How many times has it happened?
Here’s an SaaS (Software as a Service) sales rep who spent a few weeks working with a customer on upgrading his account, only to have someone in customer service call and renew his service without the upgrade.
Or the marketing team who set a prospect up for an email nurturing campaign, only to discover the sales team was working with the prospect on a different product or service.
Then there’s the customer who receives an email invoice after asking (repeatedly) that invoices be mailed to her accounting department. For her, it’s like the company didn’t listen at all.
Suddenly, you’ve made a mess of your relationship with a customer. Your sales team is playing defense rather than working with the customer to grow the business. The problem is your business is flying blind when it comes to building a relationship with a customer. The problem is your CRM.
What is a CRM?
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software system that helps manage your contact with current and potential customers. The CRM is the storehouse of information about your customers and prospects — who they are, what they have told you and how you’ve interacted with them. All the data you collect on the customer, all the notes you take of the interaction and all of their historical records are in one, convenient location — the CRM.
What Makes a Powerful CRM?
Many CRMs on the market work like a customer database — a big bucket that sorts and groups information. You have a timeline of interaction, fields where you can put data about the company, and a place to copy emails and write notes on phone calls.
Sure, that’s convenient, but that’s not how sales works. Sales is about building relationships. Information is an important part of a relationship (ever go on a date and forget something important about your date — like their name?), but a powerful CRM, one that is not just solving problems for your business, but helping it grow, is about facilitating and growing the relationship.
That means you need more than a blank database. You need a way to synergize the efforts of your team. You need to not only look back at what you’ve done, but also plan ahead.
Benefits of a CRM
Every company is different, and more importantly, every sales and customer process is different. Even so, you can expect some baseline benefits with the software in place. These include:
Understanding your Customers
As you collect data on the customer and begin tracking customer interaction, you’ll start seeing the connections that may not be apparent at first. You know not only the “what” (the customer needs shipments on Tuesday) but also the “why” (their biggest customer always orders on Tuesday). Once you have a deeper understanding about your customer, you can start delivering more value. You can also see opportunities to grow your business.
The CRM can automate many tasks that take time and resources away from your team. For example, rather than taking notes on a call and then writing a call report, everything can be handled in the CRM. Depending on the software, you can automatically log emails and track correspondence and communication with customers. Looking for answers and information about a customer or an account is streamlined when you use a CRM. It eliminates the need for rework when you can see in moments the status of the relationship.
Better communication and easier access to information will improve collaboration. For example, no longer is the customer’s phone number on a scrap of paper buried on your desk. Using the CRM, customer information is available to the people who need it. Before a call, you can review past contact with the customer, getting up to speed in moments. Work can be shared across teams, including sales, marketing and customer service — with everyone working toward a shared purpose.
Improve the Experience
A CRM that’s facilitating the communication between you and your customer is improving the sales experience. Not only is the customer having a better experience with you and your business, but your employees are better able to sell. They can add more value to your customers, with the CRM doing much of the heavy lifting. Your team and the customer are finally on the same page, with the efforts of everyone in the company synergized.
Signs You Need a New CRM
The truth is, not every CRM is created equal. Many CRMs are designed for individual stages of the buying process. For example, one CRM may be built for closing sales, but it can leave customer service wanting more.
Now that you have a better idea of how your CRM can revitalize your sales efforts, let’s look at a few signs that it may be time to replace or upgrade your CRM.
Lack of Visibility
Many companies lack the big picture when it comes to customer or prospect interaction. The customer service team may have their own plan and their own data and information on the customer. Sales may have their own information, and marketing their own systems and data. In the end, no one is seeing the same thing.
The result is confusion and inefficiency even with the CRM in place. Often, the business is competing against itself. The customer journey is chaos … or worse.
Confusing Customer Experience
There are many signs that your CRM isn’t working for your business, but one of the most telling is a confusing (and frustrating) customer experience. The CRM needs to do more than just become a storehouse of customer information. It also needs to promote the customer and company relationship.
A CRM should also provide control over interaction, so you aren’t confusing the customer. It should provide lanes for the sales process and customer interaction, facilitating the relationship and buyer’s journey. A confused customer will quickly find a business that can better meet their needs.
Siloed Business Processes
Ever work for a business where the sales team works separately from customer service, and customer service has no idea what marketing does? Even individual marketing teams are working on their own projects. These are signs of siloing in your business processes. It is inefficient, frustrating and probably killing your business.
One of a CRM’s most important jobs is keeping all the sales and customer service activities aligned. It does this by breaking down the silos so teams can share information. The CRM provides the one source of customer and prospect truth. At a glance, someone in customer service can review sales activities, and marketing can see what material sales sent a prospect. You can set tasks for team members and communicate goals for an account and a customer.
With the CRM, your work is synchronized, and everyone is working more efficiently and effectively.
Putting It All Together: The CRM Experience
The CRM is really focused on building your relationship with the customer. It provides the tools you need to control and support the relationship. It should align the teams in your business so you can deliver a better customer experience.
GO2 Partners is a HubSpot Gold Partner, and we’re proud to work with the HubSpot CRM, a leader in relationship-based CRMs. While many CRMs work like a glorified spreadsheet, giving you space to store and group information, the HubSpot CRM focuses on the relationship — connecting the information to grow and build a relationship with the customer.
As the foundation of the HubSpot platform, the CRM is built for business growth. It comes already connected to Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub and CMS Hub. Despite the built-in integrations, you can use the CRM alone. When you’re ready, you can add the additional functionality, visibility and support you need from the HubSpot platform for better business growth.
To learn more, contact GO2 Partners today and speak with one of our team about how HubSpot CRM can empower your business. We’re here to help.