As your company grows, it’s important to know where your prospects and potential buyers are coming from and how they behave as they work their way down the sales funnel. Using old-school, manual tracking methods can cause things to slip through the cracks — not to mention that sort of process is extremely tedious and energy draining. In the end, this can lead to exhausted team members and frustrated customers. Fortunately, with today’s technology, there is a better answer.
This is why customer relationship management (CRM) was invented. Let’s dive right in…
What Does CRM Stand For?
CRM is an acronym for ‘customer relationship management.’ When it comes to the meaning of CRM, it’s a software or cloud-based solution that stores all of your organization’s interactions with existing and future customers in one single place. CRM tools will help you compile data on everything from a person’s initial interaction with your company’s site and the types of things they looked at to the very moment your proposal was viewed and the amount of time the recipient took a look at it.
The goal of a CRM is to create a system that your sales and marketing teams can utilize to be more efficient and effective with their professional efforts. Although these teams will use the tool differently, the goals are still the same: to retain and attract customers.
The Evolution of CRM
The CRM definition has undoubtedly changed over the years. It’s thought that the first CRMs began in the 1950s, although they certainly looked a lot different than they do today. At that time, the main focus was on maintaining accurate accounting records, so companies with big bucks could jump in and grab the world’s first commercial computers. During the ’70s, the prices of computers began to drop dramatically, enabling smaller businesses to get in on the action.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that CRMs as we know them came onto the market. With innovations that allowed companies to analyze their customer databases statistically to determine which people would be most likely to engage with a marketing campaign, modern marketing was born. In the ’90s, products began to appear, which housed and managed customer data in brand new ways. By the 2000s, cloud-based offerings were available, paving the way for the products used in today’s business world.
Phrases to Know About CRMs
Before we go any further into the use of CRMs, there are a few terms and phrases you should know and be aware of:
- Contacts. These are individual humans. You’ll usually record a contact’s names, as well as any pertinent information, such as their phone numbers and email addresses. You might also want to know more about your contacts, such as their job titles, which companies they work for, or how much annual revenue their organizations record.
- Leads. These are people who have expressed interest in the products or services you offer. If they’re a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), they’ve connected with your content in some way. For example, they might have signed up for your newsletter. You can also have SQLs, which stands for Sales Qualified Leads. These are the folks who your sales team has deemed a solid fit for your sales funnel.
- Deals. A deal is a potential sale. You could also call them opportunities. Deals move people through the numerous phases of your buyers’ journeys. In your CRM, you’ll want to be sure to link your contacts to the deals they’re associated with.
- Company. If you’re a B2B organization, you’ll want to be sure to capture the company for which your contacts work. Many CRMs will put the ‘company’ field at the beginning of the list when it sorts the information you’ve populated into the database; this allows you to see how many deals and contacts you have for each organization.
- Source. The source is where your leads came from and how they found your company. People come from different origins, be it conferences, social media posts, word-of-mouth referrals, or webinars. When you keep track of your sources, you’ll soon be able to see which channels are most effective for your future marketing efforts.
- Activity. The ‘activity’ section encompasses anything your sales team does in terms of having contact (or potential contact) with your prospects. This is where they should record phone calls, emails, voicemails, webinars, demos, and any other interaction they have with your potential customers.
- Deal Stage. Your sales process needs to detail the steps your salespeople go through to win the relationship with potential buyers. The deal stage is the place at which most people make a purchase. This might include an email, webinar, or exploratory call.
- Pipeline. You organize your deal stages into pipelines. Each person on your sales team should have their own place in the funnel, which can be tracked within your CRM so they can easily see which possibilities are currently available to them.
Benefits of CRMs
CRMs enhance the strategies of companies all over the globe. Here are four main benefits these tools offer:
1. Improved Customer Experiences
It’s far easier to provide customers with great buying experiences when you know a lot about them. When you can see, at a single look, every blog post, email, and download they’ve engaged with, as well as key details like how big their company is, where it’s located, and what industry they’re in, you’ll have a significant advantage over your competition.
This kind of insight enables you to create personalized messages that provide more value from the very beginning of your relationship.
2. Higher Productivity
CRMs allow you to automate tasks such as call and activity logging, reporting, and contract signings. When you minimize the time your employees spend on admin tasks, they’ll have more time to put your brand right in front of prospects. Your bottom line will improve in relation to the amount of effort you put into your CRM.
3. Better Collaboration
People in various roles on the team can easily see what’s going on with specific projects and prospects. Your account executives, sales development reps, and marketing team can check in on projects and prospects to see how things are going. CRMs offer a great way for team members to learn best practices from successful colleagues and troubleshoot their issues by discovering what works for others. Not only that, but if someone goes on vacation or gets sick, all the details are right there, should another person need to step in and help out while that person is away.
4. Bigger Insights
You no longer have to wonder how your salespeople are doing. A CRM will give you both high-level and on-the-ground insights into your team members’ performances, including your group as a whole, as well as on an individual level. You’ll learn about conversion rates, the average deal size, and much more. With this data, you can tweak your strategies to talk to people in ways that make the most sense for their buyers’ journeys.
How to Use CRM Tools for Your Marketing Strategies
When you’re setting up your CRM, you want to be sure to include your salespeople. The quicker you get all your reps on the same page, the more in-depth and detailed your data will be. The initial step to implementing your CRM should always be adding the people who will be using it. Make sure you’ve explained why you’re implementing a CRM and how it will assist them when they want to attract more business. Recruit one or two of your top sales team members to advocate the adoption process; their colleagues will naturally follow right behind them.
From there, you will want to do the following:
Customize Your Settings
Your customer relationship management system needs to be built around your sales process, so you need to accurately map stages your customers go through, from “lead” to “customer.” Once you’ve identified a standard process, you can create channels within your CRM that your salespeople can populate with information as they complete their processes.
Import Your Contact, Company, and Deals Data
It doesn’t matter if you’re using spreadsheets, sticky notes, or an alternate CRM — you have vital customer information somewhere. Almost every customer relationship management system will give you the ability to upload this data by way of a CSV file. Make sure your file is formatted uniformly to ensure all of the information is brought in seamlessly.
Integrate Other Tools
Most CRMs can play nice with other tools that will enhance your overall marketing process. For example, you might collect leads using an online tool, such as a form builder, enter those leads into an email tool so your marketing team can nurture them, then export those leads to your client relationship management system.
Set Up Your Dashboard
Your dashboard should be your go-to place for all things related to your marketing efforts. This is your control panel, and in most cases, you can personalize it to your own specific needs. Choose the stats that appear based on your company’s objectives, and be sure to set activity metrics so you can see how your reps are doing on a day-by-day, week-by-week, or month-by-month situation.
Business leaders spend tons of time looking at information, but your sales team should be spending as much time as possible making money for your business. When you create daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly email reports, you’re making it easier for everybody to see the metrics that need to be hit.
Best CRM Options Available
There are several types of CRMS. Here’s a run-down of the basics:
- Conversion CRMs. These tools are built around the conversations your people are already having with your contacts. They pay attention to your team’s inboxes and organize each conversation into the appropriate profile across your company.
- Leads & Deals CRMs. This is the most popular type of CRM. In this instance, you’ll track potential buyers as “leads,” add information as you get to know them, then turn that lead into a “deal” once they’ve made a purchase.
- Contact CRM. Sometimes, a little human touch goes a long way. Things like work anniversaries and birthdays can be easily tracked and celebrated using a contact CRM. These are the simplest (and often the cheapest) CRM options available.
- Marketing CRM. Marketing CRMs often integrate other tools that help automate the workflow for your marketing team. These tools tend to be a little more expensive than other options, but their reach is extensive.
Hire Zero Gravity Marketing
If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to creating a great CRM process within your company, Zero Gravity Marketing can help. Our team can manage your CRM, analyze the stats, and recommend best practices going forward. Touch base with our team to learn how we can simultaneously simplify and improve your marketing processes.