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August 31, 2019

How to Make the Most of Your CRM Platform in 2019

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The right customer relationship management (CRM) platform is critical to your business performance — but it’s not enough just to have a good system in place. If you and your team aren’t familiar with all of its features or unsure of how to get the most out of it, you could be missing out on results that drive revenue and boost your overall operations.

Think of your CRM as a high-performance automobile: Unless you know how to drive it properly, all the horsepower in the world is just wasted energy. If you’ve invested in a high-powered vehicle, you owe it to yourself to learn how to handle it and let it take you where you want to go.

When used properly, CRMs are great for up-selling customers and analyzing your customers’ behaviors and buying patterns. CRMs have been shown to improve efficiency and boost close rates, but getting the most value out of your own means revisiting it from time to time and making sure that you are fully utilizing what it has to offer. Here are seven ways to get the most out of your CRM.

No. 1: Lead By Example

To make sure your team is reaping all the benefits of your CRM, you have to understand its capabilities and how the platform is being utilized. The more you know about your CRM and what it can do, the more you can help others on your team enjoy its benefits.

Knowing what it can (and can’t) do is the first step; familiarize yourself with what it has to offer and take advantage of any training that’s available to help you take a deeper dive into its features. The time investment is well worth it and can pay off with more efficient, streamlined operations.

No. 2: Talk to Your Team

As you learn what your CRM can do, share it with your team, and get their feedback on what works well for them as well as where they see need for improvement. Find out how they’re using it and let that become a sort of crowdsourced “CRM best practices” for your platform.

All too often, someone on a team might discover a feature or advantage but not think to share it with others. When everyone is on the same page and using all the features to their fullest, the entire company benefits.

No. 3: Keep it Up to Date

CRMs are an amazing tool, but they’re only as good as the information that’s given to them. Making it a priority to keep customer data updated will save time in the long run and lead to better results. Outdated information is a time suck for any salesperson; when the contact information changes, it takes time to track down the new information—time that could have been spent making a sale. Implementing practices to keep the information updated is one more way to keep your team operating at peak efficiency.

No. 4: Create Guidelines for Consistency

Implementing standard procedures not only ensures that everyone is using the available features to their fullest, but also that they’re on the same page when it comes to gathering information. When everyone is entering the same type of data and details, you are creating a more complete and effective database.

Conducting occasional, routine data checks to ensure that everyone is using the same data standardization practices will help you keep data collection on track.

No. 5: Integrate Social Media

One feature that is sometimes overlooked in CRM systems is their ability to integrate with social media platforms. Social media is an accessible and effective way to keep in touch with your customers and also can yield greater insights into their interests and buying habits.

Known as social CRM, it’s an excellent way for different departments to access a wealth of information, whether they’re in customer service, marketing or sales. This can be especially useful for your social media or digital marketing firm.

No. 6: Use What You Gather

The abundance of valuable information generated through your CRM will only benefit you if you use it properly. Using the data collected on current and prospective customers will inform your marketing campaigns, email campaigns and more.

That information allows you to see which campaigns were most successful and lets you utilize the best-performing methods to reach new contacts. In short, it removes a lot of the guesswork and gives you the ability to use what’s working while getting rid of what isn’t.

No. 7: Stay Current on Features and Training

When new employees join the team, it’s sometimes easy to just provide them with the basics and overlook educating them about the many different features that are at their fingertips. Make CRM training a critical a part of company onboarding as any other type of training.

Additionally, stay informed about any updates or features added to the CRM platform so that everyone on your team or marketing agency can receive training. Make training a priority for every individual who is using the platform; the more everyone understands it, the greater benefits it can provide to employees and customers alike.

Put Your CRM to Work for You

When teams take full advantage of their CRMs, it can boost productivity, help them work more efficiently as a team and can even lead to an increase in their sales. Your CRM can also help you automate your sales sequences and improve your sales enablement efforts.

Today, there are a number of different CRMs to choose from, including HubSpot and Salesforce; each has features, benefits and drawbacks that need to be considered before choosing or switching to one. But as you learn how to truly put your CRM to work for your business and leverage all its functionality, you might be surprised to see how it can improve your overall operations.

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Paula Felps
About Paula Felps

Paula Felps is a staff writer and editor with madison/miles media who has written for a variety of print and digital publications. She is the author of multiple books and is owned by a 17-pound Boston terrier named Archie.

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