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How To Get The Most Out Of Your CRM: 8 Important Optimization Tips

Category: B2B News

Let’s assume that you’ve just purchased a top CRM system for your company. Implementation was smooth, and everyone got on board pretty quickly, but the results are simply not there.

Before you throw the ball in the CRM’s court, think whether you have the right service strategy in place. Being stuck with old and dysfunctional methods hinders your ability to make the most out of your CRM software programs, in particular when it comes to modern features and evolving customer expectations.

What are the signs that indicate you’re not using your CRM properly?

  1. You’ve established good traction with your leads, but you’re still unable to prioritize the good ones
  2. Duplicate data is a common problem, and that doesn’t help you cut on administrative work
  3. You can’t create value-added portfolios of your customers
  4. Most of your routine tasks are not yet automated
  5. Delivery is slow and inconsistent
  6. You have trouble assigning tasks to the most competent agent
  7. Your reports are pretty basic (and often inaccurate)
  8. Your CRM tells you nothing about the health of your business

Five common sources of organizational inefficiency [Source: Kapture CRM]

Customer Relationship Management programs can add value to your business in many ways. Next to being a very important sales improvement tool, CRM software strengthens the company’s professional image, and thus, helps it impose itself on the market. Read more about CRM key benefits below.

And yet, getting a best-in-class CRM application is not enough to get a hold on these critical benefits. While used to maintain relationships with customers, CRM software still requires a solid loyalty strategy to keep customer relationships.

As some studies had pointed out, many CRM users are utilizing the software less than fifty percent of the time. The reason, however, is not the system they’re using, but how they’re using it. If you’re among them, it is about time to explore what your CRM can do for you.

CRM Software Optimization Best Practices

After a thorough analysis of dozens of solutions including core features and usability, our team of experts concluded that one of the easiest to set up and powerful CRM apps is HubSpot CRM. It is available for free, easy to optimize and integrate with other marketing, sales and service solutions. You can easily sign up for HubSpot CRM free app here.

1. Automate the basic tasks

When asked why they’re not automating, many business owners say that they don’t have enough time. And while you’d expect them to be selling most of the time, actual sales comprise only a third of their daily tasks.

Why should we all automate? It is simply because gaining traction with customers is not a one-time thing.

Rather than a destination, this is a journey that requires a lot of input on your side, and some of the tasks it involves can be really overwhelming. Luckily, you’ve got your CRM tool to help you get the job done.

Task automation is probably the most useful CRM feature you haven’t explored so far. Instead of putting busy sales agents in charge of scheduling calls, you can set your CRM to complete that for them. You can also introduce automated emails for new and returning customers, redirect them to your knowledge database, and use hundreds of other automation tricks to spare time for more important tasks. In some cases, your CRM vendor will even allow you to write effective scripts to automate tasks that are not already in the system. There are a lot of sales automation functions to choose from, all you have to do is identify what best fits your organization.

To relieve some part of the administrative burden, CRM vendors are thinking of ways to make automation even more efficient. HubSpot CRM, for instance, offers automated lead rotation to help managers assign tasks evenly. Another popular innovation in this system is the auto-creation of tasks and deals intended to shorten administrative work and letting agents focus on what is really important – selling! Basically, there is almost no part of your workflow that can’t be automated with HubSpot CRM.

Automation is only as good as how you categorize records. The more fields you have, as in this HubSpot pipeline customization dashboard, the better you can set automation to perform a laser-focus function.

2. Gather business intelligence from your CRM metrics

A good CRM tool will not only improve customer relationships but also provide valuable insights on your business’s health. If you didn’t learn anything from it over the years, you’ve been underestimating its power.

The biggest benefit of using a CRM system is that customer intelligence is aggregated in a single source of truth. This means you can easily pull out and analyze all sorts of behavioral patterns; easily relate them to causes, channels, or even agents; and lose no time coming up with the best solution. With such possibility at your fingertips, it’d be a pity settling down for basic reports and statistics.

Plus, CRM software specializes in adaptive sales enablement, and there is plenty it can do for you before you’ve actually started selling. This goes as far as evaluating prospect buyers’ expectations and teaching you how to approach different target groups.

Better yet, professional CRM software such as HubSpot covers a wide range of KPIs (key performance indicators) used to measure the effectiveness of customer engagement. The KPIs you may be missing on are email click-through rates, number of lost opportunities, average response rates, and many more.



The unique benefits of CRM systems [Source: Maxi CRM]

3. Create and maintain profitable customers’ portfolios

With all customer data gathered under one roof, you get a historical and cross-channel view of how you’ve dealt with a particular customer/issue You can easily navigate your entire communication on a particular case, and predict what customers would be after in any scenario. This is how CRM software keeps your service consistent, and how it turns quality relationships into a recognizable standard.

Let us give you few ideas on what you can do. To help agents deal with specific interactions (especially the new ones), you can pull out service guidelines and create playbooks based on previous interactions. It is a win-win strategy, as returning customers already know what to expect, and they are therefore more satisfied with your service.

Instead of guessing who your most profitable customers can be, you can use your CRM to distinguish them and to prioritize their requests. Note that this won’t mean leaving all other customers aside – instead of that, you’ll only make sure that important requests are handled at the right time, and by the right person.

Context is everything. HubSpot makes sure you get a full 360-degree view of your customers.

4. Put your CRM in the center of your marketing strategy

Another thing you probably haven’t tried is using CRM intelligence for developing marketing campaigns. Yet, it provides some of the most crucial insights on how to approach a particular market, and it often reveals the tactics that are most successful.

In short, forming lasting relationships will be much easier if you approach customers in the way they want to be approached. That’s what your CRM teaches you, together with cues on which market is most interactive, which products/services are most wanted, and which support channel gets the most traffic.

If you didn’t integrate your CRM tool with your marketing system, now is the right time to do so. There are loads of benefits you can realize from observing CRM marketing best practices. You can also consider productivity kits that offer synced CRM, marketing, and sales tools, such as HubSpot.

HubSpot Marketing Dashboard [Source: HubSpot]

5. Sync your CRM to other important tools

Since we tackled the topic of integrations, let’s discuss why it is important to sync CRM systems to other tools you’re using. The uptight connections to marketing, sales, and help desk tools are self-explanatory, but there are some interesting connections you may not have thought of.

The account data gathered in your CRM can support the work of all enterprise systems used to manage your sales. It is a well-known fact that an Enterprise Resource Planning system is never enough. As an idea, you can connect the CRM to your ERP solution and add a single, fully automated inquiry management process for all clients. The CRM tool should also work in synergy with your calendars and email service providers, so that there is no need to double-enter information.

Last but not least, your CRM must (without any exceptions!) be connected to your social media profiles. The reason for this is social listening –  the conversations taking place on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn impact the reputation of your brand, and you should be aware of them at all times.

HubSpot offers multiple integrations to meet the needs of every user

6. Recognize and reward good work

Customer relationships are not the only relationships your CRM can improve. The tool also plays an important role in how you handle internal communication.

CRM systems’ primary task is to track communications, each of which involves both a customer and an agent receiving his request. This means that the CRM system is one of your best means to evaluate and reward your agents’ performance.

As we discussed before, CRMs automate task distribution, and therefore have an impact on how satisfied your agents will be. They’ll not only have an even share in how requests are assigned, but also get to work on matters they truly specialize in, instead of getting tasks they can’t handle.

7. Customize it

Your CRM is where customers get to meet you for the very first time, and you should use it to create a lasting and positive first impression. You should think of it as the actual face of your support team, and the main influencer on customers’ opinion on who you are and what you do.

While optimizing your CRM, follow through with your brand strategy. This will help you deliver consistent and cohesive service at all instances, and to meet your customers’ exact expectations. Another great idea would be to improve navigation and ensure seamless user experience, as this is the best way to avoid conflicts and failed deliveries.  Just like any sales automation software, sales automation use can be maximized with proper employed.

8. Keep customer data up to date

If you want your CRM to nurture contacts successfully, you need to update their data on regular basis. With a detailed record of each customer in hand, you won’t be losing time gathering intelligence once your relationship starts evolving. Instead, you’ll focus on what actually matters – closing a deal.

Keeping in line with customers’ desires will show them that you’re actually listening, and there’s no better sales asset than that.

Bottom line

When it comes to developing an efficient CRM strategy, there is always room for improvement. Next to following our tips on how to optimize your CRM tool, you should also evaluate your service from your customers’ perspective, and identify other possibilities with CRM that we haven’t discussed. Starting with a solid CRM app should also be taken into consideration (You can have a solid CRM at no cost when you can sign up for a HubSpot CRM free app here).

If there is one thing we’d highlight as the most important CRM tip, it is: you should sometimes play it by ear. Customers’ expectations are evolving all the time, and you need to stay alert in order to respond to them.

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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