A customer relationship management (CRM) system like bpm’online or Infor CRM provides a single, central repository for critical contact and customer information. It enables quick and easy access to every aspect of your business and professional relationships – addresses, phone numbers, email, websites, social media, notes, correspondence, documents, to-do items, and scheduled activities.
The user interface presents a consolidated view of each contact, giving you an instant overview of the relationship and history of conversations, purchases, and service issues.
Working with isolated information silos isn’t just cumbersome – it jeopardizes the future of your business. When you use a CRM, you eliminate potential communication gaps and identify the fields of information you need to succeed in your daily work of serving prospects and customers.
Have clarity in identification of your ideal customer
Successful business owners and sales professionals know that what you focus on is what gets accomplished. Identify your target market’s demographics and psychographics and then drill down into those characteristics. They’re the businesses and people who value your products and services, are enjoyable to work with, and help your business remain profitable.
Each business needs a list of identifiable characteristics for their ideal customer account and business contact. You’ll find some characteristics in an out-of-the-box CRM; some will need to be added to the profile record.
Building a stronger, more connected relationship
In the business-to-business world, it starts with identifying the business/organization account profile – their website URL, main office address, office phone numbers, and account classifications. We recommend creating statuses for accounts, such as active or inactive (and for inactive, if it should be merged or purged). You also need account types – lead, prospect, customer, ex-customer, referral partner, vendor, etc. Ideally, each account type would have a subtlety for further refinements, such as which product or service the contact is interested in. Most CRMs also provide an industry classification you can modify to represent your range of customers.
To link an account back to people in your business, you’ll have a required field for the account manager with optional prompts for regional sales manager, customer service rep, etc.; if you have a team selling environment, it will help to link the team to each account. Finally, we recommend a short memo field for a quick summary of the contact.
If you’re selling to a larger account with subsidiaries, it’s helpful to relate the subsidiaries to a parent account.
The contact records of those business’s employees need to identify helpful characteristics of the person’s title, role, and department.
Ideally, you can easily identify the influencers, subject experts, vendors, and decision makers at the sales opportunity level.
Knowing contacts’ and their businesses’ connections/associations will help you find related relationships for points of connecting. Make sure your CRM system can track these connections by defining the relationship.
A picture is helpful to jog a salesperson’s memory.
Depending on your business model and target market, additional personalization fields are helpful, including spouse, college information, and ‘other interests.’ For a CPA client of ours, it was beneficial to know the high school the contact graduated from.
Communication, communication, communication…
When determining the best way to contact a person, knowing the preferred method of contact is required; we recommend a drop-down list with options such as phone, email, face-to-face, letter, unknown, etc.
Every person has multiple communication channels your CRM must track – phone numbers, emails, social media profiles, and ‘do not’ filters.
Larger businesses may have multiple locations, so the CRM must track different addresses as well.
If you sell to different time zones, you need a time zone field.
Marketing directly linked with sales
Marketing campaigns are the primary source of leads in a CRM, so the ability to identify which campaigns are generating leads is critical. By linking a new lead to the lead source (campaign), the business can leverage what’s working and cancel what’s not. When the salesperson indicates the lead source on a new opportunity along with updated contact/account profile, the feedback loop is complete. Marketing can better analyze the account and contact profile characteristics, compare results, and provide more of the ideal customer leads in the next campaign. Better quality leads decrease selling time and speed up the sales cycle, resulting in faster time to revenue, so if you put all your marketing efforts toward gathering that ideal 20%, you’ll do better year after year than if you go after everybody.
Example for identifying the lead source(s) for a contact:
A CRM that works the way you work – the need for an adaptable CRM
If there’s newly discovered information you need to capture, now is the time to add additional fields to your CRM. Make identifying ideal customer characteristics and building up the quality of your prospect, referral, and customer database a priority.
Choose a CRM system that’s adaptable so you can add new fields to a contact, account, opportunity, service case, communication activity, and the user interface; also useful is a feature that allows you to hide or remove unused fields.
A sales team that had input in the design and process development of a CRM will be more engaged and effective; gathering feedback from anyone a CRM directly affects is a critical success factor. They may want fields that indicate what a customer likes to be called (e.g., a nickname), their buying trends, and interests outside of work as well as the hiding or removal of unused prompts. Include a sales manager and salesperson on the piloting team, as early hands-on experience can make CRM a finely tuned engine. Even after the CRM system is rolled out, regular reviews will find areas that need enhancement.
Use the knowledge in your CRM for clarity and better decisions
Congratulations – you’ve captured the intelligent information you need to better understand those you serve – businesses and their people. You can make informed conversations more valuable with a CRM that expediates searching and filtering of information into logical, working lists.
An adaptable CRM allows you to create stronger relationships with customers and be more attractive to prospects – people expect excellent customer service, and a CRM that collects information and displays it clearly and efficiently enables you to offer that. In addition, it improves the quality of your leads with its ability to analyze information.
For more information about using a CRM for effective sales enablement, please see the resources below – and feel free to contact us!