Customer Engagement

Why your business needs CRM — and 4 ways it will boost your sales & marketing

CRM benefits button

As we navigate through the 2020s, all companies must look to technology for efficiency gains.

Why?

Because labor is expensive and not scalable while certain technologies provide increased efficiency AND better end results.

Having said that, not all technologies are appropriate for all businesses. 

You don’t have to have a large research and development budget and you don’t necessarily have to invest from the ground up on specialized software.

Regardless of the size of your company, there are effective, quick and low-cost ways to scale your business as the economy moves into recovery and growth phases of the business cycle. And it is! According to the ITR Trends Report, produced by ITR Economics, we are headed into (if not already in) recovery and growth. Is your business ready?

 

So where do you start?

The most important place to begin is to add a customer relationship management (CRM) software if you haven’t already. The benefit of CRM is it will better prepare you for the growth that we are about to experience in the second half of 2021.

CRM systems like HubSpot and Salesforce are straightforward and easy-to-adopt platforms that are made for all companies regardless of the size of your business. If you are to only invest in one area, sales and marketing automation should always be prioritized, and this starts with the CRM. (Most CRMs start by offering a free version which can grow into paid models depending on the complexity you are looking to include.)

Listed here are some benefits to adopting a CRM:

  • Nurturing prospective clients
  • Automating emails and creating automated customer workflows
  • Website contact forms
  • Adding a chatbot to your website for client interaction

By using software to do the above listed, a company can grow the business without having to hire more personnel. The increased revenue will then translate directly to a higher revenue per employee and profits. In 2020, companies that used a CRM saw an increase in revenue per salesperson by 41% (Finances Online Survey) and a boost in conversion rates by 300% (HubSpot, 2019).

Once you start — or if you already have one — consider some of their additional capabilities.

1. Nurture prospective clients with an automated system that takes the pressure off your sales team

Adopting a CRM will provide a way for the sales and marketing team to add contacts to a portal that will include recommended touch points with the client, notes and takeaways from conversations, upcoming meetings and future tasks.

CRMs also track a contact through the lifecycle stages from the top of the marketing funnel all the way through becoming a client at the end of the sales funnel. Along the way, you can set up automated emails and workflows to nurture the prospect into a warmer buying position without the necessity for a sales rep to make 20 calls.

One of my colleagues who oversees the organization’s sales team said, “I can’t believe all that we are able to accomplish with such a small sales and marketing team. I feel like we are a small business competing with the big companies.”

2. Automate emails and workflows to increase customer interaction

At the very least, workflows should be setup for nurturing processes and website integrations.

Workflows are meant to be used in many ways such as:

  • To move a client through the lifecycle stages
  • During product trials to help educate them on best practices and receive the most value from the trial
  • Reminders or additional resources for clients who have purchased your product
  • Added to free content once completing forms on your website
  • Automate how your website interacts with your CRM

The ideas can go on and on. The intent is to use workflows to increase customer interaction and touchpoints while decreasing the manual efforts of the sales team.

3. Integrate CRM with your website for streamlined prospect engagement

Up until now, using the CRM required no IT or development involvement, but you can take your CRM experience to the next level by integrating it with your website. This may or may not be able to be accomplished from your marketing team.

Integrations to consider can be as simplistic as ‘Contact Us’ forms (most likely done by your marketing team), adding contacts when they sign up for products (may require IT work), starting email workflows when purchasing a product (may require IT work), adding a chatbot (may require IT work), or automatically creating a deal in your CRM when a product is purchased on your website (may require IT work). Regardless of which you choose, even the IT work requires minimal involvement and would be considered a very small investment into the business.

  • ‘Contact Us’ forms should be added to all websites. CRMs will provide the code needed to be added to utilize their forms for increased automation vs. using the website’s template ‘Contact Us’ forms. (Most marketing teams can handle this and should be considered a quick win.)
  • Adding contacts to the CRM, adding them to distribution lists, and starting the nurturing process can all be done automatically now using these integrations and do not need any involvement from the sales or marketing teams.
  • Looking into a more complex integration is the deal creation. CRMs have connection points (APIs) that allow you the ability to create deals from the website, be dynamic with the deal creation, and fill out the deal forms in your CRM exactly how you need them to be completed.

4. Add ChatBots to your website to offer better customer support

What was once considered an annoyance and impersonal, chatbots are now the norm and should be adopted for any organization that has a website.

Smartphones have moved our culture into the “I want it now” mentality and this holds true for information gathering.

A recent survey by 99 Firms said that clients want answers within 10 minutes. When a prospective client (or current client) is on your website, they are looking for information and they have dedicated that exact moment to getting that information. Making sure you are providing it to them any way you can is paramount to increasing your conversion rates.

 

Although you may add what you perceive to be the most important, best explanation of content on your site, it is not fully encompassing, and prospects will ultimately need to reach out to get more information. It is your goal to add this touch point in the most convenient way possible. Email is a slow response and goes against the “I want it now” culture. Surprisingly enough, picking up the phone to call is growingly unpopular for fear of dealing with annoying automated phone systems or being connected with a pushy salesperson.

The same 99Firms poll shows that 79% of consumers prefer live chats. It will be the go-to communication platform in the 2020s.

In fact, 41% of customers expect to have a chat client on your website (99Firms). The first step is to add a chat client to your website via your CRM.

Customers are looking for a better experience that includes real time answers. As businesses, we want to reduce the salescycle time for potential prospects to clients. Both are accomplished with the integration of a CRM.

The best approach to gain the most ROI with this investment is to start with what can be done immediately and phase in the remaining ideas over time. Be agile with your approach to website integration. By adopting and integrating in an agile manner, your business will start to see the ROI faster. Use technology in effective, quick and low-cost ways so that you can scale your business and profits without having to increase the employee count.

It’s not too late to catch the recovery and growth. Start looking for a CRM solution that is right for you, or if you already have one, start finding ways to add its mind-blowing automated capabilities now. You’ll be happy you did when you are not only handling the increased activity but finding time to go seek out more.

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Avatar About the Author: Joseph Beaulieu

Joseph Beaulieu, CEO of eStrategic Technical Solutions, has over a decade of experience providing advice to both private and public sector businesses small and large. He has lead and architected mission critical pr…

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