Questions about CRM Best Practices? We’ve Got Answers

CRM best practices

October 22, 2019

Is Your Business Following CRM Best Practices?

The approach you take with customer relationship management (CRM) can drive the success of your business. Get CRM right and you’ll increase conversion rates, attract more potential clients, and empower your customer sales, support, and success staff to deliver the services your consumers want. 

If you want to make the most of your CRM, it’s important to understand the best practices and principles that will have the biggest impact on the customer experience. 

It just so happens that we know a thing or two about successful CRM, so here’s our guide to the questions you should be asking to optimize your processes.

Are You Measuring the Right Areas and Data in Your CRM?

Powerful CRM relies on having good data. That means having the right metrics in place to understand how your CRM is working, what leads to higher conversions, and what your potential customers are reacting to. Here are some example metrics that can enhance the way you understand customer data:

  • The number and percentage of leads that come from your various marketing and sales channels.
  • The frequency and types of interactions that your staff have with customers.
  • The staff that are most effective at driving customers through the CRM sales pipeline.
  • The number and percentage of leads that convert into paying customers.
  • How often customers choose particular plans or subscription lengths.
  • The number and percentage of customers that lapse and become part of your churn rate.

CRM metrics and measurements are something you’ll need to refine over time. It’s important to have access to good data so you can benchmark expected behaviors and see where customers diverge from those baselines. You’ll also need to ensure that you train CRM users on how to record information accurately, so you get high-quality data that can drive decision making.

Do You Split Test and Analyze Different Sales Approaches with Your CRM Tool?

Split testing, also known as A/B testing, is when you test two different approaches against each other to see what is most effective. Typically, you’ll change one element of an approach at a time, test it against the previous approach, and analyze its impact on CRM success. For example:

  • Is a phone call or email better at following up with a client?
  • Is a questioning or directed sales experience more likely to lead to further interest?
  • Does offering a product demonstration drive up lead generation?
  • What incentives and communications are most effective at engaging potential customers?

Asking these questions and analyzing the data they provide will help you identify the approaches that perform best. You should see this as part of a continual improvement program, where you refine CRM over time to optimize and streamline successful processes.

Are You Segmenting Potential Customers in the Right Way and Personalizing Your CRM Approaches?

Segmenting your customers is vital to building relationships with them. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to CRM or sales management. Rather, identifying customer characteristics and needs means you can tailor communications and interactions around their unique requirements. The segmentation you use will depend on the audiences in your primary markets.

For example: if your products are primarily for a business audience, you might segment by industry and sector, geographic location, the maturity of the business, how large the business is, their competitors, or other relevant factors.

If you primarily target individuals, you might segment by demographics, age, location, parental status, interests, or anything else that’s relevant to your products and services. 

But ideally, your customer segmentation should be driven by what the data you have on your customers and prospects is telling you, not based on your own or others preconceptions and biases.

Once you’ve segmented your audience, experiment with different ways of personalizing communications. See what resonates with each segment and helps them progress through your sales pipeline. That way, you can get the right analysis and split test your approach to optimize customer interactions and drive up conversions. 

Have You Thought About CRM from the Customer’s Perspective?

It’s very easy to be business-centric when it comes to your CRM processes. That’s why it’s worth stepping out of your business mindset and considering the CRM journey from your customer’s viewpoint.

  • What parts of the CRM journey are they likely to find frustrating, difficult, or cumbersome?
  • Is your CRM sales technique too pushy, or not direct enough?
  • Are there any parts of the CRM process that are likely to land well with customers?
  • Are you optimizing for a positive customer experience at every step?

Because you’re very close to your business, it’s often useful to get an outsider’s perspective. There are many businesses that specialize in being mystery shoppers who can provide extensive reporting and anecdotes on every part of the customer experience, including suggestions for how to improve it.

You might also want to approach customers that have been through the CRM process (whether you succeeded or failed in converting them) and ask what they did or did not like about the experience. It’s useful to provide incentives so they answer your questions honestly.

Are You Using Omni Channel Approaches to Engage with Customers in the Right Places?

Your customers are increasingly moving to social media and non-traditional channels, and you need to adapt your CRM strategy to keep up. You’ll also need to track interactions with the same customer across multiple platforms, with no break in the quality of service you provide. We suggest:

  • Monitoring social media and the web for any mentions of your business, brand, products, or services
  • Engaging with customers where they engage with you, through using a specialized social media outreach team
  • Being transparent and honest to build up trust in your brand
  • Tracking the success of your omni channel interactions so you can optimize communications

Are Your Customer Success and Service Teams an Integral Part of Your CRM Process?

Finally, you need to build customer success and customer service into your CRM, as they will help to dramatically improve your customer retention rates and reduce churn. Your customer success team helps your potential and existing customers get the most out of your products and services. They provide advice and resources that demonstrate the value of your business offerings using a proactive approach to remind customers of how useful your products are.

Your customer service team helps customers identify and resolve issues, and diagnose the underlying problem to prevent them from reoccurring.

  • Build regular customer success engagement and interactions into your CRM for every customer.
  • Develop useful customer success communications, resources, and media that celebrates the usefulness of your products and provides practical advice.
  • Follow-up after customer service incidents to ensure issues have been resolved to the client’s satisfaction.
  • Analyze customer service data to identify and resolve common root causes that create issues.

Have You Invested in CRM Best Practices?

If you want to optimize your customer relationship management approaches, you need to start now. 

Develop a CRM strategy based around best practices and start shifting your CRM priorities so you focus solidly on data and customer interactions. Provide training to your sales and success staff so they have the right attitude and skill set to enhance the customer experience. Track your successes and continue to streamline your CRM so it delivers for the customer, every time.

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