Forgive me if this article is a bit simplistic, but the truth is that I have seen many clients entranced by the “bright shiny object” syndrome with CRMs. They are excited about everything they could do and forget how much money they are spending and the focus that is needed on the most important parts of their CRM that will make them money.

The money-making elements can be forgotten at all stages in the CRM journey – most frequently, getting distracted by exciting features when buying a product and getting software that doesn’t meet basic needs, or during implementation and focusing on the cool new thing and, again, not getting the basis working. All of this comes home when it is clear that no one can use the CRM software because it doesn’t do the basics or people use it in a way that doesn’t deliver a return.

When you break it down, there are only two ways that any software makes a business money: it can help grow revenue or make the business more efficient. In both cases, the software needs to be used with this intent!

Let’s break down each part and some common ways your CRM can make you money.

Growing revenue

This is often a big part of the goal of a CRM implementation: to better serve current and future customers and encourage them to buy more.

CRM software can support this goal in many ways. Here are some common general examples:

  • More effective lead capture and follow-up: A CRM can help you capture customer information earlier, whether it is only as a website visitor or through a customer sign-up. Once your CRM has identified a person, you can start helping them progress through their buying journey, automating emails and other communications that make relevant offers.
    • Expected outcomes: More leads captured; greater conversion proportions as customers receive more timely and relevant information to help them buy
  • Greater sales process support and follow-up: If your business has a multi-step sales process, your CRM can help you manage it effectively. Systematically tracking the steps your team take from initially identifying an interested customer through making proposals, following up on those proposals and closing out the deal can make sure that no deals are forgotten and give visibility to leaders in the business who can follow up and support the process in a targeted way. Also, understanding how the process plays out can help the team analyse the challenges and opportunities, for example, identifying how to avoid pitfalls or increase sales conversion speed internally and with customers.
    • Expected outcomes: Greater rates of conversion and greater speed of conversion, helping your sales team sell more quickly.
  • Increased customer satisfaction and retention: We have all had the experience of talking to an organisation that is not managing our information very well. You talk to a salesperson, and then someone else follows up and knows nothing about the proposal you discussed. Or you talk to a service representative, and they know absolutely nothing about the product you have bought, or even worse, the last five conversations you have had with their colleagues. By capturing our organisation’s interactions with customers – linking an email an individual sent, logging a proposal, or keeping notes from a phone call – we allow others in our organisation to continue the previous conversation with all the information at their fingertips. Our customers demand this, and if we don’t give it to them, they will go elsewhere!
    • Expected outcomes: Better communication supports greater conversion at every part of the sales process – from initial conversations through conversions and after the sale, with customer onboarding and support.
  • Better ongoing selling supported by customer information: this has so many variations! It could be Amazon presenting other relevant offers that you might like based on their massive database of customers and your specific history with them, B2B account management that can extract important insights from customer history, or simply managing the timeliness and frequency of email or in-person customer follow-up.
    • Expected outcomes: more revenue from existing customers – who are always your best source of revenue!

There are nuanced examples of fine-tuning these processes in specific industries and niches. If you are from a specific industry and would like examples, let me know!

Increased productivity

Growing sales is great, but it is hard work at every step, even with the support of CRM software. The low-hanging fruit is often automation and efficiency for your team’s jobs.

Many of the “revenue growth” ideas we discussed above are things that you can do manually. This is especially true if you have relatively small numbers of customers or transactions. As your business grows, you might find these activities are not scalable. For example, you might already be sending one or more emails to new customers to onboard them – how much easier and more efficient would it be to do that automatically? You wouldn’t risk missing someone or sending their emails late if your CRM automatically sends those emails at set times after the customer has made their purchase. And you won’t need to hire additional staff if your customer numbers double! There also comes a time when Outlook or Gmail will not send an email to all your customers, whereas the marketing systems can send emails to hundreds or thousands of people.

Similarly, you might handle the back end of your service calls by asking your staff to check information in multiple systems to serve customers effectively. Imagine the faster and more efficient service to your customers and how much easier it would be to train your service staff. And even better, imagine if the system had ways of making common answers to questions readily available to your staff and customers, perhaps even letting your customers find answers themselves.

Best of all, as a leader, your CRM should give you visibility over all these customer-facing activities so you can understand your team’s workload, volume, and impact. Then, you can understand exactly what is going on with customers and consider what needs to change. This might need good-quality reporting from your CRM, which might not happen immediately, but with clarity and focus, you can transform your business.

Are you wondering how to get the CRM you need? Are you concerned that your current CRM isn’t delivering this value? Reach out and ask for my help – make a booking for a free conversation.