CRM User Best Practices: Making the Most of Your CRM Software

crm strategy training May 14, 2020

We've put together a series of articles that will walk you through how to evaluate and setup your CRM. This is the second article in the series. If you missed the first article, then you can get started with your CRM evaluation. This second article includes valuable tips on CRM user best practices. The third article will cover recurring maintenance for the growth and scalability of your CRM.

     Small businesses usually deal with less bureaucracy than conglomerates, and this is often a good thing for process and productivity. However, it also means that the team can end up overwhelmed by trying to keep track of things that would normally be spread across several employees. The overwhelm can lead to lost sales and missed opportunities as the important clients get lost in the shuffle.

Here are 5 CRM User Best Practices for success

 

1. User Adoption and Processes 

    If you are the leader in your organization, then it is up to you to instill in the minds of your team that your CRM system is required to get the job done.  Getting buy-in from the entire team is vital for successful use of a CRM or any other business software. As a leader, you have the responsibility of cultivating good habits with your team of users.

Going back to the previous article (Step #4), the best way to make a mess of your CRM is by being inconsistent and not following the CRM processes created. Go back to the document with your processes and workflows (or create one if you haven't already). It is easy to overwhelm the team by asking them to change everything all at once, so the best way to approach this is by rolling out one to two processes at a time. Start with your top priorities. Perhaps this is simply the updated procedure of making phone calls through the CRM for automatic tracking or adding new opportunities into the CRM instead of the old spreadsheet.

 

2. Automate the Mundane

     According to Salesforce's State of Sales Report (2018), about 66% of a sales person's time is spent each week on administrative tasks that are not directly tied to selling.

From the processes that you previously created, identify the most mundane and tedious tasks that do not require manual work or human decision making. You can minimize costs and increase productivity using automation. The right automation enables a team to take advantage of a CRM platform’s capabilities. It also empowers the business to grow and improve customer engagement.

One common automation to use is to label leads who do not wish to receive emails. Automatically updating those leads means you can prevent time from being wasted on sending emails to unverified recipients who are not qualified.  This also avoids the negative result of potentially being reported as “Spam,” which damages email deliverability and open rates. 

 

3. CRM Reporting and Using Your Data

     Among the greatest benefits we get from a CRM is data collection and reporting. Why? Because there is so much we can learn about our customers, leads, and even our operations from reporting. But before getting excited about reports, there is a little preliminary work to do.

First, identify your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). What do you want to measure and why? A common sales KPI may be number of leads contacted each week, while a marketing KPI may be about email open rates. These are important benchmarks that serve the larger business goal of generating revenue for growth. 

Using your KPIs, prepare reports ahead of time for your team to use and reference on a regular basis. You may want to have an email go out every Friday with the latest reports so that everyone is on the same page; or create a homepage dashboard in your CRM that reflects the most up to date information. More important that getting the reports is using the data. Have a plan or strategy for how that data is applied to daily business practices and decision making. 

 

4. Gamification

     If you can make work more fun, then why not? A great way to lift a team’s competitive spirit is by gamifying your systems, especially your CRM software.  This can mean offering prizes to your team for best user adoption or increased sales opportunities.  On the simpler side, many systems such as Zoho CRM include a digital gamification through online badges.

This is a successful approach to reinforce any CRM training previously done. Delivering positive reinforcement like rewards or prizes can increase motivation and engagement among team members. 

 

5. Continual Training

      Last but not least is something that can be applied to all professional development in a company - continual training. If your company is conducting CRM training, then be sure that all training reflects your agreed-upon processes.

Going back to #1 User Adoption in this list, being inconsistent and not following the CRM processes can cause a mess. These are the things that require continual training and learning with the team.  Each time you have a CRM training, it creates a new opportunity for feedback, improvements in process, and learning from each other. 

 

CRM implementation in a company requires, above everything else, a strong plan and following user best practices. You might face challenges such as data integrity, automation decisions, manual data entry, user adoption, and more. Following CRM user best practices can significantly improve the usefulness of your CRM system.