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Partner Corner

4 Posts authored by: D'Andre Davis-Taylor

Some things are just better together. Customer relationship management (CRM) and customer support software make a great couple. They complement each other, make the other’s job easier and work together toward a common goal. A powerful CRM platform coupled with intuitive customer support software will take your customer service and your customer satisfaction to the next level.

A good CRM compiles all of your data in one place so that you can keep track of your existing and prospective customers while customer support software keeps track of customer issues, complaints and tickets. To make the most of this combination there are a few strategies you can implement to make things work more smoothly.

Here are a few CRM hacks that can make customer support software more efficient:

Data Sharing

The first thing you should do is to make sure that both platforms have access to the other's data. Set up a bi-directional link between the two so that each platform can pull data from the other. Better yet, integrate the two platforms so that everything is in one place and the entire company is working from one platform.

By combining them, customer support can use the customer profiles and data from your CRM to make their service better and sales can see each customer’s history of issues and service tickets to adjust their sales strategy accordingly.

Clean Data Entry

Make things easier for yourself by emphasizing clean data entry to all of your employees. This will ensure that your data is error-free and duplicate free. It then makes the cross-sharing of data between departments more accurate and efficient.

Make sure that every single team member is responsible for keeping their data clean instead of just handing it off to a lower level employee like an intern. This will help you to keep your data consistent and to reduce the probability of duplication.

For instance, if you have the same company entered in your database three different ways i.e. MasterSolve, MasterSolve Company and MasterSolve Inc, it will confuse. Imagine if your support team is then trying to help a MasterSolve customer and can’t figure out which company name is the correct one. No Bueno! Conversely, if you have the salesperson who has MasterSolve as a customer do all of their data entry, they will consistently enter the company’s name the same way, therefore reducing the possibility of duplicates.

Custom Fields

When making customer fields in your CRM keep your customer support team in mind. Make sure that they are properly labelled so that there is no confusion when helping customers. For example, a label named “Customer Size” may only have the field variables of “National” vs “International.” Then you may have a completely different label named “Employee Count” where you identify the number of employees at the company. You can see how this may become confusing, especially when dealing with customers who want a quick resolution.

Training

Never stop training! Training is essential to keep your team on board with any of your software platforms. It is especially essential if there are always new features being added and new updates to your software. However, when it comes to your CRM make sure that there is always a customer support voice in the room. They will able to vocalize what the support team needs and how each new feature and update will affect the support team to make them more or less efficient. They can advocate for a new feature or raise a red flag when they think it will cause problems for their team.

So, bring your CRM and customer support together today to form a strong partnership. Your CRM can not only ensure that your sales and marketing teams are on track but it will benefit your customer support team as well.

Although there are several factors that affect your overall email campaign performance, the basics start with design. Let's focus on the important design decisions that you need to make for each message to drive maximum results. There are three specific details that make a huge difference; we’ll cover them here:

HTML vs. text emails

HTML is perfect for a formal webinar or an event invite, but when you want to take a more personal approach, try a text version. Don't forget your email must be mobile responsive since so many people open emails while they're on the go.

Reply-to address

Something that is often overlooked is from whom an email is sent, and what the reply-to address is. Unless you're sending an email newsletter, it's best that you use someone's personal email address if you're sending out a standard email rather than a typical generic email or info@ email address.

Personalization

When you use an individual's actual personal email address, research has shown that people are twice as likely to open the email as opposed to a generic one - and if you're trying to drive meetings with sales, an email that appears as a personal outreach from the representative is definitely the way to go. Don’t forget that the “reply to” address must also be the representative.

Before you jump into sending your next email campaign make sure you’ve chosen the right format. While these tips may sound rudimentary, they’ll go a long way with your customers—remember, sometimes less is more!

For a video version of this blog post, click here.

In the past, marketing technology was looked at as a quick fix solution. However, a quick fix can never solve all of your problems and provide you with sustainable work solutions. Rather, a marketing solution will be much more successful if it is incorporated into the way you work.

This means that while marketing automation is a great tool that can do the heavy lifting, it is still your responsibility to incorporate a robust marketing strategy to inform your marketing automation. You want to nurture your customers through their buyer journey in order to provide them with exactly what they need when they need it and convert as many leads as possible to customers. So, when you invest in a marketing automation tool, be prepared to play the long game to maximize your results.

Here are eight tips that maximize your marketing efforts to ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing automation system:

1) Structured Marketing Campaigns

Make sure that your marketing campaigns are structured from the outset but don’t try to do everything at once. Start with the basics and build upon that over time as your audience expands. Even with just the basics, you should be seeing ROI in no time.

2) Optimize Everything

You need to optimize every single stage of your campaign. Think about your data, your processes, your messaging. If they are weak they won’t engage your audience and move them along the sales funnel - and they definitely won’t convert leads to customers. Optimization will insure that you always put your best foot forward.

3) Sales and Marketing Collaboration

Your sales and marketing teams should be working together. They should be collaborating on your messaging and content creation for customers as well as parameters for lead nurturing and scoring. This way, marketing will be able to send sales more qualified leads.

4) Marketing Guidelines

Make sure that you are following the established marketing guidelines. Research best practices for all marketing- related activities such as segmentation, form creation, CRM integration and compliance. Once you know what these guidelines are, train your staff to follow them so that you get the best possible results from the start.

5) Customize

You will want to customize your marketing efforts. The best marketing is customized to reflect the user based on comprehensive user personas. A great user persona will not only provide you with descriptors but also attributes and behaviors which you can use to guide your marketing efforts. This way you can make informed decisions rather than assuming.

6) Don’t Blame the Tech

When we don’t reach our expected levels of success we often look for someone or something to blame and often times our technology takes the brunt of this. However, the technology is not to blame; it's usually the marketer. But don’t be discouraged, it is likely that your team doesn’t have the knowledge to operate the tool effectively. To remedy this invest in some training to get your team back on track.

7) Business Case

When you invest in a new marketing automation software, create a business case to go with it, given that your company just spent quite a bit of money on this new piece of tech. In order to keep stakeholders happy the business case can illustrate the value of the platform and how it is accelerating your marketing efforts.

8) The Three A’s

The three A’s are; Adopt, Adapt and Achieve!

Adopt: Make sure the platform is being used to its fullest potential.

Adapt: Adapt the tool within reason. The technology is not as flexible as the people using it so adapt it for your needs.

Achieve: This flexibility will allow you to keep your marketing philosophy intact most of the time with the occasional compromise. As a result, you will be able to achieve your goals.

Marketing automation isn’t as complex as it seems. With the proper implementation and execution, you can look forward to sustainable success and a great ROI. If you are just starting out and you are struggling, don’t give up! Stay with it for a few months and invest in some training for your staff. The right implementation and execution make all the difference

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a topic of fascination of science fiction fans for many years, and it’s been typified in classic entertainment such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and even the Jetsons. As AI advances and as we explore its practical applications, fear of an impending “Matrix-like” future occupies the minds of many. People understand that AI has moved from an outlandish topic for nerds and science fiction enthusiasts to an approach employed by the few rich and powerful companies who can afford their own team of researchers and scientists. However, what many people fail to realize how accessible AI has become for companies. A small, or mid-sized growing business just looking for competitive advantage that will allow them to offer an improved customer experience, reduce costs, or even improve employee morale can take advantage of Ai today. Take a closer look and you may find that in reality, an intuitive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system enhanced with AI will give your employees just what they need and - you don’t need to be Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to achieve it!

Before the age of AI, many companies viewed CRMs as a technology used to store their data. But a modern CRM system can offer so much more, especially to businesses with high levels of customer engagement. Leveraging AI, a CRM can:

  • Help to inform prospective customers and direct them to the right team so they are quickly engaged and connected to the solution they seek
  • Optimize the user experience to cater to place the most frequently needed information at their fingertips during a live customer interaction
  • Help your people to determine the next best action for each customer "touch", based on intelligence gathered from thousands of past communications

AI through machine learning is capable of pulling data from traditional sources such as customer profiles, sales data etc. and non-traditional sources i.e. social media posts, emails, call center recordings. Based on data gathered by the system during each customer interaction, the system may be able to accurately anticipate the most relevant information and make it accessible in real-time. What would take a human hours to accomplish, AI makes possible in a few seconds. Your employees stay engaged with clients, focused on their needs and informed by the sum of all the intelligence gathered during the entirety of your organization’s interactions with them. It isn’t creepy. In fact, it brings refreshing continuity to the customer relationship historically crippled by impersonal communication and inefficiency.

AI in CRM continues to grow, with some looking to add voice technology to the software following the popularity of similar systems like Siri and Alexa. AI is also evolving to pull from more data points coming straight from the customer’s device, which will give your employees even more information.

However, AI is only as good as the data it can acquire. AI works by studying the patterns and behaviors that arise from data in order to cut down on manual processing time. As a result, if you don’t set it up with the best data, the AI can’t do its most efficient work. When your CRM’s AI has robust data sources, it can drive valuable insights and learning. You'll be able to process large amounts of this data quickly, becoming increasingly more sophisticated in your customer management. 

We are seeing different approaches to AI by different CRM providers; SugarCRM offers smart solutions such as Sugar Hint. Hint, using just the name and email address of a business or individual enriches your lead, contact, or account record with the latest news insights, address, phone, and a wealth of other helpful information. This insight eliminates the need for both research and data entry reducing several hours of work to just seconds. Instead, your employees can use that saved time to create productive relationships with customers and leads using the data provided.

Sugar doesn’t stop with Hint though. Built on robust cloud infrastructure, Sugar plays very nicely with “ready to run” AI-based web services everywhere.

Cool Ways We Are Using AI at MasterSolve

  • Sentiment Analysis - Sugar is able to interpret messages and notes and determine with amazing accuracy the sentiment of a communication. This allows us to run analytics and monitor customer satisfaction not just through surveys and customer loyalty, but now through the measurement of sentiment. This allows us to be much more responsive and in tune with customer needs.
  • Chat Bot - Customers and prospects can interact intelligently over webchat and gain helpful direction and get transferred to a live agent as needed. This improves responsiveness, reduces wait times, and improves employee morale by replacing eliminating redundant and repetitive interactions with more meaningful conversations handled by someone with the correct skillset.

AI in CRM is revolutionizing the way businesses make decisions and improving customer experience. It provides insights that enhance the way employees interact with customers. At MasterSolve, we believe that AI has made its move from C3PO to CRM. We suggest that when exploring your next CRM solution, consider how it might leverage AI to help your team focus on what they do best.

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