The best CRM solutions are the ones that are used. It’s a simple concept; however depending on the types of technology adopters (personality types) at play in your small business, getting buy-in from your co-workers to use the company CRM software can present some challenges. Here are 5 things you can do to maximize utilization of your company’s CRM system.
- Build a Foundation of Trust
We all fall into one of the following categories: Technology enthusiasts, visionaries, pragmatists, conservatives, and skeptics. With characteristics ranging from the hardcore “bring it on” types to the “how could this possibly make my life easier” naysayers, selecting and introducing a CRM toolset to your workforce must be done with an emphasis on the net benefits. Focus on highlighting better contact and project management, email integration, and how easy it is to use. Make it relevant to every department (sales, marketing, service, and finance.) The more you highlight the relevant features, the more build trust and make your CRM system a must have.
To help to ease the transition into having your workers fully embrace the CRM system, it’s imperative to select a highly intuitive CRM option; one that requires minimal training. It should integrate with widely used productivity tools such as Gmail, DropBox, and Office 365, as well as offer mobile access for optimal productivity while on the go.
Once you get past the gaining buy-in phase, here are four more actions you can take to maximize your CRM system and solidify the trust and support of everyone involved:
- Accept No Dirty Data
Ultimately a CRM solution is a form of data management. If you’re fueling the system with subpar data, your output is going to be useless. Fortunately, this has been accounted for in the design of most CRM systems, which means they can be set up to provide varying degrees of control in the way data is entered. To order to enhance and maximize the quality control features built into your CRM, it’s wise to outline and implement a set of internal “rules of accountability” that will further incentivize people to treat data entry with extra care.
- Build a Detailed Sales Pipeline
A CRM sets the stage for fast access to data relevant to performance, forecasting, and conversions (sales). With more than a surface level understanding of your sales figures, you can plan for growth with greater accuracy.
To make the most of the sales functionality of your CRM, create a task force of representatives, gather input, then set up a sales pipeline process that clearly delineates the logical stages, such as: Prospect > Demo > Analysis > Proposal > Contract > Close.
- Data Integration
Your CRM solution should provide a clear benefit to both the front and back office. Be sure your system integrates your other business systems such as finance and accounting, sales proposal builders, and your email marketing platform. Integrations existing business systems allows for the flexibility to continue using solutions you may already have in place, and/or expand upon them. It also opens the door to gather robust and diverse data sets that will give you deeper insights into the health of your business.
- Work That Data
One of the most powerful features of a CRM system is the business intelligence that’s built in. It will pay dividends over the long term to spend time and effort creating a thoughtful approach to reporting (i.e. constructing and posting relevant and meaningful data queries using date ranges, filter logic, etc.). Logic-based reporting provides visibility into specifics such as the types of customers in your pipeline—including their monetary value—such as where each potential sale is in the process, as well as why some deals were lost.
Reporting on data will also help you quickly pinpoint trends in your marketing efforts, such as customer responses to an adjustment in pricing or an uptick in newsletter subscriptions. Having this type of information at your fingertips fosters quick answers to issues before they become problematic. It can also help you capitalize on favorable customer activity.
Having a CRM solution at your disposal can be a tremendous platform for business growth. With a variety of cloud-based solutions on the market, choosing the right CRM for small businesses can kick start your sales efforts. CRM systems have become very affordable, even for the sole proprietor. Despite some of the initial hurdles of getting people on board, it’s worth the effort and investment.
About the author
Insightly was designed as a simple to use yet powerful Web-based CRM system for small businesses. With integrations to widely used applications such as Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp, and Dropbox, Insightly CRM keeps you connected to the right information at the right time—including contacts, sales information, project activities, and more. Because we handle all of the technical issues like server upgrades and security fixes, you can focus on growing sales, not maintaining an IT support staff. Insightly CRM helps you concentrate on what matters most, running your business.