Customer relationship management (CRM) represents a set of practices geared toward boosting sales and sparking business growth.
As an integrated approach, it encapsulates areas such as marketing, sales, tech support, and customer service. Not only that but it unlocks synergies between them, turning your organization into an income-producing powerhouse.
You become adept at acquiring customers, as well as retaining them.
The key to successfully attaining these outcomes lies in harnessing the CRM tech stack. It allows you to gain complete information on leads, initiate marketing automation, and streamline the workflow. But, merely buying the shiniest, latest tool doesn’t cut it.
You still have to seamlessly implement and deploy the CRM strategy across the organization. It’s a joint endeavor that calls for tight collaboration between management and employees. Considering the amount of ground you need to cover, it would be a good idea to take a deep breath.
We’ll help you arm yourself with the right tools and knowledge. Here is a guide on how to stay connected, maximize your leads, and minimize churn in one stroke.
CRM in a Nutshell
The basic idea behind CRM is quite simple.
You strive to find out more about your customers and then serve and sell to them better. You attempt to leverage hard-earned trust and generate more customers in the process.
One of the underlying requirements is ensuring all your interactions are consistent, meaningful, and mutually-beneficial. Such interactions quickly add up and lead to the formation of long-term relationships.
And when we say interactions, we mean it in a true sense of the word. It’s not enough to just generate a lead, put your sales team on notice, and then sit back and relax. Your chief task is to maintain constant contact and improve customer experience across the entire lead lifecycle.
For instance, when a lead becomes “warm” and expresses an interest in your offer, you can kick things off with an automated welcome email. It makes a strong first impression, but this impression only goes so far.
It’s necessary to keep things moving with personalized emails at regular intervals. You send them based on customer activity, which you closely monitor. This activity mostly refers to web behavior patterns, as well as similar product/services leads already use.
This is just a small illustration that echoes a larger CRM picture. Namely, you need to keep tabs on the buyer journey from start to finish. In other words, from a moment lead is created to the moment of closing a sale.
This is no small feat— there’s a whole matrix of multifaceted processes to master. We’re talking about follow-ups, data management, scheduled calls, email templates, and a bunch of other stuff.
You may be already wondering how to pull all these tasks off in practice.
From Theory to Practice
A well-designed, user-friendly CRM software platform is the answer.
It holds the power to refine your workflow, reduce the likelihood of human error, and eliminate problems such as data duplication.
Indeed, CRM tools are lauded for their ability to improve your lead outreach and conversions. Most notably, they enable you to quickly find out the status of every lead in the system. Yes, you’re able to pinpoint exactly where they are in the buyer journey.
And that’s just the beginning.
CRM tools include various alerts and automation features that make every business day just so much easier. Think in terms of canned and scheduled emails that correspond to insights generated by interactive, real-time lead monitoring.
Moving on, these cutting-edge solutions can also produce a steady stream of actionable reports and forecasts, informing your business strategies. You’re empowered to act more proactively and take advantage of short windows of opportunity.
Data is the main fuel you have to put into the analytics engine. The beauty of it is the possibility to gather lead-related data from a heap of different sources.
Some of the most common choices are:
- Social media
- Email correspondence
- Business events
- Manual entries
You do have to cast a wide net in order to extract value from the ocean of available information. Ecosystems such as social media, for instance, are teeming with activity and you don’t want it to fall under the radar.
Essential Tools of the Trade
The good news is that CRM tools do the heavy lifting. You don’t have to bother depositing and entering the data manually or spend time on other mundane daily tasks.
The software collects all data points for you and funnels them to a single location. This is to say you have everything you could need right at the fingertips.
For example, you or anyone from a relevant department can investigate the complete history of each and every lead/prospect. All employees are on the same page and working toward common goals.
We don’t have to explain how vital this is for your prospects.
Of course, the trick is to focus only on pertinent data that tells you more about the leads. This data corresponds to purchase decisions, online behavior, demographics, geographic location, and other details. Knowing someone’s name and contact number simply isn’t enough.
At the same time, you have to recognize and then do away with redundant information and clutter. Take your time to carry out occasional house cleaning. Technology doesn’t make human intervention obsolete, just rarer and less extensive than before.
The Art of Hitting the Bull’s Eye
Once you have tech infrastructure and CRM goals in place, you can proceed to the next stage— capitalizing on all your prep activities and meticulous planning.
First off, analyze lead profiles to figure out which ones are most likely to convert. Your CRM tool should have segmentation features for creating batches of customer targets. They let you organize groups based on quality (not quantity!) and prioritize smartly.
On the other hand, try to avoid dedicating too much attention to unqualified leads. They only clog your sales pipeline and lead to a giant waste of resources.
There are no excuses really, as we can rely on CRM tools to save the day once more. They facilitate the process of qualifying leads according to preset scoring criteria.
Some data elements you can factor in are:
- Downloading content on your website
- Clicking on a mail
- Opening a link
- Choosing a certain price range
- Opting in for demos and trials
- Clicking on a call to action (CTA)
As you can see, these are different triggers that guide and structure your CRM efforts. So, take advantage of them to flush bad leads out of the system. Once that is sorted out, improve messaging of your campaigns to leads you identified as valuable.
Sowing the Seeds of Success
Our final destination is conversion and we’re not there yet.
The missing ingredient comes in the form of lead nurturing, which must always accompany lead generation. This term pertains to the process of converting people into sales-qualified leads. Done right, it spurs more sales and conversions while decreasing the costs of doing so too.
Now, provided you did everything right in the previous phases, the stage is already set. CRM tech, owing to advanced AI capability, is the driving force behind marketing automation. Likewise, it’s highly effective when performing sales monitoring and contact management.
This means your teams have time to do what they know best: ensure conversions and close sales.
As for management, their top priority is to align CRM with other core business processes. Namely, it’s their responsibility to tweak sales and marketing tactics.
There’s no shortage of surefire methods to employ. Most of them revolve around emitting personalized messages across channels of communication and promoting sound lead database management practices.
Besides that, one can use CRM data to optimize sales metrics, make accurate forecasts, and fast-track leads over the course of the sales process. Finally, CRM is the means of deploying precisely-targeted and customized lead generation campaigns, as well as killer sale pitches.
Covering all these bases may seem like a lot to handle and it is. But, getting serious with your CRM pays rich dividends in the long run. It lets you nurture strong, long-standing customer relationships and tap into the steady revenue flow.
That’s what you call a win-win scenario.
Kick Your Lead Game into Overdrive with CRM
CRM is a concept integral to business success, the very backbone of a customer-centric approach.
It supercharges the processes of lead generation and conversion, as well as acquisition and retention rates. In order to make strides though, you have to be able to do three things: discover, organize, and keep track of opportunities.
The best way to go about these tasks is to embrace a holistic, data-fueled approach to decision-making. Closing a sale is a lengthy process and there’s no rushing it. So, display strategic prowess and patience.
Develop a system for ongoing tracking, communication, and analysis. Gradually build a treasury of relevant, timely data and make sure it’s readily available. Improve efficiencies throughout the lead lifecycle and optimize your CRM based on fresh insights.
Following these steps, you will allocate your resources where they will make the most difference. It’s time to meet and exceed consumer expectations!
I started off my career in digital marketing by working for a few local companies. After a year or two of learning different aspects of the job, I moved on and worked for DesignRush as a content advisor. Right now I’m working for ReallySimpleSystems as an assistant editor and marketing consultant. Other than that I enjoy good coffee and Otis Redding.