5 CRM Best Practices: Developing a concise strategy for your business

By: Jennifer Karpus-Romain, Intelestream

A customer relationship management (CRM) system can give your business both a look forward and backward, and be the centralized hub for customer information. While you understand the reasons you need to use CRM software, you may struggle with getting the most from the solution.

In truth, the technology is only as good as its users. Are you wondering how to get your team to utilize a CRM platform for your company?

Here are 5 best practice tips for CRM users:

1. Customize for your needs

CRM systems can have many bells and whistles. However, you do not want to make your employees’ process any more difficult. Take the time to learn what will help them.

For example, if you are a trucking company, you have contacts in various industries. A CRM system can help organize leads and accounts by industry or size or whichever category works best for you.

Or if you are a marine freight company, you may only have a finite number of companies you work with. You already know who the customers are in your marketable universe, so it does not make sense to qualify leads. You already know who potential customers are, so they are already qualified and is an opportunity.

Thus, you do not need a Leads module in your CRM because your data can go right to the system’s Accounts module. If your sales team is uploading information into the leads module, this creates extra, unnecessary steps.

Speak with your team about what they are interested in, what problems could be solved, etc. and then build from there.

Looking for more information about how CRM software can work for you? Check out our free Logistics eBook.

2. Define objectives and KPIs

Once you determine which facets of a CRM you want to use, you need to decide what goals you want to meet. Maybe you are most interested in growing qualified leads. Or you want to organize your customers by industry, have quicker access to order information, or want to discover where in the sales funnel people drop off.

Regardless of your top goals, it’s important to define them and create a strategy before you launch your CRM. Then, during implementation and beyond, check on those goals and see if you are achieving. If not, work with your CRM implementation partner to adjust your strategy to ensure you are getting the most from your software.

3. Manage expectations

Be realistic when you set personal goals for your team. How many leads would you like each team member to enter into the CRM? What data fields do you think are most important? Set your expectations so you can see where adjustments may need to be made.

4. Create buy in

Team members are not going to go full throttle into a new technology if senior leadership does not show passion for the system. Take the time to speak to your staff about why everyone needs to use the CRM and how using it is going to increase efficiencies.

The more active your team is with the set-up process and understanding their part in making your CRM a success, the better chance you have for them to actually use the system when it is in place.

5. Continue training

A common mistake is to only conduct training on the CRM system during implementation. A one-and-done training model leads to minimal effort from your team. It is not that they don’t want to use the CRM system, but when they start to use it and get stuck, they can feel too busy to take the time to figure out the issue and continue on. Instead, they may go back to the old way of doing things. However, with continued training, you will reinforce your message of using the CRM system and be available to troubleshoot issues.

Interested in learning more about CRM best practices?
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