By Jacob Martin

By now, most businesses have experienced the benefits of a CRM system–better customer relationships, enhanced marketing results, improved productivity across the organization, to name a few.

But for many companies, extracting the maximum value from their CRM solution is still challenging. Nearly 30% of all customer relationship management projects fail, according to a CIO report.

So why Rely of a CRM System?

From increased customer retention to marketing ROI and processes automation, CRM systems are proven to drive positive results; around 75% users say CRM software has improved their access to customer data, and reports indicate 47% of users feel CRM has a significant impact on customer retention and satisfaction.

CRMs probably have the biggest impact on Sales organizations. A LinkedIn study shows more than 80% of salespeople feel CRM is critical to closing deals.

Here are 10 tips that can help you maximize the success of your CRM initiative.

1. Ensure company-wide CRM adoption

For organizations with a customer-centric culture, CRM is integral to understanding and managing customer interactions. But the utility of a CRM system goes beyond sales and business development – it can prove an equally valuable asset for marketing, customer service, or finance teams.

Extending CRM tools beyond the sales team and accommodating the goals and requirements of different departments enables companies to improve their products and services in order to deliver superior customer satisfaction.

2. Integrate CRM with other business systems

Most companies rely on any number of software applications to support different business functions. While some CRM systems provide a complex – and sometimes customizable – set of features, the real value comes from integrating all the separate processes into a unified workflow.

Integrating your CRM with other business systems – such as marketing automation, accounting, inventory, management, or communication software – reduces complexity for teams that rely on multiple systems and can drive up usage of the CRM.   

3. Provide proper CRM training and onboarding

A good user interface doesn’t compensate for lack of proper CRM training.

Regular training and adequate onboarding for new users should be planned for in order to help users to understand how the tool works and what are the best practices that can help them get the most out of the system.

This can also be a great opportunity to get employee buy-in during the initial phase of CRM deployment in the organization.

4. Connect other data sources to your CRM

Very simply put, people will only use the CRM if they see value in it.

Many companies have piles of data from other sources like direct customer interactions, other systems, or from company activities and events – mostly stored in databases. Keeping such data scattered in different places makes it unusable for CRM users.

Integrating data from external sources is a great way to ensure CRM data is more complete and more accurate. A 360-degree view of each customer relationship is all the more a reason for employees to actively use the CRM.

5. Make CRM really easy to use

As with other applications, complexity can take its toll on adoption of the CRM.

Creating, updating, or simply searching information in the CRM can quickly become a frustration. Sales reps reportedly spend just under 18% of their time in CRM, with over half of that time spent trying to manage CRM tasks more effectively.

Ensuring CRM data is complete and accurate is one way to make the system easy to use and reduce wasted time and productivity.

6. Make CRM part of the routine

The more consistently CRM is used, the better the quality of your data will become. In return, instilling a sense of trust in the system will encourage users to rely more on CRM in their daily work.

When deploying CRM to different teams, take into account the goals, needs, and preferences of each user group. Make sure they feel comfortable with the system and be quick to address objections during onboarding.

7. Keep CRM data clean

Inaccurate, incomplete, or duplicate data is, to a certain extent, inevitable. However, if left unaddressed, bad data can have an impact on your bottom line – from basing decisions on the wrong data to high storage costs and a negative user perception of the CRM.

Regular data checks and clean-ups can help you to prevent long-term negative effects on your business.

8. Make sure CRM makes sense in current workflows

This can’t be stressed enough – CRM has to come in support of users’ daily activities. If CRM workflows don’t reflect the reality of how users work in their day to day, adoption of the system will drop.

CRM enables companies to use automation to take the tedium out of numerous tasks, such as setting up lead scoring rules, automating follow-ups, or keeping track of lead changes with notifications and alerts.

9. Plan for adequate CRM support

CRM success managers can help teams on their journey with the CRM, and they should be the first users of the system.

They can train others on how to use the system, make sure the right practices are in place, and address any issues and objections that may arise.

10. Adjust with insight-driven decisions

Ultimately, a CRM is meant to help make informed decisions. Alongside sales data reporting and data health assessments, CRM activity reports can also be leveraged to detect and address adoption and productivity issues early on.

In case standard reporting options don’t provide sufficient flexibility to address specific company needs, third parties solutions for advanced data analysis – like Tableau, PowerBI, or others – can be leveraged. This will help prevent a drop in the CRM efficiency in the long run.

As a conclusion

Though crucially important for an organization’s growth and customer retention, CRM initiatives can easily fail to produce the expected results. Implementing these best practices can help you improve the return on your CRM investment while strengthening your customer relations.

Jacob Martin is a data engineer at Skyvia – code-free cloud ETL platform for data integration, backup and management. The tool supports all major cloud apps and on premise data sources, including Salesforce, SQL Server, BigQuery, CSV files, etc. Being a product of a well-known Devart company, Skyvia already got more than 700 thankful customers and thousands of free users, and keeps growing. @SkyviaService

CRM stock photo by Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock