How To Get More Out of Your CRM

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You’ve probably spent a nice chunk of change on your customer relationship management (CRM) solution, but are you getting the most out of your investment?

CRM has become the enterprise backbone that connects all of your other separate, best-of-breed solutions into a single repository; it’s no longer merely a sales automation tool. To get the most of your CRM platform, you have to integrate complementary tools to achieve best-in-class sales operations. With the right sales stack integration, your conventional CRM system should empower your enterprise sales reps to do their jobs more effectively and productively — delivering an outstanding customer experience that will close more sales.

Here’s how to get the most out your CRM:


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Develop Usage Procedures To Maintain Consistency

A CRM system can help you standardize lead capture and sales processes, so you can gradually refine the process to maximize results. However, standardization and optimization don’t just magically happen when the vendor gives you the platform. You’ve got homework to do.

Companies that get the most out of their sales technologies — any multi-seat user technology for that matter — define standard operating procedures (SOPs). Without SOPs, you leave the door wide open for Joe to use the system his way and for Sally to maneuver in an entirely different manner. While they both may be successful with their individual methods, sales management has no proven procedure for onboarding new reps. You also have no standardized data capture for reporting and analysis.

A thoroughly documented, well-communicated set of SOPs can:

  • Ease change management issues when changing solutions.
  • Make new rep onboarding more manageable and repeatable.
  • Help you better track and analyze metrics accurately thanks to consistency in rep usage and data capture.

Set Up a Repeatable Sales Cadence

To be effective, your CRM solution must allow you to do more than merely capture lead and customer data. You need to implement a sales engagement solution, a complementary platform that improves the productivity and quality of each lead engagement, that works with your CRM platform so that you can create and manage a repeatable sales cadence. This enables you to implement and execute a carefully designed and consistent sales process.

Monitor the results of these workflows and the performance of each rep to optimize your sales cadence for more sales and profits.

Make Your CRM Easy To Use

For a CRM to be effective, you need to ensure company-wide adoption by your employees.

Select and customize your CRM system with the end-user in mind. Look for an intuitive user interface to help reduce the learning curve and increase efficiency. Find a CRM that integrates with other technologies that help you improve sales engagement.

Additionally, implement role-based access so users can only access information relevant and appropriate to them. This step helps declutter the screen, streamline the workflows, avoid confusion, reduce errors, and enhance security.

Provide Onboarding and On-going Training

Your CRM is only as good as the people using it, so make sure your sales team is getting the appropriate training.

Implement an onboarding process to ensure that new hires know how to maximize their productivity with the CRM system.

In addition, offer on-going training sessions to existing employees to help them keep up-to-date with system updates and sales processes.

Define Data Hygiene Guidelines

Your CRM won’t be effective if you don’t have the right customer data in the system.

As time passes, data entered into a system becomes inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate due to human error or changes in your business. Just check out these stats:

Have procedures in place to maintain clean and consistent data. Assign an administrator to ensure data quality, provide input guidelines to all employees, and use data validation to help maintain consistent formatting. Budget for additional tools to maintain your data hygiene.

Capture All Customer Interactions

It’s increasingly important to deliver an omnichannel customer-centric sales experience that takes every single customer interaction into account, including live chat, phone calls, emails, social media comments or messages, conversations on messaging apps, and more.

Make sure your CRM is setup to capture all customer interactions in real-time and have the information available to all sales reps immediately so they can deliver a seamless sales experience.

Use a real-time social media listening tool to capture social media mentions so you can monitor customer comments and make sure your team can provide the appropriate support promptly.

Also, fortify your CRM with a sales engagement system that handles and records sales calls and can help you keep track of all phone conversations without requiring your sales reps to spend extra time manually logging the information.

Integrate With Other Customer Management Systems

Customers expect a seamless experience all the way from discovery of your brand through to the purchase and onward to the post-sale experience.

To deliver an outstanding customer experience, your sales department can’t operate in a silo. Your team needs visibility into what other internal departments are doing that may affect a sale. Additionally, other functions (e.g., marketing, product development, demand forecasting) require input from the sales department to optimize their performances.

Strategic integration of CRM with marketing automation solutions such as HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot allow you to design a highly-personalized, and even predictive, marketing and sales approach.

Sync Up With Your Calendar App

Having sales reps re-enter every appointment into a separate calendar application is inefficient and error-prone. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But many are still doing this.

Not to mention, missing a client meeting could mean losing a sale and a substantial loss in revenue.

Make sure your CRM system syncs up accurately with your company’s email and calendar system and automatically sends out a calendar invite to the customers as well. If appointment setting is a priority for your sales team, robust calendaring features are a must.

Leverage Reporting and Dashboards

Utilize the reporting and dashboard feature in your CRM system to effectively manage your team, increase transparency, and ensure accountability. Leverage your CRM’s custom reporting functionality to extract meaningful data and translate it into easy-to-digest visuals for easy reference.

Your entire team should have access to reports relevant to their roles so everyone can understand what area is excelling and what needs improvements.

Does your CRM system have all the right sales engagement features to help you get the most out of the software? If you are missing the sales engagement features necessary to optimize sales cadence and improve every lead touchpoint, try VanillaSoft for free to see what’s possible with your CRM.

Darryl Praill

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft, is a high-tech marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience spanning startups, re-starts, consolidations, acquisitions, divestments and IPO’s. He has been widely quoted in the media including television, press, and trade publications. He is a guest lecturer, public speaker, and radio personality and has been featured in numerous podcasts, case studies, and best-selling books.

Praill is a former recipient of the coveted Forty Under 40 Award, and has held senior executive roles in leading companies including Sybase, Cognos (now IBM), webPLAN (now Kinaxis), and CML Emergency Services (now AIRBUS). He has raised over $50 million in venture funding across multiple organizations and consulted with world-class corporations including Salesforce, SAP, and Nielsen. He is a Computer Science graduate from Sheridan College.

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