"CRM isn't rocket science but it can make you a competitive superstar."
Any of the CRM systems on the market house data, provide dashboards for quick review on performance and a way to manage contacts and processes.
Each is designed with the user in mind and in an effort to create the most streamlined, frictionless system to make it easy to enter, find, manage and report on any data entered.
Is that your experience?
Most people - whether new to their marketing/sales role or experienced and want to organize their work flow - approach a CRM with good intentions and a positive mindset.
The problem is they approach it with unrealistic expectations and no plan. A recipe for disaster.
In fact, according to research from IBM, bad data costs U.S. businesses $3 trillion per year. The number challenge to CRM adoption? Manual data entry. Of the sales reps using a CRM system, 32% spend more than an hour each day on manual data entry.
How can a company find the best CRM system for their needs, budget and resources? Research. Every business leader needs to research the options and consider which one not only works best today but which one will grow with the business as the business evolves.
Here's a list of 8 things to consider when choosing a CRM vendor.
The one CRM system that I recommend to entrepreneurs and small business leaders who don't have experience with a CRM is Hubspot. It's easy to use, aligns marketing, sales and customer service together in one platform that sets you up from the start for a a streamlined process.
There are also many free, valuable and helpful tools that create efficiencies that don't impact your budget.
Hubspot** offers a forever free version (yes, forever!) so you can get the experience of a CRM before investing in one system and possibly wasting money. Try it for free and if it works, upgrade to the plan that works best with your needs.
Why consider a CRM?
A CRM helps organize all your marketing, sales and service data into one place which makes it easier to find information, streamline processes and access prospect and customer data all in one place.
Data types needed for an efficient and valuable CRM system:
Identity data - personal information including name, address, location birthdate, account information with your company, email, phone number, social media profile info rmation
Descriptive data - lifestyle type information such as company name, title, years at the company, team size, education, certificates, previous employers, car and home status and general information
Quantitative data - number of purchases with your company, average order value, sources they used to become a customer, how often they engage with the company, service tickets including issues and resolution, turnaround time
Qualitative data - survey type data related to the customer's buying habits, motivations and behaviors such as how satisfied they are with their purchase, satisfaction with sales person and company, why they chose to buy from you, how is the value for the price
When you know how you will use a CRM, what you need to be successful and the benefits to your bottom line, the research is more in-depth to find the best solution and the options to try a system before a long term commitment become increasingly important.
Before you commit to any decision, here are the top 6 benefits of using any CRM which should supplement your other research as well.
The top 6 benefits of using a CRM*:
Lead intelligence - More detailed information on each lead in order to better communicate, market and convert each one. CRM can boost conversion rates 300%
Alignment between marketing and sales - Leveraging the same system to enter and track data creates better alignment and creating expectations between marketing and sales teams. Using a CRM system can boost sales 29%, productivity by 34% and forecast accuracy by 42%.
Prioritize sales pipeline - Give your sales team time back so they can work the highest priority opportunities in their pipeline. Using a CRM helps keep them organized, on track and focused. Two-thirds of office hours are spent on admin tasks including CRM management.
Closed-loop reporting for marketing campaigns - When your marketing and sales teams are using the same software, when a lead is closed as a customer, marketing has access to that same information for keeping accurate and timely marketing campaigns with the most relevant messaging. 78% of customers now expect consistent interactions between departments.
Nurture relationships - You're likely competing for business with bigger companies. One of the benefits of being a small company is the personalized experience you can provide prospects, making buying decisions easier. A CRM helps manage data so marketing, sales and service team members can enter notes and keep track of communication in an effort to effectively nurture all relationships. 73% point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Customer retention - It costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Leveraging a CRM system like Hubspot** makes streamlining processes, communication, messaging and nurturing frictionless. A 5% increase in customer retention efforts can increase profits by between 25% and 95%.
Are you ready to invest time and resources in automating and streamlining your internal marketing, sales and customer service processes?
6 Reasons to Consider Hubspot as your CRM:
Free version - unlike many free versions of software, Hubspot is free forever. And the free version includes all the necessary marketing, sales and customer service basic attributes for trying the system before committing to it long term. Choosing a CRM creates anxiety as decision makers know it's a huge investment from money, people and systems. When you can offer it for free without timeframes or constraints, it takes the pressure away so you can focus on what's most important.
Streamlined process - the system is built with the customer in mind. The days of marketing and sales and customer service working in different systems and creating angst for the customer due to lack of consistency across the board, are gone.
Marketing campaigns - in one system you can communicate with, track and convert prospects throughout their customer journey and with the marketing emails, tracking and reporting available in Hubspot.
Lead management - by providing one tool for marketing and sales to use, once marketing and sales identify the criteria for a high quality lead, both teams can use the same tool to enter data, manage contacts and nurture leads through the customer journey to purchase and beyond.
Customer retention - The marketing and sales journey doesn't end at the sale. With the Hubspot CRM system, you continue the customer's relationship with all the necessary data and information to continue the conversation seamlessly.
Grows with you - As your company grows, Hubspot grows with you. You can start with the free version then as your team needs more features to more effectively manage marketing, sales and customer service, those features can be added.
If you want to sort through the chaos, I invite you to an hour long free conversation with me to work through the chaos and uncertainty so you can have clarity and an action plan. For details on who this is for, what to expect and to apply, click here.
* Stats and sources can be found in this article ** This is an affiliate link which means I may receive a commission from Hubspot if you purchase or upgrade from the Free version to a paid subscription. The paid subscription is the same for you regardless if you go through my link or direct to Hubspot.
Vicki O'Neill is a Marketing Strategist and Coach in Ohio who helps small business leaders create marketing strategies that increase sales and retain customers longer. She helps connect the dots between target customer pain points and solutions. Vicki founded KenKay Marketing in 2011, started her marketing and sales podcast Connect the Dots in 2018, hosted The Marketing Stream live streaming show in 2020 and developed the Create Clarity for Marketing Success eLearning for serious professionals who want to learn marketing on their own. Join her community and stay connected!