How CRM Implementation Can Help You Sell Better, Sell More
By: Dan Johnson
Customer relationship management (CRM) provides a comprehensive store of customer data that can be used to improve the customer experience, increase sales, increase customer retention, and make customer relations more efficient.
Successful CRM implementation increases three things internally: Productivity, user adoption, and win rates. CRM use is generally broken into two basic categories – as a sales tool (helping the user be a better “hunter” to locate leads and contacts to successfully nab new business) and as a relationship management tool (a “farm horse” solution that enables the user to cultivate and grow relationships).
Truth be told, CRM is not the most effective “hunting” tool. It’s not designed as a lead-development solution, despite what some software providers might tell you. CRM really comes into play once a lead has been turned into a prospect and data begins to enter the system where it can be utilized to help turn that prospect into a customer.
But like any software system, CRM is only as good as the data it’s provided – “garbage in, garbage out.” It’s important to validate the customer’s data, make sure it’s usable, have a 360 degree view of the customer’s activities and profile, and an effective way to communicate with the customer.
Developing the “customer relationship” part of CRM
To ensure that your CRM implementation is effective it must start with getting answers to a few fundamental questions:
- Where do your customers come from?
- What are their traits, characteristics, and preferences?
- How do they prefer to communicate?
- If they’re prospects, what can you provide to turn them into customers?
- What do you need to improve your win rate (what tools and steps are necessary)?
- What’s next after you win?
Once you have that customer or prospect information in hand (assuming it’s all been entered correctly) you essentially have everything you need to increase productivity by interacting more efficiently and effectively with the customer. Current, valid customer data enables customer service reps to get to relevant data quickly, share appropriate information based on customer preferences and needs, and align it all with changing industry dynamics to keep the customer informed, happy, and loyal. That, in turn, increases win rates.
A truly effective CRM implementation is not just about streamlining the sales process. It’s about creating opportunities based on captured data. To do that requires significant user adoption – after all, nothing really good can come out of a CRM system unless the entire sales team puts relevant information into it. To support regular and robust use of the CRM system, emphasize the benefits to the rep, not just the tracking and accountability elements of the system. Equipping reps and the tools and data necessary for doing their jobs more efficiently and with better results drives user adoption, which increases productivity and win rates (see how they’re all related?).
Proper CRM implementation helps you:
- Manage customer accounts
- Manage the sales cycle
- Effectively engage the customer and manage contact
- Determine what’s healthy – and unhealthy – about customer relationships
- Improve customer experience and retention
CRM implementation certainly won’t cures all ills, but it will go a long way in helping reps focus on what’s important for the customer and that’s ultimately what’s important for your company.