting
- Increasing chances of up-selling and cross-selling
A CRM software allows your reps to launch into some up-selling strategies. The tool also facilitates cross selling, on the basis of the client’s previous purchases.
These two sales techniques are done by interacting with the customers and getting an idea about their wants, needs, and patterns of purchase. The details obtained will be stored in the central database, accessible to all company executives that need to be aware of the whole customer history.
So, when an opportunity arises, executives can promote their products to the customers, thus maximizing up-selling and cross-selling efforts.
8. Giving you a forward view for your business
The CRM software should offer you a future view into trends and events that will be leading indicators of your revenue and profit metrics, as opposed to an ERP or financial system, for example, both which paint a “historical” view of your revenue.
The CEO and CFO should use the data put together by the CRM software in order to monitor certain leading indicators. They may look for changes to lead generation, opportunity creation, or pipeline value to spot early indicators of future problems to the top-line. This will enable a proactive approach to managing the business.
A Sales leader will have access to a sales reporting tool. They will need to see the activities of individual salespeople or teams and trace problems that may be affecting revenue such as territory coverage, customer calling activity, lead conversion rates, and opportunity close rates.
As for Customer Service, you’ll probably need to see which of your people is most efficient at closing cases, be alerted to cases that exceed the expected time to close, and monitor escalations.
9. Giving you the ability to track how a problem is being handled
Customer satisfaction primarily boils down to two major things: customer satisfaction with the product or service that he’s bought and customer satisfaction with problem resolution.
Your analytics need to measure how often problems arise with a specific product or service so you can fix the problem and put an end to complaints permanently. But it also needs to alert you to problems beyond the technical scope.
You need a CRM to look into your near future and be predictive of your revenue. You need CRM to mitigate the risk and costs of staff turnover. You need CRM to engage in a cycle of continuous improvement. You need CRM for your business to survive.
Providing a great customer experience requires teamwork and the right tools to help users engage with customers.
Mobile CRM apps that are fast, easy to use, intuitive, and fit a mobile lifestyle are rapidly adopted and will surely increase your staff’s productivity.
And you should give up on the idea that excel spreadsheets are good enough for your company because even though they may help you keep track of some information, a CRM software also helps you build relationships.