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What is Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of welcoming new customers, making sure their questions or issues are addressed, and offering new products and services as the needs become apparent. From welcome calls to user groups to training sessions, onboarding can take many forms, depending on the business. The process is widely regarded as a necessity for retaining customers and deepening their relationships, but many businesses struggle with both the organization of onboarding steps as well as their implementation across multiple departments. 

While many businesses fall short with a lackluster onboarding program, many more are using technology solutions like CRM to help them both implement and monitor the initiatives. When put to work as an extension of CRM's core functionality, a workflow or campaign centered around the new customer experience is a true game changer. Beyond the baseline contact and task management, the advantages of CRM become apparent when we look at data integrations, touchpoint automation, and cross-selling. In these areas, the system builds a safety net for new clients by ensuring a smooth and intuitive process where the business is aware of problems as they happen, no one falls through the cracks and gets forgotten, and opportunities to deepen a customer relationship are seized.

Integration and Automation

The billing process provides a great example of how easily customers can be overlooked. When new customers are invoiced and make a payment, this information is received and noted by the accounting department, and may not be visible to anyone else in the company. If that client is waiting on product delivery or if someone in the company should be reaching out to confirm that the client received what they paid for, the folks in accounting would have had to notify outside departments every time a payment is received. By integrating the finance data with other customer data in CRM, the company can open a window into what exactly is going on with that person and can make that information available to anyone with access to CRM (generally a much wider audience than those accessing accounting software). The customer service team can be automatically notified as soon as payment is received, triggering a customer care call or follow up email. By connecting employees with customers through the data, CRM helps make sure all clients are welcomed into the fold and have an experience that builds loyalty and satisfaction.

Cross-Selling

Businesses will state that "everyone is a salesperson," meaning that all employees should have their antennas up for customer needs and be willing to address them. This is great on paper but less so in practice, because selling takes a level of training and confidence that many employees just don’t have.  The onboarding process is a great time to start making some "soft sales" when customers are just learning what the company offers and are already receptive to the conversations around purchases and money. CRM helps warm up the sales conversation even further, delivering cross-sell recommendations to employees based on what the customer has already purchased and where their needs might lead them. By delivering contextually accurate notifications, CRM gives the business an opportunity to offer products and services to customers that are most likely to be well received.

Today’s businesses operate in a world where the margin for error with customers is very slim and where competition is fierce. The margins are even smaller in the fragile first days of any customer’s experience with that company. Ensuring receipt of the product and answering follow-up questions are the foundation of a welcome process that may include phone calls, emails, letters, or seminars and training. All of this can be a circus even for the largest, best-equipped company, and the prospects for smaller companies can be worse. Using CRM as part of an onboarding initiative will help manage the process by automating customer touchpoint notifications, displaying all of the customers’ information in one spot, and delivering timely cross-sales information. This technology behind the scenes will lead to a customer experience that is smooth, responsive, and attentive to their needs without being too pushy or too distant. The “just right” customer experience is hard to achieve but can solidify the customer relationship and create loyalty that keeps people coming back year after year.

This post was originally published on the W-Systems SugarCRM Blog.

How much effort does your company put into customer success?

 

The answer varies, but companies are starting to realize just how valuable customer success is. Done well, customer success can grow your business by improving customer satisfaction, retention, and recurring revenue. It can even reduce pressure on your customer support team.

 

But because customer success is such a broad arena, it can be difficult to make headway no matter how much time and effort you invest. How do you effectively bring sales, marketing, support, and training together to ensure that every customer you win is successful and has a long, happy relationship with your company?

 

There are a few proven systems that can help you create an effective customer success program, starting with your CRM and online community. These systems collect the information you need to launch customer success initiatives that work for your audience. Here’s how you can use SugarCRM and an online community to increase customer success and grow your business.

 

Step 1. Collect the Three Main Types of Customer Data

Customer success is heavily dependent on the customers involved. What helps one company’s customers may not help yours. So get to know your customers by collecting the three main types of customer data:

  • Demographic Data
  • Transactional Data
  • Activity Data

 

Demographic and transactional data are traditionally collected and analyzed to understand who your customers are and what they typically purchase. SugarCRM is an excellent tool for gathering and organizing this information.

 

Activity data is a newer type of data that usually comes from your website and online community. Activity data tells you how customers behave and helps you understand their interests, concerns, and priorities. A few types include page views, blogs read, and discussion posts published.

 

It’s important to collect all three types of customer data. If you’re missing even one, you won’t have a complete view of your customers and could miss a crucial component that helps customers be more successful with your product and, ultimately, increase the value and satisfaction they experience.

 

Step 2. Combine Data in a Single Location

Once you know you’re collecting the right information on your customers, you need get it in one place. This is important because data silos lead to fragmented views of customers and make understanding the big picture difficult.

 

Combine customer data from your CRM and online community, as well as any other systems that contain useful information, in one system. Many companies use their CRM as their central data repository, but third-party analytics or business intelligence tools can also be helpful.

 

When your data is in one place you can analyze it to get a complete view of your customers. You can match the products customers are discussing in your online community with their purchases, for instance. You’ll also be able to spot topics of interests as well as areas where customers may be struggling.

 

Step 3. Create and Implement a Customer Success Program

Based on your data, draft a customer success program that fits your customers’ needs. Your program may include:

  • Guidelines for managing customer expectations during the initial sales process as well as during upsell and upgrade conversations
  • An onboarding program that sets customers up for success from the moment they make a purchase
  • Ongoing training resources that address pain points and help customers user more product features more efficiently
  • Regular check-ins to head off any potential problems
  • Consistently updated content to help customers learn and get more value from your products over time

 

Each of these elements should be tailored for your customers and can be delivered using the tools in your online community and SugarCRM. You could create follow-up notes and reminders in SugarCRM and distribute content and training material in your online community, for example.

 

Bonus Tip: Keep your program flexible even after implementation. Continue collecting data and update your program when you spot new trends or changes in customer needs. The best customer success programs pivot with customers.

 

Step 4. Collect (and Use) Product Feedback

Your customer success program isn’t the only thing that needs consistently updates, your products and services do too. They’re not perfect, and with the rapidly changing landscape we live in, they never will be. You need to consistently improve your offers to make it as easy as possible for your customers to be successful.

 

One of the best ways to do this is through customer feedback. Use your online community to create a dedicated space for feedback, then ask your customers to weigh in on products and services. What would make them better? How could common user experience problems be solved? Let other customers’ comment or up-vote suggestions from their peers so you know how popular each piece of feedback is. The more positive attention a suggestion gets, the more likely it is that that making a change is that area will increase customer success.

 

And don’t forget to let your customers know when their comments lead to a change. It demonstrates just how much you care about their opinions – a key ingredient in any successful relationship.

 

Customer Success is a Long-Term, Company-Wide Investment

Using SugarCRM and an online community to collect and analyze data over time will help you spot trends in customer behavior and shift your strategies and products to fit customer needs.

 

The most effective companies also have organization-wide buy-in. Everyone, from executives to marketers and customer service representatives, makes customer success a priority. This attitude trickles down through tasks, teamwork, and technology to create an atmosphere that prioritizes the customer. Customers pick up on that, making it just a little easier for them to feel comfortable putting their trust in your business over the long haul.

 

Want to learn more? Contact us or check out listing on SugarExchange to learn what our solution can provide for you.

A Total CRM platform combines both marketing and sales force automation to merge your customer and sales data to improve the utility of each piece exponentially. Read on to learn about sales force automation and check out our marketing automation blog. The completion of this blog series will appear on Aug. 10 and highlights how these two important facets of your business come together in your Total CRM.

Sales force automation (SFA) allows you to automate certain sales functions, freeing up precious time for your sales reps and managers. Taking the leads that your marketing automation (MA) gathered, your sales team can dig into the data to find those prized opportunities. SFA makes it possible to manage a huge volume of leads, contacts, accounts, prospects and customers.

Will you be attending SugarCon in San Francisco this year? We will be there! Check out our track session "You Want Better CRM User Adoption? Gamify Your System" or stop by our booth. Hope to you see there! 

SFA also streamlines your sales team’s process because they can hop into the system and see where they left things with a prospect, logging every call, email and face-to-face conversation. For sales managers, this capability allows you to quickly see the progress of individual accounts, and to track how the sales team is spending their time.

Yet, as useful and efficient as SFA platforms are, they run into the same issue as standalone MA systems do. They only offer half of the big picture. Sales Force Automation platforms cannot show the entire customer relationship — the customer journey through the sales pipeline. They are limited to showing only one specific aspect of it.

Sometimes companies will have both MA and SFA solutions, but they do not connect them. This creates extra steps for your team. The best way to put together your puzzle pieces is to merge them in a Total CRM software.

Sales force automation is just one piece of a Total CRM platform. Learn how it all fits together in the Total CRM white paper.

Don't forget:  Vote for us in this year's App Throwdown and put us on SugarCon's main stage! "Like" our post Splash - Gamification Platform for SugarCRM to make us this year's "Crowd Pleaser"!!

Finding a competent outsource provider can be a real challenge on the one hand, but on the other hand it can bring significant advantages to your business since you get an educated workforce and availability of labor. One may wonder, why do I have to engage a CRM outsourcing company?

 

To find out the answer just ask yourself: Do I have the time or technical expertise to maintain or enhance my CRM system? In our experience, to extract the most value from your CRM system you need a wide variety of not only engineering and IT skills but methodological skills as well. For many business owners the decision to outsource CRM tasks does not come easy. There is a lot of sensitive information in your CRM solution, so finding trustworthy people is obviously a top priority. Of course, the development of outsourcing locations means that firms have several options to choose from if they want to nearshore IT services in order to modify or support their CRM solutions.

 

If you have never hired a CRM outsourcing company and do not know which factors to consider, take a look at our recommendations.

Know when to hire an outside help. It is important to bear in mind if you do not want to suffer from on-peak load when there is a need to change some part of a CRM system quickly.

Be strategic when setting a budget and timeframe. Negotiate the structure and the sequence of the project works. This will help you gain more cost savings, paying service provider on a pre-project basis or only for the hours rendered with your project.

Be specific in the business tasks and challenges description. This will help you guide the project in the right direction and gain more CRM customizations based on what you really want that will allow your business to scale at a greater level.

Discuss the categories of specialists you need. This one is necessary too. Make sure you take care of it. Knowing which specialists you need to carry out your instant CRM enhancement requests will provide you with a team of experienced and competent specialists. In addition, this ensures that you will get better support services and move forward faster.

Of course, outsourcing has its drawbacks. There can be problems with communication, security and privacy leaks, issues with quality of the solutions, to name a few. Still, nearshoring is on the rise thanks to the progress of collaborative technologies and a pool of highly qualified workers.

 

If you want to see other recommendations on all the benefits outsourcing presents and at the same time maintain control over a CRM system, guarantee confidentiality and service efficiency, please, look at this article. It is obvious, that nearshoring makes it much easier to integrate activities and to handle confidential material. However, the question still persists: Do you want to take on the burden of transformation and the associated risks alone or share it?

A Total CRM platform combines both sales force and marketing automation to merge your customer and sales data to improve the utility of each piece exponentially. Read on to learn about marketing automation and check back here on Aug. 3 to gain knowledge about sales force automation. The completion of this blog series will appear on Aug. 10 and highlights how these two important facets of your business come together in your Total CRM.

Will you be attending SugarCon in San Francisco this year? We will be there! Check out our track session "You Want Better CRM User Adoption? Gamify Your System" or stop by our booth. Hope to you see there! 

A customer relationship management (CRM) system gives your whole team access to customer information. When you take that one step farther, you can use that data to reach out to your customers through a variety of campaigns. Marketing automation is a fantastic way to utilize the information stored in your CRM.

A great marketing automation (MA) platform has five key functions:

  • Attract
  • Capture
  • Nurture
  • Convert
  • Expand

It needs tools to not only reach out to leads, but to gather all the information it can from them. A MA platform also needs tools to guide leads through their customer journey, no matter what channel they originated from. Most importantly, it needs to have a wide range of tools for winning business, sustaining customers, and growing interest in other products and services.

MA initiatives can take many forms, including highly-targeted email marketing to social listening, SEO audits, A/B testing and predictive analytics. No matter the avenue, the core of all these measures is to make it as easy and efficient as possible for the marketing team to find and win new customers.

Yet, there is one significant issue with MA-focused systems: They can’t see into the sales side of this process. To reap the biggest reward from your CRM, you need to be able to manage and see into the sales pipeline. Without a sales function, it is difficult to have a deep understanding of things like ROI. It also makes any customer-centric analysis virtually impossible to do.

To understand more about salesforce automation, check out part 2 of this blog series next week.

Marketing automation is just one piece of a Total CRM platform. Learn how it all fits together in the Total CRM white paper.

Don't forget:  Vote for us in this year's App Throwdown and put us on SugarCon's main stage! "Like" our post Splash - Gamification Platform for SugarCRM to make us this year's "Crowd Pleaser"!!

Like many businesses these days, we have been using live chat now for quite awhile now and realizing its benefits. Over the past year we have integrated our chat and CRM applications and quickly found that this should have been done much sooner than we had. Quite simply, it's a must to augment chat with CRM data.

 

Standalone Chat

 

Before we made the leap we did noticed some immediate benefits to having chat by itself, including:

 

  • Chat provided more efficient support.  It can be helpful to get on a phone call at times, especially for deeper issues, but nothing beats being able to effectively help multiple people at one time like you can with chat. It scales much more nicely.
  • Chat put a face to our business. People love doing business with other people versus a faceless business. It's comforting to know there is an actual person available when help is needed.
  • Chat improved our sales. We found that adding chat as an option improved our sales substantially. On top of having the option to start a chat, those who engaged in chat were much more likely to purchase as their questions were able to be quickly answered, removing those hurdles.

 

Chat with CRM

 

After tying in CRM data into our chat conversations we were able to realize a number of additional benefits, including:

 

  • Chat helped with renewals. With tying chat to current billing status we were able to do proactive chats to help with the renewal process.
  • Chat helped with at-risk trials. Based on certain indicators, our CRM marked certain trials as "at-risk". Having that information at hand not only helped our agents better understand how to help visitors, but we could also use that information to start proactive chats to ensure that the customer was getting the help that they needed in order to use it.

 

Chat with CRM & Zendesk

 

As we continue to grow there are new opportunities to improve, especially around the support side. This is why we are excited about the new Zendesk Chat product launch along with the only CRM integration currently available for it, Fanatical Labs' SugarCRM for Zendesk integration.

 

Multi-Channel Chat

 

While working with other businesses trying out the beta version over the past couple of months, we found that Zendesk and SugarCRM users benefited the most from:

 

  • Providing an additional avenue of support. Users are now able to quickly create support tickets based on chat conversations.
  • Advanced chat routing. Based on rules, including visitor behavior on the site, they can route....(word this to support or sales points of contact...)
  • Seeing contract info from Sugar. Support agents could quickly see what a visitor's support contract is so that the appropriate level of support could be provided.
  • Reducing steps needed from a customer. For example, if a customer is having an issue a support rep could see what their license key is within Sugar without needing to ask them for that additional information. Reducing steps such as these reduces the dedicated time required to get a customer the help they needed.
  • Proactively initiating chat based on behavior. Based on a variety of options, including current page, # of past visits, time on site, etc, automated chats can be sent to the visitor.

 

Zendesk Chat with SugarCRM data on the right

 

If you haven't started taking advantage of chat yet, or have and are looking to become more effective with it, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. The ways to use chat augmented with CRM listed above are just some of the many possibilities. I suggest starting with one or two, implementing it, learning from it, and then expanding from there. If you need help setting up Zendesk with SugarCRM schedule a call with us.

How much time can a click to call feature save you in Sugar?

Time and again, we hear from our clients that adding a click to call feature in Sugar enhances the productivity of their users. This holds remarkably true for the users who regularly make calls to their leads, contacts or accounts. Our plugin RT Telephony a Sugar and Twilio integration-allows you to make calls and send text messages from within Sugar’s record view.

For some time now, we had been curious. We wanted to calculate the exact time it saved for each Sugar user when making calls. Using the saved time data, we then calculated the return on investment for our clients who use the plugin.

…So we decided to run a little experiment

The experiment would be pretty simple. We were interested in calculating the time it takes for an ordinary Sugar user to make a call without the embedded click to call feature. We would then go on to calculate the time it takes for a call from within Sugar’s record view. The difference would clearly show how much time the user saves on each call.

With a stopwatch, we sat down and carried out the experiment.

This is what we found!

The steps involved in making a call to a contact in Sugar were the following:

  1. Going to the Contacts module
  2. Searching for the contact name (if it’s not on the immediate list view)
  3. Clicking on the contact to see the contact details
  4. Picking up the phone and dialing

The time it took to make a call?

30 seconds.

On average, completing all of the 4 steps to make the call took around 30 seconds, provided the users followed the exact steps and the phone system to dial from was readily available to them. Otherwise, the call would take much longer.

On the other hand, making a call with a click to call feature from within Sugar was pretty simple. It is just simply going into the record view of any lead, contact or account and clicking on the calling icon. This is shown in the screenshot below.

The whole process took around 15 seconds which meant on every single call, we were cutting the time down in half.Using this data, we now proceeded to calculate the ROI for our plugin.

Calculation of the return on investment

To calculate the ROI of this plugin, we first calculated the annual savings from the plugin and then used a simple formula to calculate the ROI. Calculating the annual savings involved these steps:

Step 1: Calculating the cost per minute of the Sugar user

Step 2: Calculating how long the operation takes

Step 3: Determining the repetitions

Step 4: Determining the operational costs

The calculation is shown in this Infographic:

A key part of ensuring an ROI is that the add-on you leverage with Sugar provide value. The integration with Twilio provides the necessary capability to help develop the 360 degree view of the customer as well as drive adoption within your organization. For example, the add-on has:

  • Instant pop up screen notifications when a lead or a contact calls you
  • Call recording inside Sugar and call forwarding
  • SMS functionality to leads, contacts or accounts (bulk SMS campaigning is also possible)
  • Interactive Voice Response including call routing and assigning extensions
  • Ability to take notes during a call and save them in the notes subpanel

The best thing about RT Telephony is that the price of the plugin is per instance which means there is no cap on the number of users who can use this plugin to make calls. The more users you have, the higher the ROI gets.

 

Bottom line:
If all the functionalities of the plugin are taken into account, then the ROI comes out to be much higher. According to our estimate, for the same variables, it would reach above $5,000. Apart from all the math, it improves the proficiency of the Sugar users, enhances their daily productivity and provides them with the CRM UX they love to work with.

 

We're Here to Help!

If you want to start your 30 day free trial of RT Telephony, you can contact us for a free consultation session.

Anyone who has ever been responsible for CRM implementation has faced the employees’ resistance. In this article, we will examine the reasons for such reaction, possible methods for their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM project budgets.

While analyzing dozens of projects on CRM implementation and business processes optimization where I was involved as a business consultant and project manager, the following clusters of reasons have been identified:

  1. Instinctive fear of changes
  2. Unwillingness to increase the “transparence” of their own work
  3. Inconvenience of use.

Let us examine each of them in more detail.

Instinctive Fear of Changes

It is quite common and less dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.
Viscerally, we treat all changes, the nature and consequence of which we do not understand, as a potential threat. This is a normal defensive reaction of human consciousness, which is intrinsic for most people.

As is known, conjectures give rise to fears, and lack of reliable information gives rise to conjectures. It is the lack of information on purposes and methods of CRM implementation as well as the impact of CRM on business as usual that causes such a protective reaction from employees.

These fears only exist at the initial stage, when the company is implementing or revamping CRM. New employees who come after implementation of changes will take CRM for granted, and they will take rules for working with it in good part.

In order to minimize this factor it is necessary from the moment of making a decision and throughout the CRM implementation project to give employees the answers to the following questions:

  • Which goals must be achieved throughout the project implementation?
  • What employees will change habitual methods of work and why?
  • How will these changes affect personal income of employees and career opportunities?
  • What tasks will be easier to solve compared to the current state?
  • What new methods of work should be mastered and by whom?
  • What will the training of new methods of work look like?
  • What will be the change in performance monitoring system?
  • Who will assist in adoption of new methods of work when the project is over?

It is also important to provide employees with the opportunity to express their concerns and fears as soon as possible. This communication enables the company management and the project manager not only to reduce resistance but also reveal hidden risks of the project which more often appear when the CRM system is up and running which makes risks elimination cost the highest possible.

Unwillingness to Increase the “Transparence” of Their Own Work

This is less common but the most dangerous reason for resistance when implementing CRM.

Everyone understands that working with CRM requires a user to enter a certain amount of data about:

  • Contacts and history of communication;
  • Plans and results of work;
  • Assessing chances of deals successfully closed and giving assessment to causes of unsuccessful closing of opportunities.

The system will also impartially monitor the presence, amount and quality of data pointing out to various faults and gaps. Actually, this data enables management to tackle three important challenges of:

  • Optimizing CRM and CEM processes;
  • Insuring company against risks of Customers’ information loss in case of change or quit of assigned employees;
  • Assessing without bias performance of different employees and finding the “weak link” that decreases organizational performance at large.

It is the understanding of the fact that the work is getting transparent makes some employees seek for methods to resist changes.

There exist two reasons, different in their nature, which explain why employees try to make their work as much non-transparent as possible:

  • Irreplaceability;
  • Looking busy.

Irreplaceability

It is difficult to find a chief executive officer who has not faced, at least once, the situation when a particularly valuable account manager or manager in sales, marketing, or service issues an ultimatum: “either this way or I’ll quit the company”.

It is this very point when you realize that the problem is not only in loss of expertise and experience, but in loss of a considerable amount of customer data as well. This is because of a simple reason that the Customer information (from contact details to information on needs and business peculiarities) is in possession of this manager and the chances to restore it without his good will are zero. There is also a high probability that the employee will leave for a competitor and use the information as a stepping-stone. Here CEO faces the choice: to agree on blackmail or proceed with painful measures.

Understanding that knowledge one possesses about the customer is a way to increase their own value on the labor market, managers in marketing, sales and customer service often aim at limiting and minimizing data disclosure about their customer, which is accumulated during their work. No wonder that such employees perceive CRM as a serious threat to be eliminated by all means.

Looking busy

In many large companies, there are experts who are always busy with preparation of “great projects”. They create some hustle and bustle and hectic rush at work of related business units, continuously attracting attention to themselves from CxO executives to underline the importance of their work. It can last for years. When it comes to explanation of poor performance results, they crank out with a heap of unexplained arguments like:

  • Late receiving of information that was known to a colleague or employee of another department;
  • Not timely receiving of specification from technical department or “technical department messed up everything”;
  • Customer did not know what he wanted and just messed around with manager’s head;
  • Lawyers didn’t prepare timely or wrongly prepared the agreement/worked on customer’s comments;
  • Marketing failed to provide materials on market research/ competitive battlecards in time;
  • Service didn’t take into account the recommendations on the level of attention to customers’ requests;
  • And so on and so forth.

It is quite often that this situation comes around to sales managers in companies having complicated and long sales cycles, where several units are engaged in presale.

It is evident that the employees who found a comfortable place where they can get a suitable monetary remuneration or other reward, not for any reason whatsoever will be willing to document their work so that the opportunity to assess true reasons of failure impartially and honestly can arise. That is why they will strive tooth and nail to undermine efforts on CRM implementation into their work.

Unfortunately, it is possible to fight with “irreplaceability” and “looking busy” only with administrative measures, and only if there is a rigid will of top-ranking executives. If you did not get such support at the earliest stages, investments in the CRM are under a great threat, and the project manager risks getting the stigma of a “loser”. After all, once you make an exception for one employee, as one by one the rest of the employees begin to think: “Why should I follow these rules?”

The main complexity lies in that such resistance is never open and bears the characteristics of a work-to-rule strike. You will never hear such statements as:

  • customer’s information only belongs to me and it’s my private asset which is in my power to share;
  • I don’t want and I won’t share my information;
  • I will not enter information to make it clear what, in fact, I am busy with.

Thus, arguments of the third cluster of reasons as “inconvenience” will be often used to cover underlying causes for resistance. Once we have considered them in more detail, we will come to understanding of what characteristics you can use to tell true inconveniencies from contrived ones.

Inconvenience of Use

The most common reason for the user’s resistance to implementation and use of CRM is related with inconvenience. However, the concept of convenience/inconvenience itself is subjective, and what is convenient for one person with certain skills and habits will be inconvenient for another person.

CRM represents the class of informational systems that should be used every day and throughout the day. In this situation, a good user adoption certainly plays a critical role. Among the main factors that lead to inconvenience and obstacles in using CRM in daily work, we can point out the following:

  • Changing of habitual working mode;
  • Need for manual input of primary data to ensure normal work;
  • Multiple input of the same data in different systems;
  • Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data;
  • Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office;
  • Lack of an effective system of notifications;
  • Lack of ready-to-use reporting;
  • Lack of skills.

Further, we will consider each factor in more detail, their causes, and possible methods of their elimination and impact of these methods on CRM implementation project budgets.

Changing of habitual working mode

Let us start with the simplest factor that is related to habits and can be eliminated over time by forming new habits.

As any informational system, CRM will be handy only if it contains data and this data should be qualitative. The need in input of qualitative data significantly changes the common work structure. Let us have a look at the statistics of time allocation for tasks on working with data before and after CRM implementation, which our company managed to accumulate while implementing of more than a hundred projects.

As you can see at this chart, CRM implementation significantly reduces costs on the data search and transformation, but increases fourfold the amount of work on data input, sometimes even more. The user cannot help noticing it. It is evident that, in general, time saving is up to 10-20%. There is just one small psychological “but”: while the data search and transformation seem useful work to an ordinary user, data input is seen useless and necessary evil.

As a consequence, at the final stage of the project implementation, the following statements are often heard: “It goes without saying that it got easier and faster to search and transform data. Nice business it’d be if we didn’t have it at all. However, the fact that we have to spend significantly more time on data input is unacceptable. Do whatever you want, but we are not going to work this way anymore.”

To put down such “rebellion”, the strong will of leadership is required, as in two months users will get used to the system and start getting a discernable effect of system’s functionality. For this to happen within these time limits, it is highly important to minimize the impact of the following factor.

Need for manual input of primary data for normal work

Try using search, data conversion or report generation functions in the information system, which does not contain any data yet. The system will certainly work correctly, but you will get nothing useful out of it and you will have to first find the data in the old way and enter it, having spent certain time on it. You cannot benefit from it until later.

If it keeps going this way for a few days, you can bear it, but if it keeps going for more than 4-5 weeks, even the most patient person cannot stand it. This person will look for a way not to use CRM, providing the arguments like “I don’t have time to enter old data” or “I don’t have this data and the other person has it.”

As a rule, this situation occurs when transfer of inherited data was not stipulated in the CRM implementation project budget.

Regardless the apparent simplicity, this work requires considerable efforts and big scope of painstaking work on checking and merging data received from numerous sources, as well as performing data reclassification to comply with new classification rules. The more far-reaching changes in CRM processes and the more numerous sources are, the higher labor intensity and complexity of this work are. This article can take a significant share and sometimes reach up to 15% in the CRM projects budget.

Multiple input of the same data in different systems

Now let’s imagine that after entering data in CRM you need to enter the same data into accounting system, service system and God knows to where else. Any sane man will not like this work.

The most frequent cause of this state of things lies in mistakes made at the stage of analyzing processes that underwent changes. Consequently, the required level of integration with other informational systems was not anticipated at the stage of CRM design.

Nevertheless, it is important to take into account that the deep integration of several informational systems represents a difficult engineering task and it is not always justified with the project economics. Therefore, to minimize the users’ resistance to using the system it is necessary to carry out an analysis of business processes at the early stage of the project and identify whether there are employees who will have to enter the same information into different systems due to their job description. In case different employees enter the data, it is more likely they will not experience any worsening; however, the error probability substantially increases. If one person enters the data, he will be dissatisfied with a new work procedure, and the error probability remains rather high.

If you decide not to integrate systems you can do cost estimation of faulty data input risks. If you risk bearing considerable financial losses because of faulty input, the question of convenience/inconvenience takes a back seat.

Need to use several sources for the search of necessary data

This factor by its nature is very close to the previous one. The biggest inconvenience is the need to visually compare received data aiming to identify discrepancies or restore the timeline. As a rule, this is also a consequence of incomplete or poor-quality analysis and design.

At the stage of analysis of users’ work, it is necessary to study the needs in using data, which is accumulated in several systems and is stored in different “folders” in CRM itself. If you discover tasks that require constant look-up in several data sources for their completion, you will face negative users’ response.

So how can you eliminate this negative impression and at the same time reduce budgets on CRM implementation project? You should not necessarily provide the physical data migration from one system to another. It is sufficient to provide the possibility to present information about important business events within CRM. An example of such solution for SugarCRM platform is TimeLine Viewer, specially designed to accumulate and view important business events of both CRM and other informational systems of the company.

Non-availability of necessary data when out of the office

You actively used CRM working in the office and got used to the right information available with a simple mouse click. Imagine the feeling when you need to go on a business trip to hold as many meetings as possible with your current and prospective customers, and you are told that you will not have any access to CRM and you will not be able to use all wealth that you and your colleagues accumulated working in the office. Anger and hard feelings are the best words to describe your state at that time. The phrase “what a bullshit system” will be the most inoffensive in your vocabulary.

It is the possibility to provide access in any place that has made the cloud-based CRM a de-facto standard. However, if for some reason you cannot use the cloud deployment option, you will have to take care not only of availability of your data but also of the protection against unauthorized access after providing access out of the secure local network.

Lack of an effective system of notifications

Forgetting is a natural feature of human memory. It is good to have an assistant who remembers everything and timely reminds regardless of whether you are close or far away from him. Computer on the contrary does not forget anything, but not necessarily reminds you about coming events that it discovered while scanning data. Lack of notifications on coming significant events in CRM creates great inconvenience to users’ and, quite often, leads to financial losses.

To eliminate effectively this negative factor, it is important to distinguish several types of notifications:

  • Notification to the user who “logged in” and works in the system
  • Notification to the user who did not log in to the system.

As a rule, the out-of-the-box functionality of the most CRM products includes notifications about activities (meetings, tasks, calls) and process events that are tied to the date and time and only for users that logged in to the system. Setting of other types of notifications requires additional customization, but invested time and funds will pay off in spades. The creation of an effective system to monitor and notify about events when they are coming can constitute from 7% to 15% of the budget for CRM adaptation.

It is important to consider that the value of notifications is not only in the very fact of reminding, but also in how informative and concise the message will be. It means that the system of notifications must be constantly improved as it is used by trying out the text, its formation based on the data from CRM and links to CRM objects for quick access. To simplify the solution of these tasks on SugarCRM platform, we designed a special tool called Logic Builder, which allows you to quickly and flexibly manage data processing logic and notification feeds.

Lack of ready-to-use reporting

Reports are the final stage of a data life cycle. It is in the reports where raw data is transformed in useful information for decision-making. Can you imagine your disappointment when you can find required data in the system, but you cannot compile it in the easy-to-study and analysis report with one click? It does not only irritate but also significantly reduces the CRM adoption. To avoid this, it is necessary to anticipate work on description and implementation of reporting in the project plan and budget.

Despite being deceptively simple, the presence of reporting configuring tools does not decrease the time spent on this work, as you have to try out many times not only the content, but also, which is more important, data view formats.

The second aspect worthy to note for minimizing inconvenience in work with reporting is the possibility to dig into numbers from the report. If for specification of suspicious or strange numbers that you detected in the report you need to close or print out this report so that you can start another report or, God forbid that, you need to call a programmer, your patience will run out after three-four such iterations.

The possibility of drill-down data depends on the technological tool used in designing CRM that can affect the project budget. In addition to the license cost, the project budget should include an article on configuring a set of reporting for different users. By experience, this article takes from 15% to 20% in the budget on the CRM adaptation to business specifics.

Lack of skills

Finally, let us consider the factor on our list that has a significant impact on user adoption. It is lack of knowledge of the functionality. You will agree that it does not matter what functionality CRM incorporates if users do not know it or cannot use it.

This situation frequently occurs in the companies, which decided to save on training with the hope that the user instructions supplied with CRM allow them to master the system on their own. A good rule of thumb is that only one person out of 10 reads the instruction, and the reason lies not in readers’ unwillingness to read, but in the fact that instructions to the software are designed aiming at description of software functionality, but not at description of techniques for effective performing of processes which users are used to. Bearing in mind that to ensure the process work you should involve 3-5 system functions that are described in different parts of documentation, it is quite natural that few people have enough time and patience to read the documents from soup to nuts, and some of these documents contain more than 200 pages.

If you want to use CRM as efficiently as possible during the whole life cycle, you should take care of including to the budget of an article not only on initial training but also on development of a high-quality training toolkit. The more users and higher staff turnover you have, the more attention you should pay to the quality of training toolkits.

It is reasonable for companies with 50 and more users to develop video tutorials, which will enable to significantly increase the utilization of CRM. The budget on training and tutorials’ development commonly takes from 7% to 12% of the budget on CRM and its adaptation to business specifics.

Would You Like To Know More?

If you are willing to know how to effectively solve issues related to CRM implementation and CRM systems, visit our blog integroscrm.com, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You know that one of the most frustrating experiences is when a company's customer-facing rep calls you–doesn't matter if they're from sales, customer support, or marketing–and they don't have a clue who you are. For us who work in the world of business know all too well that shooting in the dark rarely results in anything meaningful.

 

From the first touch with a prospect to the last phone calls to finalize a deal, ensuring that the customer experience is top-notch exponentially increases the chances of acquisition and retention. 

 

However, there are many hurdles that keep customer-facing reps from actually delivering thoughtful, personalized outreach and conversations despite knowing that it is crucial.

 

For teams using SugarCRM, integrating your system with all other customer databases and records you have will allow you to personalize, target, and tailor your conversations to get to your goals. Whether you're in sales, marketing, or customer support, customer-facing functions require an incisive view of the customer. This incisive view is only possible if you have all data unified and easy-to-access. 

 

Here are three ways integrating SugarCRM with your marketing automation tools, help desk databases, and other systems of record and points of contact allows you to win more.

 

  1. Updates customer records in real-time 

    Customer information, conversation details, and other pertinent particulars in the world of any customer-facing team are ever-changing. Entry fields on SugarCRM and other systems of record like your marketing automation tools and other databases need to be consolidated to give you a full customer view. Not having your data up to date will net you some losses. The time cost and opportunities lost because of outdated data can't be understated.
  2. Unlocks more opportunities

    Data powers you to not only bring the best out of the current customer stage. Especially in B2B sales, deals are long and complicated–they definitely don't end after the first call. Having access to all customer history and information from marketing, customer support, IT, and other departments gives you the edge in planning and forecasting your opportunities and unlocking more channels.
  3. Supercharges analytics

    Analytics is the oil that greases the wheels of business. When you're stuck or having a business issue, looking at the numbers and the dashboards allows managers and top-level execs to see the whole picture and build deeper insights to formulate a plan of action. Having information all in one place makes it easier to spot causations that permeate different areas of the business.

 

Most businesses these days still suffer from the "problem" of too many tools. You can't let go of them because they all serve their unique purposes. However, having data all over the place is throwing a wrench at your productivity and streamlining efforts.

 

Tenfold connects your phone system to SugarCRM and unifies it with all your other systems of record, allowing you to acquire, maintain, and create long-lasting customer relationships.

 

Interested in how Tenfold works with Sugar? Here's a video! Also, please check out the data sheet attached to this blog post to get more details on how Tenfold supercharges SugarCRM.

 

 

Click here to schedule a consult with one of our integration specialists.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a fantastic way to house all your customer data to best serve your clients. For the most efficient use of your CRM, you need your whole team to use the system. With a lot of your sales team in the field, having a CRM that is easily-accessible on mobile is key.

Companies may overlook the need for mobile-access, but it’s crucial for success. Years ago, the office setting was sitting at a desk. Employees had both their computer and their desk phone in arm’s reach at all times. But that is not the world we live in anymore. While the office computer is still important for some, an outside sales rep can conduct most of their business with just a tablet and a smartphone.

Consider how your team works when setting up your CRM. When a company doesn’t have a mobile version of their CRM, or if the mobile version they have isn’t very good, this creates two centers of gravity. For optimal success, you need your CRM to be the sole hub of your business.

It’s not enough for your CRM to be a part of your business, it needs to be the nucleus. Download our white paper to learn how to make it happen.

Increase your CRM user adoption rate by streamlining the process for team members. Don’t make your sales team take extra steps to input data into your system.  An employee in the field would have to juggle two completely different processes to accomplish tasks that should be simple. Ease their process by making it accessible in their most-used tools.

A mobile user should always have easy access to all the tools and resources they need to do their job. Establish a workflow that removes any stumbling blocks from the mobile experience, and include mobile interface optimization into the CRM implementation itself. Tools like text-to-speech and automatic call logging can also help to simplify and enhance the mobile experience.

You’ve seen it before: the red flags clogging up your CRM. The close dates that get pushed back—further, and further, and further.

 

The panic at quarter-end: your sales forecast is way off! You're going to miss your benchmarks! There are blocks in your pipeline and it feels too late to fix them.

 

What you’re dealing with is called deal slippage—and it’s one of the most taxing, and most solvable, drains on your sales pipeline.

 

What is deal slippage?

Deal slippage is exactly what it sounds like. You have a target close date for a deal that has gained some momentum, but then, uh-oh. The buyer's company hires a new CFO, a few emails go unanswered and a meeting needs to be scheduled and Voila! The deal slips into next quarter.

Lack of communication usually means the deal isn’t going to close anytime soon!

 

So you work to get back on track. However, there’s a question of security. IT needs to audit before things can move forward. The deal slips another month.

 

Then your contact takes a vacation. The deal slips. There’s something in the terms that the new CFO doesn’t like. The deal slips. Legal needs to approve. The deal slips.

 

Sometimes, your deal slips because of lagging communication. Your emails aren’t making it to the company’s key decision makers—or your communication has become totally one-way.

 

But month after month, quarter after quarter, the deal slips, until, just maybe, it gets dropped all together.

 

Why does deal slippage matter?

Meeting your sales benchmarks and effectively allocating your team’s resources is dependent on your sales pipeline. The plaque on your sales pipeline is deal slippage.

 

When deals get pushed back, month after month, your sales forecast gets murky. Expectations aren’t met. Team morale is hurt and your potential customers are unhappy.

 

That’s right. More than anything, deal slippage hurts relationships with your potential customers. When you set a target close date, you set an expectation. If your product or service does, in fact, provide value to the customer, the problem they're trying to solve or the opportunity they're trying to capitalize on remains while the deal stays open.

 

Making sure the deal closes on time requires strong sales leadership. It’s a key part of a customer-centric sales culture. It impacts your reputation and your overall sales effectiveness. Because if you push a deal back too far, and it might not close at all.

 

To help you, we’ve broken the battle against deal slippage into 3 phases and developed tips for you to follow in each phase—so you can close on time, keep your customers happy, and develop a sales forecast you can count on.

 

Phase 1: Learn

Ask Tough Questions

One of the biggest ways to combat deal slippage is to make sure the deal is closable in the first place. Before you even start to even think about your target close date, ask:

  • Is the buyer aware of our pricing structure? Have they been introduced to this early on?
  • Am I in touch with the key decision-makers? Does my point of contact have any clout in this deal closing?
  • Are the potential buyers familiar with our solution—or do they require a lot of education before they purchase?
  • What internal and external regulations, checks, reviews, and audits will this potential customer have to go through before the deal is done?
  • Which of our customer’s departments have a say in how and when this deal is closed?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to give the deal an accurate and attainable close date. And you’ll be able to outline milestones, contact the right people, track progress, and flag potential hold-ups.

 

Keep an Eye on the Calendar

It sounds obvious, but when you’re looking at a deadline 6 months away, it’s easy to miss a few common delays. Before you set a target close date, consider holidays and standard employee vacation time. Christmas and New Year’s Day are international holidays, which many of your points of contact will take off. When working internationally, factor in holidays in your customer’s home country.

 

Maybe the company you’re selling to takes a retreat in August. Or has all hands on deck for a conference in July. Maybe they’re budget for next year is due quarter 3. Or maybe you’re taking some time off yourself in February.

 

Either way, knowing the external factors that could hold your close date back is essential for setting that target close date in the first place.

 

Phase 2: Plan

Make Your Close Date Sacred

You should be adjusting your sales strategy to meet your target close date, not the other way around.

 

That means looking at the customer buyer process, identifying verifiable outcomes, and making sure those milestones are being met in time to close on your target date.

 

To break this down: verifiable outcomes are just steps the buyer has taken to confirm where they are in the buying process. They’ve presented your solution to the team or they’ve confirmed their budget with finance.

 

Once you have these, work backwards. And adjust your milestones and communication patterns—rather than your target close date.

 

Write Up a Give/Get List

Preparing a list of “gives” and “gets” helps you move through all those pesky particulars at the negotiating table. Take a few seconds to identify some agreements or concessions that you might need to make in the last stages of your sales cycle.

 

Are you willing to shorten the agreement terms? Cut back on some fees or restrictions? What value does each of these “gives” have—and what, of equal value, can you “get” in return? Come prepared with your “gives” and “gets” in mind, and you’re more likely to close the deal on time.

 

Sales Performance International has a great cheat sheet for outlining your Give/Get list, to get you started.  

 

Build a Strong Connection

Your customers are people. They are facing their own stresses and obstacles throughout the buying process. Genuine rapport is a key to pushing them past their internal hurdles.

 

When a new executive wants to look at competitors again or their company imposes one last bureaucratic step, potential customers will remember you. They will remember how you reacted at each touchpoint and how diligently you worked to overcome obstacles. Building trust throughout the entire sales process despite delays and last-minute hiccups will encourage loyalty. And that loyalty will help you make the deal on time.

 

Review your past deals and start to understand what communication patterns signal that a deal will close

 

 

 

Step 3: Accelerate

Remember: Time is Money

Think about the value the customer is losing every day they don’t buy. We’re talking about specific, big impact digits that are sure to light a fire.

 

This means first knowing the ROI your product will bring to your prospect—and making sure they know it too. Little concessions and agreements get turned around quickly when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line. And motivating your customer to act quickly is easy when they’re reminded: “As this deal slips—so does my bottom line.”

 

Chase Small Wins

Sometimes, it just takes getting your foot in the door. It’s easy to get hung up on an initial deal size—the five year contract, the enterprise pricing option.

 

Instead, make the smaller sale happen. Once your customer trusts you and starts to rely on your product, it’s easy to land-and-expand. And as you start to upsell, you’ll find fewer and fewer roadblocks between you and your loftier end goal.

 

Remember Their CTRAs

You’re not the only one with deadlines. Why does your customer need what you’re selling? For what? Take the time to learn about big CTRAs, or “compelling reasons to act.” Maybe they need your product for a new launch, a particular event, a conference, or a presentation. Maybe they’re relying on what you offer to meet their own monthly or quarterly metrics.

 

All of those events have deadlines. Reminding a potential customer of how your capabilities will help with their big milestones can keep a deal from slipping.

 

So what’s next?

You won’t find a CRM without the footprints of deal slippage, and you won’t find a sales team that isn’t frustrated by all the delays. But by spotting the deal slippage in your sales pipeline, you’ve already taken a big step towards meeting your benchmarks, clearing up your sales forecasts, and building loyal, lifelong relationships with new customers.

Spot the signs of deal slippage early

 

Luckily, Sugar users can use Collabspot Connect Pro to spot the signs of deal slippage early on so they can save the deal and update their pipeline accordingly. Contact the Collabspot sales team for a free trial.

Silo mentality has become a major problem in organizations across the globe. Today, the lines between sales and marketing teams have become blurred. Marketing teams are often tasked with converting new leads from social media interactions, emails and website visits into customers –  traditionally a sales role. Meanwhile, many sales reps are using these same vehicles to gain insight into a customer’s buying behavior – traditionally the marketer’s job. Organizations must do a better job at clearly defining the roles of sales and marketing, where marketing generates leads and sales closes them.

Software as a Barrier

Technology now serves as another reason for silos between sales and marketing teams. If sales reps are using a CRM platform to manage their customer relationships and marketing is using a marketing automation platform to manage their leads and these two systems aren’t sharing information, it’s a recipe for disaster. A disconnect between sales and marketing can lead to lost opportunities and lost revenue. Then sales and marketing teams are left pointing the finger at each other.

Better Together

Successful organizations need to utilize both CRM and marketing automation systems. However, these two systems must have the ability to share data. By connecting these two systems together, organizations can fully realize the value in each.  Marketing automation is worthless if salespeople aren’t closing deals from the leads provided.  Likewise, CRM is a useless prospecting tool if it is not being fed quality leads from marketing.

 

The Dynamic Duo

In many cases, you’ll find CRM and marketing automation platforms on the market that offer integration on a very basic level. Unfortunately, basic integration yields basic results. And world class sales organizations need to be much more than basic to compete in the current hyper-competitive landscape.

Marketing automation solution Act-On integrates deeply and seamlessly with Sugar CRM, providing a complete, closed-loop system for multi-channel lead generation, management, and revenue contribution. Act-On features a native, out-of-the-box integration with Sugar, allowing sales and marketing teams to set up automatic bi-directional synchronization between the two platforms.

Synergy at Work

This deep integration allows marketing to deliver highly qualified leads to the sales team, while allowing sales to access those leads and activity histories, personalizing their sales pitch to the individual, in real-time. This is powerful stuff. A sales rep that knows a prospects preferences, behaviors and activity history before the call, changes a cold call into a warm call, makes the call more satisfying for the prospect and has a better shot at making the sale.

Studies show that when both sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies become 67% better at closing deals. Therefore, an integration of the technologies used between sales and marketing teams are imperative to breaking down the information silos that exist between them, opening the door to realizing the ultimate goal of both teams – increased sales and revenue.

Download our white paper, “The Dynamic Duo: SugarCRM + Act-On Marketing Automation” for more information on how to tear down the silos between your sales and marketing departments.

Symptoms – are manifestations of the disease rather than the disease itself

What we see as an obstacle on the way to the goal, and what we want to fix with the CRM system implementation is often a consequence rather than a cause. Since we want to achieve results, we need to fight the cause of the negative phenomena. Take your time to carry out an in-depth analysis of your particular situation; it is necessary to find out the true obstacles to achieve your goals. You will be surprised how much energy and money you can save.

There is no universal cure

We understand that it does not happen in ordinary life, but when we choose a CRM system, we believe that this is possible, and we want to choose one system to solve all the tasks, rather than pick up a few systems that are suitable for every particular case.

Technologies help, but only people use them

Any CRM project is a mix of technologies and organizational measures. If you implement new or optimize existing processes, make sure that these processes have their owners, and executors, who are trained and motivated to perform their functions. Even if you implement fully automated processes, someone has to constantly analyze how well they meet requirements of the market.

The speed of change

The speed of change in business is growing every year, hence the level of uncertainty when making even the medium-term decisions is growing too. You cannot know what will happen, but you can prepare yourself for the changes. You can compensate the impact of uncertainty with the budget reserve because underfunded project is the worst that can happen: there is no money and the goals are not achieved. The more time the project takes, the greater the budget reserve should be.

For those who want to learn more, please, see the article with extended recommendations on how to choose a CRM system. If you need an individual advice – write here.

Oftentimes, there is no official process in place for generating and managing leads. If a process does exist, it's usually a combination of manual tasks and inefficient communications that put leads at risk of never closing. In this post, we’ll cover six questions to consider, determining whether your sales lead process is both efficient and effective.

  1. Do your sales and marketing teams communicate effectively? While they rely heavily on each other, many sales and marketing teams often operate within a silo. In fact, Forrester data shows that only 8% of B2B companies have tight marketing and sales alignment. The top reasons blamed for misalignment include long-term thinking by marketing vs. short-term thinking by sales, different goals and measurements, and not enough time.
  2. Are your sales and marketing technologies in sync? Not only do the people within sales and marketing teams often neglect to share information, but the technologies used by each team rarely share data in real time.  Activating bi-directional synchronization between your CRM software and marketing automation system will keep both marketing and sales teams updated on recent customer activity, allowing each team to adjust their strategies to any changes as they occur.
  3. Does your company experience lost leads? Is every lead provided by your marketing team contacted by sales? If not, your organization has likely missed some key opportunities. Gartner reports that up to 70% of sales leads are not properly leveraged or are completely ignored, thus wasting marketing program dollars. Leads often fall through the cracks or are passed on due to a lack of a closed-loop follow-up process, or because salespeople perceive them as difficult or unqualified.
  4. Are your processes and terminology clearly defined? Are both the sales and marketing teams on the same page regarding what a qualified lead looks like, as well as what to do once they identify one? According to CSO Insights, only 1 in 2 companies say sales and marketing have a formal definition of a qualified lead. This is the first step in getting these two teams into alignment.
  5. Is your marketing team scoring your leads? Does your marketing automation software provide the ability to assign a score to all leads? If not, you’re missing out on an opportunity to measure the level of interest of each lead, as well as update lead lifecycle stages, move leads to the CRM and trigger notifications using marketing automation workflows.
  6. Is the sales team qualifying your leads? Is your sales team taking the extra step to ensure that the leads provided by marketing meet your qualifying criteria? If not, create a set of qualification questions, such as current situation, product of interest, timeframe, key decision makers, etc. This saves both time and effort that would be put toward a prospect that is unlikely to become a paying customer.

B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year (IDC). On the other hand, SiriusDecisions reports that companies with aligned sales and marketing teams achieve up to 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability. Having a fully-baked sales lead process is the key to aligning these two departments for the good of the entire organization.  

Want to go from ‘half-baked’ to ‘fully-baked’? Download our white paper, “Your Sales Lead Process is Half-Baked. Learn a Better Way”.

Overview:

A lot of businesses struggle when it comes to getting the best ROI from their CRM implementations. The usual complaints include phrases like

  • We implemented ‘XYZ’ CRM and our Sales haven’t shot up”

  • “My users are spending a lot of time in manual data entry”

  • “Our users are still using the old methods/tools of Sales”

  • “I am spending a lot on CRM subscription and not sure why”

  • “Our CRM doesn’t seem to show exactly what’s happening”

Sounds familiar?

It is exactly why we have gathered these useful tips from industry experts including CRM Search’s Karen D. Schwartz and Christopher Bucholtz from CRM Buyer. Using these, you can not only pinpoint what is going wrong in your CRM strategy but also see what can make your CRM ROI shoot up exponentially

So first let’s see why you fail in getting the optimal ROI from your CRM investment. You should ideally avoid these practices when working to maximize your CRM ROI:

1. Infighting between Sales & Marketing CRM

Industry experts agree on one thing: data is going to be the decisive factor between successful and unsuccessful businesses in 2017. Data is valuable when it is used to qualify leads for the sales department and in showing which marketing campaigns lead to closed sales.

But these insights can be missed due to the age old infighting between the marketing and sales departments. If sales and marketing don’t work together the insights from the data become useless. So the first thing to do is to get both departments in a room to map out common goals, and to discuss how to use the data to achieve their individual goals. And it is always useful to have mutual goals for both the departments to encourage them working together.

2. Acting on your Data

One of the foremost features of any CRM application is to create reports from your business data. The right CRM application can present data in an almost effortless pre-formatted report. But this analysis will do you no good if it is ignored. What should you be doing then?

Take the time to not only read the reports, but also to understand and ‘ACT’ on them when needed. If your data could speak to you in your language it would tell you one thing for sure “Act on what I’m showing you”. Most companies don’t, the ones that do succeed.  

3. Building “Relationships” with Customers

CRMs are excellent tools to connect with your customers and build long-lasting relationships. The experts warn you against assuming that everything is fine and well just because you’re connecting with your customer with a CRM. Building relationships with your customers is an evolutionary process. Be aware that customers evolve and change and your business may need to evolve and adapt to their ever changing needs.

So then the question arises: what are you supposed to do in order to maximize the ROI from your CRM?

1.Choose a Cloud-Based CRM Solution

All major CRM companies offer cloud versions of their software. Why should you choose this software as a service (SaaS) model? This simply means that you no longer need to deal with things like servers, software issues, and new version upgrades.

Not only do you save expenditure on having an in house system and IT expert (which cost much more than the subscription cost) at your business but also get great efficiency on your CRM system.

2. Integrate with Applications that Provide Value

Integrating your CRM with other useful business and social applications cannot be stressed more.

Such applications can include Marketing Automation, Accounting Software, Email tools (Like Gmail) plus key social tools, which allow your company to follow people, information, and groups on social networks, and capture real-time data.  

3. Allow for Mobile Integration

It is not possible to have a business without someone handling the Sales. You need to make everything accessible on mobile devices for your salespeople so they can work on the go. They can review correspondence, manage contacts, and accounts even when outside the workplace.

These integrations should also ideally work with back-office systems, social networks, and web conferencing. This makes you fully covered to tackle any Sales and customer experience challenges that you may confront.

 

Key takeaway!

Time and again we all read about the importance of becoming customer-centric? Is that the key to becoming successful?

Yes! Just look at Apple. Despite its size it welcomes customer criticism with humility and ‘ACTS’ on it. On the other hand the businesses that struggle are the ones that either do not listen to what the customer is trying to tell them or if they listen they fail to act on it. This is where a good CRM comes. It lets you achieve these goals quickly, efficiently and seamlessly. But this happens only when you take notice of the best practices that I have outlined earlier. Focus on them and you are sure to see your Sales pipeline overloaded with happy customers; after all this is exactly how industry experts help companies get the best ROI from their CRMs.

 

We're Here to Help!

Our experts can help you implement the optimal CRM solution that will result in the best ROI? Contact us for a free consultation session and find out how you can get the full value out of your CRM!