You have a pipe leaking in your house, and you call up a plumbing company. On the phone, you explain the problem in detail and they confirm they’ll send someone to fix it. One of two things might happen next.
First, the plumber shows up at your house and knows exactly what the problem is. Not only were the details of the incident relayed to the contractor, but they also had access to previous data. They know about what issues you've had in the past, which contractors visited your home, and what services they provided, so they have a better understanding of the situation.
The second scenario is the plumber shows up at your house and says, "so what's the problem?"
That is the difference between a well-maintained Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), with accurate, reliable data, and poor data hygiene.
There are many benefits to using a CRM, but many businesses either forget to follow CRM best practices or fail to communicate the tool's benefits to their team in the right way. This results in data that’s incomplete, duplicated, or incorrect which means the CRM doesn't end up being as useful as it could be.
Clean and accurate data can empower you to reap the rewards from your customer relationship management tool, making it highly beneficial to your operational toolkit. We spoke with CRM specialist Lars Broderson about the benefits of using a CRM for customer data management.
We ensure your CRM data is pristine and normalized. Want to use your CRM to its max? Book a demo today.
Lars Brodersen is the owner of the CRM Publishing House and himself a multiple author on the full range of topics in customer relationship management.
Furthermore, he is the technical CRM platform owner at tesa SE (one of the world's leading manufacturers of self-adhesive products and system solutions for B2B / B2C).
Before that, he was a long-time management consultant for international CRM projects.
According to Lars, there’s the customer journey, and there’s CRM, which he defines as related but separate. In the customer journey, he says, you create personas that reflect an individual person, and CRMs are meant to look at customer groups.
As you learn about the customer experience and the customer journey, there comes a point where you can no longer manage all the individual customers. At that point, CRM comes in to help you identify and manage customer groups.
“So far, nobody has been able to truly define how to map a customer experience with CRM. But I think what in the future, we’ll need this differentiation.”
- Lars Broderson, CRM Publishing House
Today, we’ll talk about distinguishing the two, and how to translate this distinction into a way that shows your team the true benefits of CRM.
What are the benefits of CRM?
If properly managed, with solid data entry best practices in place to ensure clean, consistent, and accurate data, good customer relationship management:
- Breeds loyalty for better customer retention.
- Enables you to leverage automation in CRM tools to scale revenue growth.
- Streamlines team collaboration so that everyone is working with the same understanding of data.
- Provides relevant attribution data to know where to invest and where to stop spending.
- Help you better understand the customer journey.
If you’re going to get buy-in from your team, you’ll need to be able to define these benefits for everyone: sales, analytics, marketing, IT, customer service—anyone who uses customer data.
According to Lars, you should be able to explain to them that CRM is more than just using a data management tool, it’s a complex software solution that supports and adapts to the needs of all the groups in the business, if you can communicate this the right way.
1. Boost loyalty and customer retention with your CRM
Consider if you were to call up a customer support team for some help. You have a conversation with a rep and explain the problem, and they say they need to have someone call you back to discuss. Thirty minutes later, you get a call from someone in another department and the first thing they ask is: "what seems to be the problem?"
It's incredibly frustrating to have to keep repeating yourself, and you'll likely leave the interaction with a negative impression of that company as a result.
If the data is accurate and well-maintained, your CRM database will house a detailed customer profile and activity log, which details all the information you need about each customer and their interactions with your company. That way, employees enter into conversations fully informed, which improves the customer experience and reduces churn.
Customers don't want to feel like just a number. Having access to their previous company interactions and customer information will enable your employees to personalize communications accordingly, whether via phone calls or email.
Additionally, a CRM platform will enable employees to keep promises to customers, such as following up when they said they would or remembering appointments.
2. Leverage automation in CRM tools to scale revenue growth.
CRMs with strong data quality enable your team to automate many tedious and time-consuming tasks. Leveraging automation will help your team reduce human error, boost engagement, and operate more efficiently. Here are some of the primary areas where CRM automation can help you:
a. Administrative tasks
Admin tasks like data entry take your staff away from the skilled work they want to be doing. When you have multiple staff members inputting data manually and without data nomenclature, there are bound to be typos and irregular formatting, leading to a messy database.
Your employees can easily search for client profiles in a CRM without having to dig back through old emails to find information about previous interactions. Everything can be automatically logged for relevant staff to see.
b. Email campaigns
A CRM with an email marketing integration enables you to automate your email campaigns directly from the software. Instead of manually keeping up with customer engagement, you can create and schedule campaigns to send automatically.
c. Automate lead workflows
Lars breaks down what a typical lead workflows would look like without a CRM:
- A lead goes into the inbox of your marketing team.
- Your marketing team inputs contact data into your database and assigns it to the relevant salesperson.
- That salesperson reaches out to the contact to understand their interest in your product or service.
This workflow requires your colleagues to spend time connecting with leads and sending over information manually. Instead, you can automate these lead workflows with your CRM. When a lead fills out a contact form, the data is automatically uploaded into the CRM, sending out a welcome email with important information.
They can then enter into a lead nurturing drip campaign to send out relevant information and case studies in order to create higher-quality leads for your sales team.
3. Streamline team collaboration
Your CRM will have all the leads your sales and marketing are working on in one centralized hub for everyone to access. Instead of having to call or message a colleague about a client you're dealing with to find out about their last interaction, you can find it all in the CRM.
There will be a full record of interactions, contact details, special notes, previous purchases, etc., that everyone who interacts with that record can use - streamlining team communication while improving customer experience.
CRMs can also allow multiple team members to collaborate on shared documents, so even if new customers contact two different employees, they can all access and edit necessary documents.
4. Keep your contacts organized and consistent
If you have multiple colleagues entering contacts into your current database, it's likely to be somewhat disorganized. You may have contacts stored in numerous lists, some in Excel, some in Google Sheets, etc. Without a CRM solution, it makes it challenging to find the contact information that you're looking for.
Furthermore, if you have more than one source of the truth, you’ll likely find that your data is inconsistent, with spelling mistakes and other input errors. There could also be issues with duplication of data. Data hygiene issues like this make it difficult for your sales and marketing teams to do their jobs efficiently and hinder customer experience.
CRMs keep everything organized and in one place. When you're uploading contacts into a new CRM, you need to make sure it's clean and standardized first using data preparation tools like tye. But once your list is clean, you can use CRM best practices to keep it that way by putting formatting guidelines in place.
5. Level up your marketing campaigns and increase conversions
Your team will be continuously logging contact data into your CRM with each customer interaction, building a more detailed profile of your customers. Using this information, you can segment your lists and use them to send out hyper-targeted email campaigns. Your sales and marketing team can filter your database by unique demographics and put them into drip campaigns accordingly.
Personalization is the key to your marketing campaigns' success, and without it, customers won't feel valued. If you're sending out irrelevant content, they’ll quickly lose interest in your brand. Leveraging CRM tools list segmentation features will enable you to send the right content to the right customer at the right time, contributing to customer satisfaction and boosting conversions.
6. Enhance your reporting and analytics
The advanced reporting features in CRMs can help you determine how successfully you're engaging with your leads and attribute sources for each of your leads. If you're acquiring potential customers via subscription forms on your website or downloadable lead magnets, you can determine which are most effective and change your CRM strategy accordingly.
If you're using a CRM with email marketing integration, you can track your email campaigns to see which elements are working and which you should switch up.
You can also identify potential future opportunities based on trends that you notice in the metrics. Reports will show where there might be issues, such as a string of common support problems, so you can work to fix the issue.
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Disadvantages of a CRM
While there aren’t really disadvantages to using a CRM to bring together all of your customer interactions, there are a few potential roadblocks on the way to implementing one, and then using it effectively, that you should be aware of before investing.
Using a CRM does require a monetary investment. Though there are a lot of different CRMs available at a variety of different price points, so you can likely find one that fits in with your budget.
Typically, CRM pricing is based on how many contacts you have. So, as you scale up, the price will increase accordingly. That said, you can also find many free CRMs that will do the trick and come with a more basic set of features.
2. Team resistance
One of the biggest hurdles that Lars sees companies face when introducing anything new to your business processes is a team's inevitable resistance. Some employees will be excited about the new technology, while others may prefer to stick to the old way of doing things.
The key is presenting the CRM in a way that shows staff how it will directly benefit them. Address their pain points and how the CRM will help to solve them.
If your colleagues have never used CRM systematically, there will be a learning curve and perhaps some resistance, as there is with any new process or tool. Some CRMs offer training materials such as webinars, articles, and presentations that will help you train your staff on their use.
Regardless, you’ll need to carve out a bit of time to allow your team to get familiar with the software so they can use it effectively.
Talk to your team about #CRMs like medicine, not vitamins. Tell them how it will help them reach their KPIs faster. In this article, we tell you exactly how: #customerrelationshipsmanagement #customerdata
How to encourage your team to adopt the use of a CRM
Marketing and sales aren't just for the customer. Lars says that you need to do some internal selling to all the relevant departments and stakeholders if you want to introduce new technology to your business. But you need to sell using the CRM to your colleagues in the right way, so they’re willing to adopt it.
Your sales team is motivated to hit certain KPIs, so you need to show them that inputting data accurately into the CRM can help them achieve their targets and empower them to reach commission goals.
So, how can you sell a CRM to your sales team? Lars recommends using the medicine vs. vitamins strategy.
He says that while vitamins might help your sales team to improve over time and meet their long-term goals, most salespeople think quarter to quarter and want quick solutions to the problems they face. With this in mind, present the CRM to them as the medicine that helps them to hit their KPIs and earn more money in the short-term.
Identify the problem they are having and offer up the CRM as the solution. Are they forgetting crucial follow-up calls? A CRM will help them to ensure they reach their customers at the agreed, optimal times in the sales cycle. Perhaps they’re losing track of what stage they’re at with each customer or don’t have good enough visibility of the history of a lead before it reaches them.
These are all issues a well-maintained CRM will address that will have an immediate, measurable impact on sales performance. Once the benefits of solving these issues are made clear, that should go some way to addressing any reluctance from the sales team to embrace a new way of doing things.
How does a CRM improve reporting and sales data?
If your contacts are stored all over the place—with duplications, input errors, and inconsistencies—there’s no way you can expect to generate accurate insights.
For instance, some salespeople may have individual workflows and work with different clients from their own spreadsheets. In this case, it's impossible to get a read for what is going on on a bigger scale.
CRMs enable your sales and marketing teams to compile data in one place and run automated sales reports. It can also let management see if salespeople and marketers are on track to reach their goals.
How is a CRM better than a spreadsheet?
Spreadsheets are breeding grounds for bad data. Human error runs rampant as your marketing and sales teams manually enter contact details with no set structure or format - and no single, consistent view of the truth.
Another thing to be aware of is that using contact data from spreadsheets for your automated email marketing campaigns can damage your domain authority due to bounces and emails flagged as spam, actively hindering your future marketing efforts.
Additionally, spreadsheets don't offer reporting features, they’re hard to segment effectively, and lack automation capabilities.
But simply taking inaccurate, incorrect, or duplicated data and inputting it into a CRM won’t solve your problems unless you take steps to clean that data.
Cleaning and standardizing your data, combined with housing it in a CRM, will ensure that your customer records are consistent and accurate. The impact this can have on your sales and marketing efforts is huge.
Benefits of CRM for sales
Giving your sales team access to a detailed customer profile will enable them to better target and engage with relevant prospects.
They’ll know what interests a lead or what problems they face before even reaching out, putting them in the best place to address their pain points with your product. It also enables sales reps to cross-sell as they’ll have knowledge of their previous interactions with your business or even a record of other technology they’ve adopted.
Having data on attribution quality and sources and understanding how your leads have already interacted with your brand better prepares salespeople for calls.
On top of that, a CRM provides salespeople with visibility on where they stand in relation to their performance goals—and this increased visibility motivates your SDRs to achieve their quota.
How can a CRM help automate data entry?
It’s possible to automate data entry with a CRM so that, for example, when a contact fills out a lead form on your e-commerce website, their record will be created automatically and populated with all the data they provided.
Your team will save time manually entering lead details, as they’re automatically uploaded into the CRM in a standardized format.
Some CRMs can also log all emails, calls, and any other interactions automatically, so there’s complete visibility without depending on people remembering to leave proper notes or add specific information manually.
By leveraging the automated data entry features of CRMs you can help reduce the number of errors in your database so you can use it effectively for marketing and sales campaigns.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a CRM?
CRMs help you organize contacts, automate tasks, streamline team collaboration, and increase conversions. And, according to Lars, your CRM will stop being a data management tool and become a relationship management tool when used effectively.
But it’s important to remember that poor data hygiene can be just as much an issue using a CRM as it is using various spreadsheets and simply importing bad data into your new tool is a recipe for disaster.
At tye, we specialize in quickly and easily cleaning the data in your database to prevent bad data from getting in the way of good customer relationships.
We ensure your CRM data is pristine and normalized. Want to use your CRM to its max? Book a demo today.
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