A study conducted by the CIO magazine in 2017 revealed that around one-third of all Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software projects fail. Technical complexity, data integrity issues, and budget constraints were the three biggest reasons held responsible for it.
CRM systems often fail to fulfill their purpose of increasing the revenue of the business. It’s because companies use them for inspection — improving data visibility, enhancing data sharing, forecasting sales trends, and monitoring. Instead of using CRM systems as a sales management software to better the sales process and improve the sales funnel, they use it as a business intelligence tool.
CRM systems are not limited to just the support service department any longer. They are breaking information silos and allowing different departments, including sales, management, finance, supply chain, to work as a cohesive unit. But the problem is how companies look at them. For example, marketing heads are happy that they can track conversations with customers and gain business intelligence. Similarly, sales heads are thrilled that they can measure their teams’ performance and obtain instant review reports.
But nobody takes into consideration the effect it has on the sales team? Does it help them to convert more leads into paying customers? Does it improve their customer approach strategy?
Research reveals that CRM software makes sales reps enter loads of information into the system for which they aren’t incentivized. Thus, over the years, the quality of information has deteriorated. The result? Inaccurate or incomplete information is forwarded to successive levels of management that lead to biased or wrong outcomes.
This article focuses on how you can refine your CRM strategy and increase your business revenue through correct CRM implementation.
- Never forget why you bought the CRM in the first place.
Recollect the reasons you had in your mind while deciding to implement a CRM system in your business. The following points will help you remember them:
- To find new customers
- To create customer segments
- To send targeted messages to your audience
- To gather critical information from different mediums including emails, calls, web forms, and social media
- To provide solutions to customer queries instantly
But as time passes, businesses usually forget the above-stated reasons. Instead of using the CRM system as a sales management software, they start using it as an administrative reporting tool.
Suppose you want to get the actual benefits of CRM. In that case, you will have to reiterate the above-stated reasons frequently to your business stakeholders, including vendors, suppliers, distributors, and all the business departments.
Only when the sales team recognizes the real importance of the CRM system will your business attain its full potential.
- Think about how the sales and the marketing department can integrate.
The squabbles between the sales and the marketing department are a hot topic across the corporate world. They seem to never come to terms with each other. If the business suffers a loss, they seem to blame each other rather than accept it as a mutual loss.
Marketing accuses sales of lacking the ability to gather business-critical information from the customer. In contrast, sales hold a grudge against marketing for creating mediocre strategies to convert leads into customers. This boils down to the common chicken-egg problem where it is not clear who is the initial troublemaker.
The only solution is collaboration. Both the sales and the marketing departments need to work as a team throughout the sales cycle. In the initial phase, they should play their respective roles to identify and qualify the leads correctly. Once they zero in on the correct audience to pursue, the lead to customer conversion ratio will rise dramatically. As the sales cycle progresses, they should develop a shared understanding of the ideal customer profile and delete those that sway away. In the final stages of the sales cycle, marketing should work with sales to prepare collaterals according to the client’s objectives.
Finally, both the teams should work together on win/loss analysis to see what worked and where they need to improve. This process strengthens collaboration and helps plan a mutual strategy for addressing future needs. A CRM system allows for such kind of integration. It enables marketers to formulate better strategies and sales reps to accelerate the sales cycle. Also, it provides standard metrics to measure the performance of both sales and marketing departments.
- Use it as a coaching tool rather than a performance measuring tool
Businesses need to understand that CRM systems are not a performance measurement tool. And this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the sales management. They will decide how the sales team uses CRM. If the team uses it to enter loads of data and keep a check on their activity — the number of calls made, the number of leads found, the prospect to customer conversion ratio — they will not be making good use of the software.
Instead, the sales managers should use it as a tool to coach their teams on how to improve their performance — such as sales call training, how to deliver a perfect pitch, and account, opportunity, and territory management. When the sales reps realize that the CRM system improves their ability to extract critical information in less time, understand what their customers want, and suggests ways to deliver better, they will use the software in the way it is intended to be used.
Remember that the CRM system is, after all, a bundle of software to help teams do more and do better. There is no doubt that they give managers the third eye of control over their team’s performance, but they can never replace humans. They simplify data sharing and allow teams to work together. But at the end of the day, your team decides how to bring value to clients. Keep these points in mind when you choose to implement the CRM system in your business and get ready to see your ROI going up.