The goal of any good business should be to improve your relationships with other businesses and your customers, and a CRM is a perfect way to do this. A CRM, or “customer relationship management” platform will help you and your business streamline your customer acquisition and sales processes, decrease the amount of manual data entry required by your team, and increase your revenue. Read on below to learn how to choose and implement a CRM successfully.
Decide what you’re looking for in a CRM
Before you begin your search for the perfect CRM to use in your business, you need to decide what you’re looking for in this software. An effective CRM should make your business processes more efficient, both financially and time-wise. Additionally, it should improve, or at least not take away from, your customer experience. Different CRMs are made with different types of businesses in mind, so it’s crucial to choose one that fits your needs. A business of 4-5 employees will have drastically different needs from a business with 5,000 employees.
Choose which CRM to use
Choosing which CRM to use can be difficult, as there are many options. To help you choose and implement your CRM effectively, hire development team. This group of professionals will help you make educated decisions when implementing new technology, and they’ll bring their years of industry experience to tell you which CRM is right for your business and help train your employees to use it.
Salesforce is one of, if not the biggest name in the CRM and business software industry. Salesforce’s CRM platform is built with sales teams in mind and provides well-developed tools for sales professionals and organizations. Salesforce’s advanced automation platform will decrease the amount of tedious data entry and other work that your employees need to go through to keep track of customers. Additionally, as one of the largest SaaS companies on the planet, Salesforce provides a slew of other business tools, including app development and analytics.
HubSpot is the best in the business when it comes to helping your customers feel a sense of familiarity with your business. HubSpot CRM prides itself on this “small town” feel. The core of this platform is in a more “inbound” customer relationship system, focusing on addressing customer needs directly instead of pushing aggressive marketing campaigns. HubSpot will help your customers feel that their experience is being tailored to them and their needs.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a suite of business tools to aid your business in almost every area, so it provides much more value than a platform solely based on CRM. Microsoft Dynamics 365 has 11 modules, 5 of which are directly related to customer relationship management, and your business can purchase whichever individual modules you feel best suit your needs. As a Microsoft product, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will synchronize your data with all the other Microsoft tools, including OneNote, OneDrive, and the Microsoft Office suite. This is a perfect platform for medium-to-large businesses that already conduct many of their operations within the Microsoft ecosystem.
As its name suggests, Pipedrive is a CRM based on advancing customers down the sales pipeline and turning leads into sales. Pipedrive is a great way to keep track of all your new, old, and recurring customers, and will use AI to help sell your products or services in the background without additional work from you or your employees. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a large company, Pipedrive can be a great platform to increase your customer acquisition and conversion numbers.
Mailchimp is a popular CRM platform for small web-based businesses, as it is inexpensive but very effective at what it promises to do. Mailchimp CRM has options for a free or premium subscription, and both will allow you to lead email marketing campaigns, keep track of your customer base, collect data about how customers engage with your emails, and analyze customer data to better understand where you should take your company’s marketing strategy. What started as a simple and free mass-email management service is now a viable and popular CRM service that can be used by all types of businesses.
Freshsales is an interesting platform from the Freshworks business suite that focuses on ranking possible leads to give your sales team an accurate idea of which leads are the highest priority. The platform does this by using state-of-the-art AI lead scoring, generating a “score” for each lead based on all available data. This product can help you and your organization focus on the leads that are likely to be the most profitable and therefore increase your overall revenue as an organization.
Train your team
Even the perfect CRM won’t make a difference in your business if your team doesn’t implement it properly. It’s important to develop a training plan in your organization to make sure everyone is on board with the new systems. Plan to have monthly or weekly meetings with your employees for CRM training until everyone is fluent with the new system. For this to work, all employees need to migrate all of their customer management tasks to the CRM system, as otherwise the system’s data and analytics won’t reflect an accurate standing of where your company is at.
Ask your customers
As the saying goes, “the customer is always right.” Even if you and your employees are happy with the functionality of your CRM if customers are leaving because of the changes you need to adjust something. Consider sending out an email survey or doing something else to find out how your customer base feels about your customer service.
Ask your employees
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, business decisions are much simpler, as yours is the only opinion that matters. However, if you have a large sales team, you want to be sure to take opinions regarding the CRM into account. After training your employees on the CRM, consider hosting a meeting to ask how everyone feels about it. This will take some getting used to so expect some negative feedback at first, but if the feedback is overwhelmingly negative you might want to take your customer relationship management in a different direction.
Make necessary changes
After assessing feedback from customers and employees, make any necessary changes to ensure that your system is running smoothly. This may mean more training for your employees, more work with customers outside of the CRM, or even switching to a different platform.
Whichever direction you choose to take your business, focus on the customer experience first and things will tend to pay off for you. If you decide to outsource your CRM implementation, try to find a reliable outsourcing partner and avoid most common outsourcing issues which can happen.