There is absolutely no doubt that customer relationship management or CRM software has been revolutionary in marketing and sales, and a tremendous step for businesses all over the world. But a step ahead from what?
A Blast From the Past
Do you remember rolodexes? Yeah, that contraption that used to hold a central place on every person’s desk. What about bulky business card folders with paper notes stuck on them? And a marketer’s piles of ledgers with detailed handwritten notes about leads’ personal preferences, business relationships, etc?.
In today’s world of endless technological advancements the above mentioned are actually the predecessors of Customer Relationship Management (CMS) systems.
Generating quality leads has always been an art form – the art of good marketing, and the basis of every business. Because, let’s face it, no business – regardless of whether it is a small local entrepreneur or a multimillion corporation – can survive without its clients. And before clients become clients, they are leads.
Moreover, you need to convert and retain them so that they become loyal and returning ones. But in order to do so, they have to go through a few phases of the marketing funnel. The journey can easily end at the beginning, and the connection could grow cold if the persona is not approached and nurtured properly. But it can also lead to a sustainable partnership and be mutually beneficial. So your job is to make sure you don’t let the quality leads slip away.
Here are some ways how a CRM software can improve lead generation.
1. Enhances Collaboration and Information Exchange
This process is often managed collaboratively by marketing and sales teams, but sometimes more people can be involved. This means exchanging lots of information with different stakeholders. If not managed properly there can be miscommunication between departments. This could lead to losing potential customers as well as vital insights.
For example, qualified leads and warm leads should be approached before cold leads, because if given enough time they can lose interest and grow colder. Whereas, if approached at the right time and with a bit of more research, cold leads could flourish into contacts and opportunities.
2. Optimizes Data Collection and Storage
Thankfully, we live in an era of endless possibilities, lightning fast software development and cloud integrated solutions.
A modern CRM cloud system can help you generate potential leads, qualify, classify and organize them to achieve top-grade selling results and, in the long term, provide the most satisfying client experience. And a happy client is one who returns. CRM software not only gathers contact information, e-mail addresses, company names and general information. It can ‘go the extra mile’ and collect your potential lead’s social media public information and preferences, web presence overall review, detailed insights on interactions with your platform, and so much more.
In this way you can optimize your workflow management, save on manpower, time and effort and invest in providing better client communication and personalized experiences when reaching out to potential leads.
3. Provides Detailed Lead Profiles and Activity History
In a CRM system, all available lead information and profile data is gathered neatly in one place and available to all relevant departments. It provides a detailed history of every purchase, website click, price check, content interaction, every complaint and resolution. Basically you have easy access to every piece of data ever gathered on the lead.
Moreover, the best part is that the CRM software analyses it all for you. Real-time. All the time. The cloud is accessible 24/7 from any point and place with internet access and can be accessed simultaneously by multiple users.
This provides your business with more flexibility and the opportunity to connect with your clients, show a unique approach to every case, and offer personalized resolutions.
At the same time, the CRM software unravels a whole new world of creative opportunities for your sales and marketing people, who can now focus their attention on doing the actual work and making profits, rather than wasting time and energy in organizing and analysing data.
4. Saves Time and Identifies Actions
Over the years, the increased competition has led to a growing variety of CRM tools and applications, offering a wider selection of services and more ways to track and generate leads.
First of all, a CRM saves time. For example, marketing companies report that their employees spend roughly 8 hours per week working on leads, gathering and updating information. And the problem with hard copy information is that it gets outdated amazingly fast, which means even more hours spent on double-checking facts, addresses, and all sorts of data.
Your CRM software facilitates the quality leads your business needs and identifies which actions can help convert and retain them. Utilising this data in your strategy allows you to easily track leads throughout the sales process, ensuring you successfully reach your sales goals.
5. Helps You Nurture Quality Leads
With a modern day CRM software you can capture up-to-date lead information across multiple sources and channels. You even get access to some information that leads haven’t deliberately shared with you, like recent company activity and public information on their social media profiles.
Once you engage the lead, you can keep a record of every communication channel you use to reach them, and vice versa. All of this data is safely stored and displayed on the lead’s profile. The CRM can be set up to collect and show only the information you need and provides you a view of all your interactions with the lead.
6. Gives You Valuable Prospects Analysis
Usually, most CRM software products are equipped with analytic tools that provide detailed insights on leads. You have structured information on what sources work best for you, how your team is managing communication, how your leads’ interests are growing or declining over time. This can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.
With a consolidated overview of every prospect and client, a CRM system is then used to manage day-to-day customer activities, communication and interactions. From a marketing perspective, this means being capable of engaging your prospects with the right message, at the right time, through targeted digital marketing campaigns and achieving the best results possible.
7. High Return on Investment in the Long Term
You may think that investing in a CRM is pricey. And you will be both right and wrong. On one side, such a platform allows you to focus your attention on individual clients and provide a tailor made experience for each and every one of them. And in the long term, this proves to be worth every penny.
A commonly quoted Nucleus Research found that for every dollar spent on CRM, returns can reach $8.71. Meanwhile, the average Return on Investment (ROI) increases with the better development and cloud integration of CRM systems.
Nevertheless, calculating an accurate ROI for a CRM investment can be tricky business. For the CRM to serve its purpose and for your company to successfully use its unlimited potential, it has to be fully understood and accepted by your team, and that is easier said than done.
How to Implement a CRM in Your Organization?
Start with an open discussion. Let everyone speak their minds and share their thoughts on the new software, and be ready to give answers. Focus on the pros, but don’t skip potential setbacks. Let your team know that their opinion is valued. There are no wrong questions, and for this to work, everyone has to be on board.
People find it hard to change their work routine. Especially if they have been on the job for a while. Some employees might even question how valuable an asset they are now that a program is taking over some of their responsibilities. Foreseeing enough time for training is of vital importance. Your executives need to thoroughly understand how the software works and that it is there to reduce their workload, help them achieve more, and give them breathing space to focus on leads.
We all know that it’s one thing to have a grasp on the theory and a completely different thing to put it in motion. Give your team enough time to poke around the new CRM system, experiment, and explore. They should also be able to do this while the IT team has their backs.
The transition period should be exciting, not stressful, and the best way to move forward is when there is guidance. Starting an endeavour can be intimidating and a bit scary. Fear is normal, but it can be reduced quickly by having employees take their first steps with someone who knows what they’re doing by their side, this will build confidence, eliminate the mystery and reduce fear.
Endorse Creative Approach
Now that most of the administration is automated, your marketing and sales people can focus on nurturing their leads and exploring opportunities. Marketing specialists can use a CRM solution to manage and optimize campaigns and lead journeys with a data-driven approach. It allows them to better understand the pipeline of sales or prospects coming in, making forecasting simpler and more accurate. Sales people can now decide which is the right moment to contact the lead with the most suitable offer, and close more deals.
CRMs give you a clear outline of every opportunity or lead, and show you the right path from inquiries to sales.
To sum it up, CRM software is so much more than just a high-tech rolodex. It is the present and future of lead generation. It offers you endless possibilities to expand your business and improve the quality of your customer experience.