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CRM or Customer Relationship Management, is like fine wine.
It may start a little sour, but with the right blend of ingredients and patience, it can turn into something truly delightful.
As we all know, customer relationship management is all about building and maintaining positive connections with clients. This means that it's not just about making sales but also creating a strong bond.
But let's face it, not all of us are CRM sommeliers. That's why we're here to give you a crash course in the best practices in CRM.
This article shares why following best practices are recommended, provides a list of best practices in CRM, highlights the importance of data hygiene, showcases data migration best practices, and much more.
Before pouring the CRM sauce all over your customer's plate, remember, like with wine, you must let it breathe. Take your time with things, and most importantly, have fun with them.
So, grab a glass of your favorite drink, and let's dive into the world of CRM, where every interaction is a chance to make a lasting impression. Cheers!
What Are the Best Practices for CRM?
Managing customer relationships requires that businesses have a transparent CRM and sales strategy. With a CRM strategy, companies can concentrate on building and maintaining positive relationships with their clients. This involves using people, processes, or technology to manage interactions with prospects throughout the customer lifecycle.
Over 80% of online shoppers require the assistance of customer support representatives before completing a purchase. The importance of effective customer service is the primary reason so many companies are choosing to invest in CRM software.
Effective CRM requires a holistic approach that includes all aspects of an organization, including operations, customer service, marketing, and sales. Utilizing best practices in CRM, a business can increase sales, boost client retention, improve patron loyalty, and reduce costs.
Here are five best practices in CRM:
- Mine data - CRMs are developed to capture and organize large amounts of information. Businesses need to turn that data into something actionable to maintain its benefits. Choose a CRM with built-in analytical features which utilize advanced programming to mine all the captured data and use it to make intelligent business decisions or produce valuable conclusions.
- Focus on collaboration - Improving cooperative efforts is a significant benefit CRM has over traditional systems. Best practices in CRM can include making the same data accessible to various departments or organizations, such as external customers, distributors, vendors, technical support, sales, or marketing divisions.
- Rely on automation - CRM software takes care of many tasks associated with data entry or customer response. Users should take advantage of these features wherever possible. It not only frees staff from wasting valuable time on monotonous, repetitive tasks but also decreases the chances of human error.
- Set ground rules - Successful CRM implementation is as effective as a company lets it be. A best practice in CRM is ensuring the workforce utilizes all the software’s functions correctly. Creating a list of rules can help get everyone on the same page. For example, make it an organizational policy to process every new lead through the CRM without expectations.
- Educate Employees - Employees may run into trivial errors later without proper training and knowledge on how to use a CRM. Concentrate on helping staff understand the presented data and provide periodic retraining and test the workforce on what they have learned.
Being willing and flexible to adjust your customer relationship management policies is a necessary best practice in CRM. Using the effectiveness of day-to-day operations as a benchmark, company owners can determine if the software is performing to expectations or if areas could be improved.
CRM platforms are developed to get the most out of client connections; if utilized correctly, revenue can be maximized from those relationships.
3 CRM Industry Best Practices
Any business can use three set rules to ensure its pressed every bit of productivity and efficiency out of CRM implementation. These best practices in CRM provide the highest quality data while ensuring everyone on the team understands the various features and offers available.
Establish a Data Standard
Customer metrics and data should be the first goal after onboarding and implementation. It's vital to set data standards that are consistent across the organization. Each department has different kinds of data as well as metrics and KPIs.
However, CRM offers complete transparency to everyone in the business. Below are a few reasons to establish a data standard:
- Better decision-making
- Improved data quality
- Enhanced data security
- Increased efficiency
CRM software segments and retrieves the type of prospect information you want to use. For example, it can gather contact information from social media sites like LinkedIn. To personalize outreach content, sales and marketing teams may require information such as phone numbers, email addresses, or job roles.
Setting data standards early on can help startups and small businesses keep critical information intact so that when the organization scales, nothing is obscured.
Analytics is a feature offered by most CRM software. If that is not the case, integrations or extensions usually exist to add on and provide analytical functions.
Because large organizations deal with a massive influx of customers daily, tracking interaction data and spreading it among divisions is recommended. Everyone from sales representatives to the company's CEO can utilize CRM solutions to translate contrasting activities into something usable.
Reporting and analytics can be customized, meaning the software is taught what statistics are more important and when to display them. It could be how, where, or when prospective clients become qualified leads. Agents have a complete sales process overview, allowing them to identify any pain points, stoppages, or inefficiencies.
Utilizing analytics in CRM can provide several advantages, including:
- Predictive analysis
- Better customer experience
- Improved customer segmentation
- Greater ROI
- Enhanced decision-making
- Increased efficiency
Reports are excellent for determining the profitability of your business's marketing efforts and seeing how each sales employee performs.
Enterprise resource planning software can also use reporting and analytical tools to track production processes, supply chains, and inventory levels. This can help employees plan shipping and deliverables and further streamline production.
Lastly, CRM analytics from the correct software can help organization proprietors spot trends in the market. CRM software is the perfect tool for developing and researching new services, goods, and products.
Consider the Customer Experience
There are two primary reasons businesses use customer relationship management software: It's a tool to improve staff productivity and boost the level of customer satisfaction your clients receive.
Hence, multiple best practices in CRM must be adhered to.
There are a few methods of creating and improving customer experiences with the functionalities of a CRM. Self-service is a feature of CRM software offering features that allow contacts and clients to assist themselves without contacting an agent. Businesses can use the self-service portal to provide the customer with the following:
- Community support pages
- Searchable knowledge base
These client portal features allow the customer to do tasks, such as checking an order's status, searching for information on a product or service, and confirming the date of an upcoming sales meeting.
Why is this on the list of best practices in CRM?
Allowing clients to assist themselves limits the time your team spends on customer interactions. The purpose of a CRM is to free up employees' time so they can concentrate on more arduous activities.
Utilize the customer-centric side of a CRM system to keep your customers happy and staff productive.
CRM Implementation Best Practices
Customer relationship management systems are essential for modern businesses looking to improve customer interactions while streamlining sales and marketing processes. However, implementing a CRM system can be complex and time-consuming. Therefore, it's essential to follow best practices in CRM implementation to ensure a successful rollout.
Let's dive into the three best practices in CRM implementation.
Be Clear About Pain Points and Goals
The most critical best practice for CRM implementation is clearly defining and communicating goals and objectives to all stakeholders. This ensures everyone is on the same page and the final solution meets the organization's requirements. Companies can establish a roadmap for the project to keep all employees working towards the same end goal.
Before starting the CRM implementation process, it's crucial to determine the enterprise's specific requirements and how a CRM system can address those needs. This may involve identifying pain points in current operations or assessing the scalability and capabilities of different CRM platforms.
Once objectives and goals have been established, create a project charter of the implementations where you assign specific responsibilities to different team members and establish a timeline for the project.
Roll Out in Phases
Implementing a CRM solution is a fine art of balancing value, functionality, and time. Do it too quickly; users risk missing critical tasks or details and get overwhelmed. Take too long, and the system or project gets canceled because people lose interest.
It's essential to plan a CRM rollout in stages, ensuring all team members understand what is required of them before moving on to the next phase. The table below highlights the critical steps to rolling out a CRM.
Planning and Preparation
Conduct a thorough analysis of current processes and data, identify pain points, assess the capabilities of different CRM systems, define and communicate goals and objectives, create a project charter, and identify and involve key stakeholders
Selection and Procurement
Evaluate and compare other CRM systems, select the most suitable system, negotiate contract and pricing with vendors, coordinate and schedule the installation and setup of the system
Data Migration and Integration
Develop a data migration strategy, transfer customer data from existing systems, integrate the CRM system with other relevant systems, and test the system for data accuracy and completeness
Training and Adoption
Provide comprehensive training to all users, encourage adoption by highlighting the benefits, and establish regular training sessions or support
Rollout and Implementation
Test the system thoroughly, roll out the system in stages or pilot groups, monitor the system's performance and make adjustments as needed
Maintenance and Support
Have a dedicated team responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the CRM system, regularly update and maintain the data, have a plan in place for ongoing maintenance and support.
Rolling out a new CRM system can be a daunting experience, but following these best practices will ensure a successful implementation to get the most out of your implementation. Effective communication and a dedicated support team will ensure that all internal or external issues are addressed timeously.
Ensure the Platform Is Customizable
When it comes to finding the CRM solution ideal for your business, it takes thinking long-term and not only for what's required today. Consider how your company could scale in the next 12 months and decide if the software will be able to keep up with this growth.
Organization owners should ask themselves the following questions:
- What does it take to change an existing automation process?
- Can the layout of the interface be changed later if required?
- What is the process for automating something new?
The best option is to opt for a future-ready cloud-based CRM platform that integrates with other third-party vendors. Besides eliminating costly software installs on hundreds of devices or computers, a cloud-based CRM can easily grow with an organization as it expands geographically and in size.
CRM Data Hygiene Best Practices
Develop a Data Hygiene SOP
Ensuring consistent data entry is critical to a CRM system's long-term success. Establish clear procedures to accomplish this by:
- Putting someone in charge of cleaning the data
- Determining the tools they need to perform the task
- Choosing someone who will train new team members
- Deciding what criteria of unengaged contacts to remove from the database
- Establishing a data governance team responsible for data hygiene and management
Consider all the relevant components to include in this process and write them down and share this information with employees whose job duties involve data cleaning and preparing them for action.
Conduct a Data Audit
The process of identifying contacts is called a data audit. Take time to create a list of unengaged contacts, then segment them to find ones that come from unknown sources, are potential time wasters, or unsubscribes.
These contacts may be deleted, but people who last engaged with your content a while ago are reassessed. Gather insights into their profile through the CRM to find out what may re-engage them and drop them an email one last time.
Utilize Data Cleansing Tools
Manually deleting data is tedious and highly impractical. The potential for human error also increases significantly. Data cleaning software can remove invalid email addresses, identify common types, merge duplicate contacts, and even automate these procedures during specific periods.
When deciding on a data cleansing tool, look for one that offers data cleansing automation, bulk data formatting, and intelligent duplicate data detection.
While it is inevitable that insufficient data may enter into a CRM database, teams can minimize this by doing the following: Setting a data maintenance schedule and standards to maintain order and cleanliness.
With the option to outsource or automate data cleaning, it is easier to achieve results. Clean data is critical to successful marketing efforts.
CRM Tagging Best Practices
Utilize Tags to Organize CRM Data
Tags make it easy to find the required information by grouping and categorizing data. For instance, a business with multiple clients in various sectors can use tags to segment them by industry.
Customers related to a specific industry can be pulled up when required; tags can also be used for categorizing customers based on their locations or other criteria. Customer interactions can also be tracked with tags-for example, emails sent to prospects with keywords describing the message's information. Users can search through the emails later to find relevant clues or conversations that they can bring up with the client.
Finding the information required when tagging consistently makes data more accessible. It also ensures people across the organization utilize tags verbatim when they enter data into the CRM platform.
Using consistent formatting is an excellent best practices in CRM. For example, if customers are tagged by location, each country or state can be abbreviated with two letters. This makes data easy to search and keeps it organized.
It's also vital to view to determine the relevance of old tags. If a service or product has been added to the system, new tags may be required to reflect those adjustments.
Delete Unused Tags
Only using tags can make it easier to locate the required data on a cluttered CRM system. It slows the platform's performance as it takes up valuable storage space and may confuse the users.
To keep a CRM organized and running optimally, do a regular audit to determine which tags are no longer needed. This makes information more accessible and ensures that only relevant data is stored on the CRM.
CRM Data Migration Best Practices
Analyze Legacy Contacts
Preparing for migration requires evaluating legacy contacts and their associated data. Follow a strict data hygiene protocol that helps clean and streamline data while including input from stakeholders and primary users on errors, new contact information, and reviewing records for duplicates.
Determining how the information contained in contact records supports company goals is another area of focus. The table below shows a few specific data fields to consider, including:
Specific Data Fields
If the CRM system includes customer groups, do employees utilize them? Can industry fields segment them? Is it worth the effort to migrate these groups?
Are there repetitive grouping in fields of your legacy data? If the data is still relevant, take time to standardize the information. This process is time-consuming, but it's worth it.
This field contains all additional contact information or preferences, such as birthdays, favorite colors, and shipping notes. How valuable is this information? Should this data be migrated?
While some campaigns are created for short-lived organization goals, other custom fields have long-term value. Take this time to decide which content is important and which is not.
This process lets users locate content relevant to their data migration strategy. Documenting a complete list of fields is critical to implement new improvements in the CRM system.
Import with Care
Data migrations can be tricky, with a lot of unexpected things occurring. Starting small is a helpful way to determine if the data import will go smoothly. Begin with smaller subsets of CRM data to test the process and save yourself a ton of time during the clean-up.
Analyzing the legacy system's existing customer data is one of the first steps in adequately importing data. This helps identify potential data issues or inconsistencies that must be addressed before migration.
It's also recommended to keep the old CRM platform running in the interim. This is a precaution in case there is a requirement for legacy data to be omitted during the initial data migration.
Decide on a Data Migration Completion Date
Besides evaluating the various data fields for migrations, knowing if all data is relevant to the contact is crucial. Team members can provide valuable input in this process because they deal with the prospects the most.
Interaction history and stale contacts are vital factors to assess during this process.
Historical data poses various uses for different enterprises. However, any information older than five years may seem excessive or need to be revised. Cutting down on CRM bloat requires setting a cut-off date for adjusting contact details.
Email CRM Best Practices
Create Your Email Subscriber List
Building an email subscriber list is one of the many challenges when attempting CRM email marketing. Purchasing an email list may sound like a better plan; however, that is not the case. Getting emails marked as spam, low open rates, high bounce rates, and those email addresses becoming unsolicited is a reality.
The best practice in CRM is to identify and qualify leads organically by utilizing software or tools that retrieve data from social media and other sources. Segmenting email subscribers by geographic locations, interests, demographics, or other factors ensures the right recipient receives the most relevant content.
Once categorization is complete, the CRM email marketing software can automate messaging for target segments and personalized drip campaigns. Another critical factor here is cleaning the email list regularly to avoid inactive email addresses, skewed metrics, bouncing, and fake details.
Personalize Customer Emails
Email marketing can be a powerful tool for driving sales and building customer relationships.
Personalization is critical to effective email marketing. Using the recipient's name, location, and other relevant information in your emails can make them more relatable and increase engagement.
At the end of the mail, add a clear call to action to tell the recipient what they should do next, whether visiting a website-signing up for a free trial, or making a purchase.
Ensuring client or prospect emails are relevant and concise increases customers' chances of opening them.
A/B Test Emails
Success usually is not found during or after your first CRM email marketing campaign. The best practices in CRM suggest that marketers A/B test or split test their emails to determine which strategy works.
A/B testing gives users information about what version of content will succeed with what type of recipients. It allows you to develop two or more versions of the same email campaign, each unique from the other.
Best Practices in CRM - Final Thoughts
Like a fine wine, a successful CRM strategy takes time, patience, and a willingness to experiment to find the perfect balance.
By adhering to best practices such as segmentation, personalization, and testing, businesses can cultivate a loyal customer base that will raise a glass to their success. Remember, a CRM strategy is not a one-time process; it's an ongoing journey, so don't be afraid to try new things and keep evolving.
Ringy helps companies implement CRM best practices worldwide through its innovative user interface. The software's onboarding process is efficient, all customer data gets recorded in the system, and users can call directly from the platform.
It's the ideal solution for small to large organizations from financial services, law, insurance, higher education, and remote sales to keep track of customer and employee interactions.
Request a demo to see how Ringy changes how enterprises manage their customers.