5 Ways to Leverage CRM to its Full Potential

        A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system allows businesses to manage all of their data in one centralized location.

        However, it is more than just a software system – it is a business strategy that helps us to better understand customers, retain customers through personalized experiences, attract new customers, effectively cross-sell and upsell, and win new clients and contracts all leading to increased profitability (Source: Webopedia)

        CRM is a powerful tool that can significantly improve a company’s day-to-day operations. If implemented properly with clearly defined goals and objectives, it can have an immense impact on business efficiency. But oftentimes, we see organizations spend money on CRM projects without realizing the full benefits of the system or, even worse, fail completely.

        Here are five things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your investment:

        1. Get Users On Board

        User adoption is one of the main reasons CRM projects fail. There are many factors that contribute to poor user adoption but these two are most common – Insufficient training and support before and after implementation. Without appropriate education prior to and post implementation, users will not fully understand how the functionalities of the new system can benefit their work. If they aren’t properly trained on how to navigate through the system, they’ll be discouraged from using it especially during peak hours of the day leading to lost or untimely data input.

        • One way to break through this barrier is to identify a team member (that is enthusiastic about the CRM project) and assign them as the ambassador for CRM users to turn to for answers, tips, and additional help.
        • Top executives and management teams also need to set the example and use the CRM systems themselves. Adoption starts at the top and employees will better understand the importance of this change if they see their management team utilizing the system.
        • Don’t forget to get people excited about the change and thank users when they use it properly! Make sure everyone is informed as to why a CRM is necessary and how it benefits their work day.
        • After the system has been rolled out for some time, remind users of its importance by letting them know of how this change has been beneficial to the organization (i.e. increased customer satisfaction, decreased response time).

        2. Create Custom Reports and Dashboards

        Many CRMs have powerful reporting capabilities and can allow you to create custom dashboards with reports that are most important to you.

        • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, for example, allows CRM users to have multiple dashboards in the system giving you the ability to create a custom dashboard showing reports that are most important to you.
        • You can create charts, lists, and graphs and all the information is real time! You can easily track company progress, view your sales pipeline report, and see trends in real time so you know exactly what is going on at any time helping you to forecast more accurately.
        • Best of all, Dynamics CRM 2013’s user interface is intuitive, easy to use and easy to understand.

        3. Use Data for More Targeted Marketing Campaigns

        The longer you are in business, the more data your business receives and storing and leveraging all this relevant data grows more complex each day. Without a CRM system, it is almost impossible to sort through all this information.

        This vast amount of customer data in CRM systems are a gold mine for your marketing department. It can store information such as a customer’s purchase history, buying patterns, and preferences giving marketers a deeper understanding of each customer.

        • It can even hold personal information such as a customer’s birthday which helps marketers create more targeted marketing campaigns. For example, by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can create workflows to automatically send customers an email with a 20% off promotional offer on their birthday.
        • You can easily organize and segment leads, contacts, and customers to create a focused mailing list to make each email campaign more relevant to your audience.
        • Drip Marketing campaigns are also very useful in reminding current and potential customers of your business. A drip email campaign works by sending the first email out to a marketing list, waits a certain amount of time that you’ve set, and then sends the second email after a few days and so on. This can all be done within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 by using workflows or through one of their top-rated marketing solutions, ClickDimensions.

         4. Take Advantage of Mobile CRM Access

        Let’s face it – the modern customer is impatient and increasingly well informed. They demand fast and accurate information allowing them to make decisions faster than ever. In order to keep customers happy, organizations are continuously looking for ways to make transactions more convenient and easy for the customer.

        • By enabling sales representatives and other users to have mobile access to CRM while out of the office ensures that they have all the information they need while they are out in the field meeting potential customers.
        • It helps to create a culture that supports information sharing and collaboration. If a sales representative needs a document from another employee, they can quickly and easily send and share files on-the-go. They stay connected and productive wherever they are.

        Access to CRM on a tablet or smartphone allows you to be prepared for every appointment, update tasks, quickly enter customer data, add new contacts, accounts, opportunities and many more while they are still fresh in your mind. If you are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, all you need is a CRM for tablets or CRM for Phones application and you’ll be up and running!

        5. Integrate CRM with Email

        Integrating CRM with your email can make tracking important communication a breeze. It helps you easily store information within CRM without having to constantly go back and forth copying and pasting information. You can easily track emails, link them to records in CRM, and share valuable information with colleagues who do not have access to your email but have access to CRM.

        • This comes in handy when you are working on a deal or new business opportunity with a group. You can share emails and important communication you each have between your company and the client and will keep all members well informed.

        For a more detailed outline of how CRM and email integration can make your work day easier, check out this article about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and its seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook. One of the many benefits of using Dynamics CRM and Outlook is that the systems integrate so tightly that users don’t need to launch any additional applications to access CRM. They can do many things all within Outlook and since most people are already familiar with Outlook, it significantly lowers the learning curve of working with CRM.

        CRM is a powerful business system. If implemented properly and rolled out strategically, it can have significant benefits to any organization.

        Want more information about specific CRM features?

        Check out this article: 8 Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 That Can Improve Sales Productivity

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