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How many times a day do you look for missing contact information for a particular customer or have to check with other members of your sales staff to see if certain tasks have been performed on schedule? How much time do you spend in sales meetings where the main topic of conversation is where customers are in the sales funnel, who has been talking with which contact, and what was said during the customer interaction? You need access to this information, but these time-sucking activities can derail your ability to actively sell your product or service.

The trick is to find ways to work smarter, manage your time wisely, and get more done each day. With CRM software, you can make that happen. How can you leverage the tools that CRM offers to make you a lean, mean selling machine and still get you home in time for dinner?

The First Rule of CRM Software Use

The key to success with CRM software lies in its original implementation and in its continued, structured use. If your CRM is going to work, it must be comprehensive. This means that:

  • your entire customer contact database must be included in your CRM implementation, and
  • everyone in your organization must be working with the software from the moment of implementation forward.

De-cluttering the Data

With CRM software, you can eliminate any old methods of logging customer information and profiles into antiquated spread sheets  maintained in separate departments. At implementation, it is a good idea to take the opportunity to clean up your contact data as much as possible so that you can start with a solid CRM database. A CRM solution instantly saves valuable time by providing a centralized location for customer contact information accessible to all your employees with the proper permissions, regardless of the department in which they work. This streamlines your business processes across your entire enterprise.

Think for a moment about how this works in practical terms. Suppose one of your sales team members has a conversation with customer X, and that customer mentions that his email address has changed. With CRM software, your sales team member can quickly access the contact information and update the email address. Instantly, this corrected information is accessible to your entire enterprise without the need for your sales team member to send out a memo or email to any other department. It is easy to see how this will save time for everyone working with your CRM solution.

More than Just a Static Database

However, to truly take advantage of CRM software’s capability, you must look at it as something more than just a glorified database. Because CRM can automate processes such as invoicing or the creation of quotes, it helps to ensure that there is no delay in handling the issues that arise in those areas. CRM greatly reduces the possibility of an invoice that never gets sent, or a quote that never materializes. Think of the time that can be saved by automating this process and reducing the chaos of interdepartmental communications.

In your organization right now, what happens if you lose a sales person? Is there a certain amount of scrambling that goes on to bring other sales team members up to speed on what is happening with the clients of the missing team member? Because CRM software provides a central repository of information about all customer interactions, it is easy to see where a customer is in the sales funnel at any given time. This results in quicker recovery time for your sales staff if a team member is lost, as well as improved quality for all customer interactions.

Task and Workflow Management Alerts

With an integrated Task and Workflow Management component, a CRM solution can greatly increase the efficiency of your sales staff. For instance, you can configure your CRM software to send a message to your sales staff to follow up with a customer who performs a certain pre-determined action. For example, if a customer’s anniversary is coming up, an alert can be sent to the appropriate sales team member to check with the customer to say “Happy Anniversary” and ask if additional products or services are needed. Another trigger-point may be when a customer interacts with your website. An alert may be directed to the appropriate sales person to follow up on that customer’s interest within a specified time frame. Having this type of alert system keeps your sales staff focused, and reduces the likelihood that potential customers will fall through the proverbial cracks in the system.

Slaying the Largest Dragon-Apathy

However, while these benefits of CRM software are great time savers, perhaps the most time-effective solution CRM software provides is its use in planning targeted marketing campaigns. CRM enables your marketing team to work smarter. This saves time for marketing and sales. Why is this the case?

Sometimes a small business struggles with keeping its sales force motivated to keep selling day after day. Often, apathy can set in, draining the motivation of your staff and slowing down their forward momentum. CRM software contains analytic tools that help you dissect your customer base for segmented marketing campaigns. Targeted marketing campaigns lead to more qualified leads. Providing qualified leads to your sales staff keeps their juices flowing and their enthusiasm high. And highly motivated sales people work faster and with better results.

Focusing your marketing efforts through the tools provided in your CRM software saves times, creates more qualified leads, and makes your sales department a beehive of activity. 

How It All Fits Together

By providing a centralized repository for all your customer information, CRM software irons out the kinks in interdepartmental communication, keeps your entire enterprise on the same page, and fills in any gaps in communication with your customers. Additionally, with the analytic tools available with CRM software, your marketing department can create targeted campaigns to deliver more qualified leads to your sales staff, reducing the amount of time spent on non-productive sales contacts.

If you would welcome a demonstration of how CRM software can save you time, energy, and money, please contact us for a 30-day free trial today.

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