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11 Best Practices to Make the Most of your CRM Software

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How to make the most of your CRM tools? To start with, ensure that your software is under capable hands, take advantage of the opportunities presented by rich sources of data, make sure the data gets in the software database, and that the information and responsibility is well shared within your organization, among other things.

It makes no sense to go through all the trouble doing all that research for the right CRM to home in on the best platform for your business and avoiding common CRM pitfalls while doing so as we have pointed out earlier, only to assume that the application will take care of itself as many do and get frustrated when the system fails to live up to their expectations.

Source: “Mobile CRM helps you reach your sales targets”

Indeed this category is showing remarkable robust ascendancy and now it is also paying off nicely through the adoption of mobile technology in CRM, but it takes the maintenance of best practices throughout all the stages to make it deliver the desired results for you.

But what are these best practices to ensure you make the most of your CRM? Let’s take a look at some of them.

How to Make the Most of your CRM Software

11 Best Practices to Make the Most of your CRM

1. Consistently provide excellent training for your employees

Whether in the form of timely refresher courses for old hands or comprehensive training modules for new hires, you want your employees to be technically adept at operating your CRM software to make sure it performs the way you initially saw it. You might have your best performers who are already promoted be active advocates to promote a positive appreciation of CRM software. Remember that the best software under inept and disinterested hands is of no use to you, but even an average solution could shine under superior hands.

2. Implement activity management within the CRM

Find a way to bring activities logged in the CRM: It’s what it’s there for

Before computers and the internet took over the business world and homes, individuals and employees used to diligently keep ledgers of their activities and kept their productivity at such high levels as a result. It appears all that has become lost in translation as things shifted over to the digital highways, and people go about their business without the elaborate activity management that they used to rely on so much.

It’s a pity, especially when these CRM platforms had it all in them to take care of those activities at more functional levels, at no cost even, for example, the free HubSpot CRM.

There’s no better way to retrieve this lost art than making them an essential part of your system. So make sure to implement it now within your CRM. Very often, such overlooked practices lead to some interesting routes as we go about the ways on how to make the most of your CRM.

3. Declutter your CRM

Perhaps there’s an argument to be made that some people thrive on clutter and chaos around them, but they’re probably some very limited minority and probably nonexistent in your workplace. You purchased CRM to simplify many operations in the first place, so there’s not a good reason why you shouldn’t prune your software interface and clear them of confusing clutter that gets in the way of squeezing the benefits of the system.

Saying that, you can begin chasing after those redundant fields wasting storage space. If you are paying for those via integrated system that has gone over the free limit, the more reason to clean them up immediately.

4. Encourage consistent data entry for fully automated processes

Email exchanges, even text messages with customers should go into the CRM

Occasionally your organization would stumble upon old or new employees who cannot seem to get over old habits, sticking to their own DIY customer management system typically in some scattered spreadsheet or Word document, even in some pieces of paper strewn over their desk.

It would be unfortunate if you find about these people during crucial times and they scurry about their places fumbling with those sequestered scraps of papers with important information.

So grab all these stubborn hands and get them on board the system with consequences otherwise. You do not want your system held up by this kind of people. Ask them to log in those incoming calls, emails, web site interactions, live chat, social channels, even text messages.

And while you’re at it, why not encourage and train them to use your system’s workflow automation, too.

5. Go big on automation

Differentiate between meaningful automation and surface automation that feel good but don’t help you transform your processes. Your CRM is more than a glorified contact manager that sends those emails but not really let you improve the quality of your leads.

The best CRMs do come out with very intuitive systems, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of its more advanced features beyond contact management. Perhaps your purchase of CRM is spurred by your need of an excellent partner to your great sales app, so why not go there and make the best of the integration to build an efficient sales process that drives growth.

When you go there, also keep in mind that every sales process is different, hence it’s imperative that you put in extra hours and effort to ensure your CRM works with your particular sales app. Go the full length of the integration and test, tweak, and do it regularly. Don’t settle for easy and small, otherwise you’re just setting the bar too low for your setup.

6. Turn your CRM into the home of all customer interactions

Your sales staff, marketers and customer support group can generate that much more value if they all stand behind turning your CRM into a singularly unified source of all essential information for anyone customer they all have had any interaction with.

These customer interactions could be anything: support conversations, web visits, application usage, marketing email prompts, social media mentions. They all tell something about the customer, and all your employees should be reading the same thing and putting any of them to good use.

By “good use” of course we mean assessing at which stage the customer is in terms of readiness to buy, renew, or upgrade. All these should be mirrored within your CRM.

7. Integration: because your CRM is essentially made for it

When a company is essentially turning its absolutely free CRM as the core engine of its whole marketing, sales and service ecosystem and turning out customer success stories after success stories, there’s really no reason anymore to remain entertaining the impression that CRM is just a great contact management application. The whole paradigm already shifted in a big way, turning CRM into the largest market in terms of market share. So why not take a look at how you are using your CRM and turn it into the vehicle of competitive beast that it could be? The results could astound you.

8. Keep a sharp eye on the integration scene

New integration can mean that much difference in your ROI

So you’ve taken the route to integration and reaping bounties already. What to do next?

Key to this is knowing that applications are shifting constantly. And to make sure that your CRM is still as relevant and competitive, you’d want to keep an eye on the latest systems that could improve your own CRM setup. It could be in the form of new plugins, new startups with compelling new functions, promising third-party solutions to make more of social media platforms, subtler but more powerful posting and email campaigns, and the like.

New tools offering new competitive advantages will always be on the horizon, so be vigilant and revisit your integration as frequently as you can.

9. Take the social media plunge

The rage about social media fortunes has gone beyond hype, so if your company is not already into the action, now might be the best time for you to take the plunge. The simple fact is that social media involvement delivers.

They’re a great source of customer information, a great way to build meaningful customer engagements, launch aggressive campaigns and postings, even know what your competition is up to. Better still, it gives you strong leads if not outright purchases.

10. Constantly update your CRM

Timely notifications from mobile apps are a good source of update availability

Your CRM provider is also in the business of getting ahead of their competition, and to do that they need to constantly harness new technologies to improve their own offerings. These enable them to gain new customers while keeping existing ones loyal.

If you are the existing customer, you can be shooting yourself in the foot not updating your CRM software to the latest versions with the more powerful features.

Still another thing: updates also typically include new security features. So if you don’t want sophisticated malware exploits hijacking your whole systems, you will want to update as much as possible.

11. Share CRM information

Whether its your finance/accounting department, your R&D experts, production, customer support or sales and marketing teams, all that information about the customer matters to their operations too. Hence it is to your interest to give CRM access to all your business departments. They will probably have some useful data or insights about any particular customer, so while at it, also get them actively involved in updating all the entries in your CRM database.

Examples of Leading CRM Software Solutions

And while we’re still hot on the pursuit how to make the most of your CRM, why not check out these top CRM solutions. If you’re looking to set up another CRM to replace your existing one or know someone who is just setting up shop, it might help them immensely getting introduced to these solutions that are topping the market in different categories:

  1. HubSpot CRM – From HubSpot, a renowned developer of robust applications in sales, marketing and customer support. HubSpot CRM is the company’s powerful but absolutely free implementation of CRM. The platform is known for allowing sales teams to get started quickly without making much of a change in their existing workflow.  You can easily sign up for free HubSpot CRM here.
  2. Pipedrive – Built by sales people and hardcore app developers, Pipedrive organizes your business leads in a way that will give you an excellent overview of your sales and allow you to focus on the deals that you want to prioritize.
  3. Freshsales – Powerful CRM and sales features combine to make this a favorite in the industry. The fourth addition in the Freshdesk product lineup, Freshsales is a quality CRM designed for high-velocity teams to keep track of contacts while handling multiple aspects of the sales process.
  4. Zoho CRM – From lead management to purchase control, Zoho CRM has you covered and much more. Zoho CRM is an award-winning web-based CRM designed to attract, retain, and satisfy customers to grow your business. You use Zoho CRM to manage your leads and contacts, as well as your sales pipeline.
  5. bpm’online CRM – is a robust CRM solution for large and medium-sized businesses that helps in speeding up operations, service, marketing, and sales tasks. This solution is designed to facilitate alignment of your processes, data, and teams to allow them to enhance the quality of their customer transactions.
  6. PayorCRM – This CRM software simplifies and streamlines the payment processes of B2B clients on all online channels, credit cards, and bank transfers. This platform provides great convenience to your clients by allowing them to settle their payments and add bank information from within their invoice-reminder-emails. It also features integrations with ERP and CRMS for faster workflows, setting automated invoice reminders based on your custom rules, and auto debit.

And that’s about it. Learning to how to properly use your CRM offers benefits but those mentioned are but the tip of the iceberg.  If your goal is lead conversion, you can adopt best practices to optimize your forms to get more leads. But more importantly, use your CRM system wisely to improve your sales pipeline.


Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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