CRMs are meant to be much more than a glorified contact management system, and if used correctly, can greatly increase business productivity and effectiveness.
CRM software often have a multitude of features, many of which are rarely used by sales teams.
Here, we’ll take a look at three ways you can start getting the most out of your CRM, from automating actions to utilizing sales pipeline functionality for managing customer support.
While some features are overly complex or not fit for every business, there are key components that can deliver tremendous value if you can get your sales team over the initial learning curve.
Create automated actions
Automated actions allow you to easily set up, assign and manage tasks for your sales team.
These simple actions can help streamline the collaboration between different team members while eliminating the tedious process of checking in throughout the day for status updates. Rather than having every team member update the system manually, a CRM can help automate these actions to create a more seamless workflow.
In addition to internal task management, sales teams also engage in external communications when liaising with customers or partners. One critical part of this process is the follow-up.
With task automation, team leads can set reminders that will ensure that these follow-ups take place at exactly the right time – but in a way that’s not overly distracting.
During times when everything seems like a priority, sales teams have to juggle multiple tasks. To prevent them from dropping the ball, team leaders can help by creating reminders for each step of the process to better organize and prioritize tasks.
A few examples of rules to set for your sales team may include:
- Reminders to send out collateral materials to a customer after speaking on the phone;
- Scheduling an in-person meeting after communicating with a lead more than three times; or
- Following up to make sure everything is OK if the lead goes silent for a week.
You can set up tasks and reminders for every step in the sales cycle that would automatically initiate the action that you want your team to take.
Use tags to quickly retrieve information
Tags are custom labels that can be applied to CRM contacts and sales leads. You can add as many tags as you wish to an entry, and the goal is to make it easier to search for and retrieve contacts based on a specific filter such as regional leads, future opportunities or top customers.
If location plays a big role in your sales and marketing strategy, you can add tags like: Southwest, Northeast, Midwest, etc.
For instance, a sales manager working in a swimsuit business might find value in being able to extract a list of existing or potential customers based in the Southwest region to better target them during the fall.
Alternatively, if you’re in a highly saturated industry where competition is high, your CRM can help identify opportunities where the stakes are lower. By using your CRM to help focus resources on lead generation, you’ll be able to convert more customers and make more sales.
Top customers can also be labeled with appropriate tags such as “VIP”, “power user” or “early adopter”. These tags can come in handy when trying to quickly identify customers who may be inclined to beta test your newest feature update or take an early look at an upcoming product release.
Manage customer inquiries with the sales pipeline feature
A sales pipeline can be great for tracking new or open deals. Alternatively, it can also be used to manage inbound inquiries and requests by customers or partners.
If a customer sends in a detailed product inquiry, you can easily input it into the CRM and assign it to a new sales pipeline.
Rather than going through your typical sales oriented stages, you can add relevant milestones such as “under investigation”, “responded” and “resolved”.
As part of a sales team, you’ll likely also receive requests from customers about new product features that they want and could help improve their business. With a CRM, you can treat these requests as you would a new business opportunity.
If enough customers request similar types of features, you can add this to a development pipeline to take action that will support the development of the requested feature or product.
Finally, it’s inevitable that your customer will switch to one of your competitors. If this can be identified early on using a CRM, team leads can build in a strategy for retaining customers and rewarding them for their loyalty.
CRMs provide a wealth of features that can optimize the operation of your team.
While these features may seem overwhelming at first, sales teams who can commit to learning will reap the benefits that come with organization and foresight.
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