How to Become a CRM Pro

How you can become a CRM Proimproving sales CRM usage

A CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) system can be so much more to a business or organisation than simply providing your sales team with a way to make more sales.

Embedding CRM across your entire business will drive the right business decisions by focusing on the relationships that you have with customers, suppliers and colleagues.

The best sales professionals think beyond sales, they focus on details the touch points across the wider business and understanding their clients and how their business works. Below we have outlined some of the other ways a CRM can add value to you and your business.

Be More Intelligent

A CRM pro will be able to draw data from sales, marketing, customer service and support, product/operations and  any other functions within the business to make informed decisions. Key elements to consider as a pro user include comparing a supplier or customer’s most recent transactions with previous ones. Has there been a similar turnaround? Is the amount the same? What has changed? Are there any patterns you can identify? Is there a particular day of the week, month or quarter when the order takes place.  Is there a correlation between this and month end or any other significant calendar or business events? Understanding these subtleties helps guide your recommendations.

This information also allows the management team to set more accurate targets based on both historical records and your employee’s expectations for the coming months. When set up correctly, the business intelligence functionality can drive better decision making, which is the ultimate goal of operations management in any business or organisation.

Relationship Management

Maintaining a record of your previous interactions with a client is a huge example of how a CRM can benefit your business beyond making additional sales.

A history of the relationship with a given client can also provide you with a series of recommendations about their preferences. It also helps demonstrate how you have been proactive. This could mean ensuring the company is aware that a particular contact is keen on golf and so to promote the company golf day to them, it could mean they finish early on Fridays to pick up their kids from school or many other titbits of information that individuals in your organisation know that should be shared across the board and help the organisation understand the people it works with and not just the businesses overall.

We’ve already outlined how accurately recording this history can help you determine opportunities, and the same goes for patterns to problems. Your customers won’t want to have the same conversations with you over and over, particularly if there are difficulties or faults. Spotting a pattern of problems amongst one or more clients will enable you to act before they raise the issue and if it’s a technical problem provide greater context and evidence to the technical team.

In short, this access to information provides you with more opportunities to stand out from the crowd by ensuring the whole team are able to live up to, and then surpass, customer expectations.

Manage Your Processes Better

Most enterprise and business-ready CRM systems have some form of workflow system that allows you to automate reports, communications and activity. A well-designed process can be replicated within the very best systems to save time and allow your team to focus on providing your services and caring for your clients and customers.

An enterprise level system such as Microsoft Dynamics can go a step further and integrates with a huge number of external programs and systems to really empower your employees to make a bigger impact with their time. This is particularly true of Microsoft’s very own LinkedIn which will undoubtedly continue to roll out more and more features in time.

Integrations with marketing tools will allow your sales and marketing team to work closer together, tailor their efforts, understand what each other are doing and make strong decisions about campaigns and who to target. Integrations with support tools will allow your team managers to make resourcing decisions based on real-time data that accurately reflects your business on the ground-level.

Make Better Plans And Forecasts

The ability to report accurately on the past is a strong indicator of your potential as a business and will help you formulate plans and forecasts as we have outlined. It also matters how accurately you’ve been able to predict future results in the previous 2 years as teams and companies that can more accurately forecast tend to be more successful. As such, it is not only important that you can demonstrate that you are forecasting a strong future, but that you have lived up to your previous forecasts.

Summary

When considering your next strategic decision around a CRM system, we’d recommend looking above and beyond the sales potential of the tool and ensure you consider your:

  • Decision-making process
  • Internal and external reporting
  • 3rd party integrations which would make your team’s work easier
  • Plans to go above and beyond for customers and clients
  • Resources and how you plan to utilise your potential

If you can work in this way your CRM system is likely to add considerable value to your business over the coming years. You might not be convinced that you alone can change your business, but all great ideas started with one person.

If you can ensure you take each of the above into consideration whilst also empowering the various areas of the business who will be using the CRM system such as sales and marketing, HR, customer services and supply chain management, your CRM system is likely to add considerable value to your business over the coming years.