All you need to know about CRM — and the common pitfalls to avoid
Implementing a CRM system is a rather complicated process. Not all business owners understand this, so there are often cases where expectations from this project are not met in reality. Consequently, having no benefits from the CRM, entrepreneurs begin to think that they made a mistake while using it.
However, if business automation is built in a competent manner, then material benefits will come in the nearest future. But in order to reach it, experts need to choose the right CRM system, configure it correctly, and then use it in the most efficient way.
In this article, we will consider what a CRM system is, its benefits for digital marketing, and the company itself, what common mistakes while integrating this project can occur, and how to avoid them.
What is CRM?
The acronym CRM literally translates as Customer Relationship Management. It is a software application for organizations designed to automate strategies for interacting with customers, as well as, increasing sales level, optimizing digital marketing, and improving customer service. By automating processes, CRM stores clients’ information and data about relationships with them, establishes and improves business processes, and provides a subsequent analysis of the results. CRM helps to increase profits by 40-50%, make lower costs, and speed up the processing of applications.
Therefore, we can define the main objectives of the implementation of CRM systems:
- systematization of sales;
- building a clear business process;
- exclusion of the human factor;
- improving the quality of customer service;
- getting operational analytics of the sales department.
How does the CRM system work?
The interface of CRM resembles Excel tables in which the customer data is stored, but with additional functions included, such as opening a customer’s card by clicking on his name, fixing the entire history of relations with him, looking at the records of phone calls and order history.
When the client makes an income call, the system offers to immediately open his card to contact him by name. Therefore, even if another employee previously spoke with this buyer, any manager will be able to answer all the caller’s questions without clarification from colleagues and the need to call back. Messages with order status or meeting reminders are not sent manually, all these actions can be done by CRM. This saves time for both managers and the customer, whose loyalty is growing along with the willingness to make purchases.
And this is only a small part of the convenience and advantages of CRM systems. The implementation of CRM includes:
- accounting automatization of all transactions and incoming requests;
- convenient management of tasks and entire projects;
- creating visual reports online;
- identifying and tracking KPI;
- automation of customer registration;
- calculating the cost of services and orders;
- designing documents from templates;
- cash flow management;
- connection to mail and SMS-mailing systems, social networks;
- automation of many standard procedures and operations.
Thanks to CRM, managers make fewer mistakes and it becomes easier for the leader to manage the company as he spends less time controlling and receives more resources to develop the business.
Choosing the wrong CRM
Today, developers offer to implement CRM of various types, but the program will be productive for the company when it meets the organization’s tasks and has the necessary functions for it. The mistake when choosing a CRM often happens when a program is chosen according to price and popularity. In order to implement the CRM that not only automates business processes but also allows the company to attract more customers and reduce costs when choosing a system, the company should consider:
- availability of the necessary organization tools (personnel management, projects, finances, customer contacts, document management, etc.);
- availability of built-in telephony, modern tools for communications;
- availability of automatic import of data;
- availability of sales analytics tools;
- quality of technical support services.
In addition, to avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong CRM, experts in CRM can help in picking the best suitable system for implementation in a company. It is essential to determine the needed CRM purpose, key parameters, levels of work with information, and specialization. By specifying the request in this way, the right CRM will be soon found.
Work without customer integration
Integration is the main thing, for which it’s worth implementing a CRM system, as it allows the company to compare the client’s business goals with technical solutions, and to work in a single-window mode. Without additional service of lead accounting, the manager needs to keep records manually, while integration significantly reduces manual work.
To avoid it, the integrator must match the client’s business goals with technology solutions. A CRM system is effective if it is integrated with customer acquisition tools (sites, landing pages, instant messengers, social networks). All these customer services and CRM must directly or indirectly exchange data. In addition, it is desirable that the CRM system also allows using cloud storage as it helps to quickly carry out the workflow.
Integration with social networks allows digital marketers to track company mentions, identify the level of customer relationships, respond quickly, or simply record facts in the system. An example of marketing integration is SMS or email newsletter services.
Updating in CRM
To be aware of all changes on the CRM-side, it is needed to use special notification tools. Most system providers have such tools, and currently, the best one is supposed to be webhooks.
Webhooks is a notification of third-party applications by sending notifications about events that occurred in CRM. The manager can configure the HTTP addresses of the company’s applications and the working rules associated with them in the settings of the CRM account in the “Integrations” section. In fact, a webhook is also used through the API on any tariff plan.
If the system doesn’t provide webhooks, the manager should at least get the list of objects that have been updated. Therefore, before buying and integrating CRM, the owner of the company or a responsible manager should check what system offers and how such an essential process as notifications about changes in CRM would be known.
Testing the CRM system
Any business process transferred to CRM must pass the testing try. If the responsible manager simply leaves unchanged the first version of CRM, there will appear, sooner or later, more “blind spots” and inconvenient solutions. As a result, workers of the company will daily hate CRM, and probably spend a lot of time understanding the real picture of sales, lost orders, missed calls, etc.
How to avoid such inconvenience in the future? The best solution for it is to try test work in a customized system. While testing CRM, a manager can notice and improve what is uncomfortable or does not fully cover the needs of the process and employees. It is a positive side to take into account all changes to the regulations and training lessons, collect feedback at least a month after the test run, adjust the process, and not be afraid to change the selected integrations to other, more convenient ones.
Work with data in CRM
Companies lose an average of 12% of their revenue due to incorrect data. If the user profile is incomplete, the marketer will not be able to get the necessary information. For example, if the sales team is focused on distributing information via email, then an email address should be required by the capture forms from the site.
That is why it is needed to optimize CRM data collection processes. If certain information about the client is not needed, then there is no sense in requesting it.
One more thing to avoid here is focusing on the wrong indicators. Beautiful numbers can easily distract from the real situation. If the marketer sees a million visitors on-site, but there is no single application, then something is clearly going wrong. Marketers should refuse these indicators in favor of that information which shows a real state of affairs.
In order not to be distracted by such numbers, it is better to identify indicators that affect profits of marketing, set standards, and measure performance against them. Focusing on the user’s behavior is a great option: find out what works in the company’s marketing strategy and try to improve these metrics.
Many enterprises do not work with the received data, even when this data is important. The actual data in the CRM system has an impact on the performance of each aspect of the business: from sales to marketing and support services. Using data allows the company to rethink the portrait of a potential buyer and begin to focus on him. Without any action, the data is useless.
Companies that reached a valuable and deep understanding of their customer, do not just collect data, they use their data to build long-term relationships with customers. If such companies as Airbnb and Amazon just monitored conversions, they would have never succeeded in their business.
Due to the CRM system, even the smallest companies can find out what their customers need and use this data to achieve the desired results.
Training of the leader and staff
The integrator is obliged to train and instruct the employees of the company and the owner as qualitatively as possible. Moreover, different groups of employees need to be trained separately, as people do not need to know about those functions of the system to which they will not have access.
In turn, the owner of the company must provide comfortable psychological conditions for this and all the necessary technical resources. Implementing a CRM system at an enterprise is one of the ways to support a team, simplify its work, and enable it to earn more.
When the entire staff of the company is instructed and trained, it is time to check how successfully they use the service. After that, the CRM system goes into normal operation: the staff performs their current tasks, and the technical support staff of the vendor company helps them when they need some assistance.
Today CRM systems are at peak of their popularity. They allow companies to organize communication with potential and existing customers more efficiently, to avoid many common mistakes, and as a result to increase sales in digital marketing.
It is important to understand that any implementation is always an individual project. To implement CRM in a quality manner, it is recommended to use the experience and advice of an integrator instead of doing mistakes.
Errors can appear both during the implementation process and after the start of use, making the CRM system ineffective. To plan all the processes, to know the possible pitfalls, and the way how to avoid them is a must-do thing of the company in implementing the CRM system.