The CRM Revolution: Sales Automation and How Your Business Benefits

Human beings constantly straddle their technological peak. Where we were once impressed by sliced bread, these days we barely even bat an eyelid when NASA lands something on Mars. For me it doesn’t matter what we invent, human’s impulse for discovery and development is astounding.

Technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives and taken it over. We turn the kettle on through our phones and ask Siri to close the blinds when it’s bedtime. We speak to each other through screens. We work less because computers do it for us, helping us get more done.

Look at my industry. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the fastest growing software market; worth $80 billion by 2025. This forces me and my competitors to constantly innovate. Where our product used to be about storing and maintaining customer data, now it is so much more.

There’s a CRM revolution taking place. As a result CRM has become such a broad term, increasingly having new features and bits tagged onto it. The industry has taken a huge step into AI and automation, making everybody’s lives easier from developers and marketers, to customers.

Sales automation is the streamlining of tedious, time-consuming tasks in a company’s sales process. These days you can automate your whole sales process, and I’m going to show you how.

Why would you want to automate your sales process?

Let’s start somewhere in the middle, where CRM already does all those basic CRM-y things for your business. You’ve got all your data there; your client profiles, deal breakdowns, a nice-looking pipeline, and of course the communication aggregation that forms the basis of every CRM platform.

CRM sales automation takes that data and uses it for you. It takes care of all the processes you would normally complete in another tab, fiddling about copy and pasting data between the two. CRM has evolved to maintain the whole customer journey out of one simple dashboard.

This ultimate alignment between processes offers beautiful business insights…

  • Customer behaviour trends and similarities at different pipeline stages.
  • Which content and sales enablements are most effective.
  • Lead generation avenues that are most beneficial.
  • Any customer objections and subsequent bottlenecks throughout the sales cycle.
  • The average amount each stage of the sales cycle takes.
  • Simple aggregation of key metrics, often at the click of a button.

With these insights, we gain a more complete view of business than ever before. We can tweak and optimise our sales outreach until it’s… well, perfect. On top of that, using a single tool ensures we have clean data as we do not need to aggregate and match various datasets. It also affords us the opportunity to align our sales and marketing teams, bringing customer engagement to new levels.

Let’s take a walk along our sales journey, and learn how to automate our sales process.

Lead Generation

There can be no sales process without the leads that undergo it. Lead generation, as I’m sure you know by now, is the process of finding people to buy your product or service. I’m sure you’re also aware that there are two main categories of lead generation: inbound and outbound.

Both methods of lead generation can be automated without any negative repercussions for a business.

Inbound lead generation automation

For me, web forms are best for quality inbound lead cultivation. They’re an area of your website where a lead comes and gives you their data in agreement that you can contact them further along the line. There are loads of different things you can sway for web form data: newsletter subscriptions, event invitations, freemium content, and even user feedback. – Read more

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Think Outside the Box When Selecting a CRM Solution

When selecting a CRM Solution Are you struggling to differentiate one CRM solution from the myriad of others? Of course you are and here is why. For the most part the majority of CRM systems targeted at small to mid-size businesses are all the same, differentiated primarily by price.

These systems are generically designed to capture, track, manage and share information. But let’s face it, how many ways are there to add a new company, a contact, or a note into a CRM system? There’s only one. How about adding a new lead, a sales opportunity or a follow-up activity? One again. So if the majority of the systems you are evaluating are all alike how in the world are you going to identify the best one for your business? Read on and I will tell you.

First, you need to start by thinking outside the box. If the majority of the CRM systems you evaluating all have similar features and functions, then you need to expand your evaluation criteria beyond just features and functions. Start with an evaluation of the company. How long have they been in business, where do they host your data and what type of back-up and recovery services do they provide. Have them explain the on-boarding process and what type of training will be provided. What level of professional services does the company offer? Do they have expertise in providing best practices for improving sales execution, target marketing and automating customer service? Will you have telephone access to these resources or will you be required to send an e-mail and hope for a response? How will they ensure that you will realize the maximum value from their software? These are the areas that differentiate one CRM provider from another and they are very important, but we are not done yet.

The key thing you should be doing to be comfortable that you are making the right decision is what I refer to as “Proof of Value”. CRM vendors will all try to convince you that they have more features than their competition and that their product is easier to use. That’s all well and good, but that’s not why you are looking to implement a CRM system. You probably started off looking for a solution to address one or two specific business challenges. That’s the priority. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in a feature function war because it’s not about who has the most features or the lowest price – it’s about who can best address your specific business requirements. What you need from the solution provider is Proof of Value.

Proof of Value means you need to see how the solution provider will successfully address your business requirements.

Let’s say for example that your company is not generating quality leads. You are getting leads, but they are not qualified and fizzle out very quickly leaving the sales team and management frustrated. This could be the result of several issues. Perhaps you do not have the proper marketing mix for lead generation. Maybe your message is attracting the wrong prospects or you have not properly targeted the right audience for your product or service. That’s why you need a CRM solution right? Well not so fast, I am sorry to tell you that no CRM solution on its own will address this problem. Sure you can use CRM to create some templates and send bulk e-mails, but this business challenge requires more than sending more marketing campaigns. Let’s take a step back and revisit my recommendation for thinking outside the box. Most CRM systems have a marketing module for sending out bulk emails and they are all pretty much the same, so you need to be looking at those that can add value services for “Proof of Value.” – Read more

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The Importance of CRM Data Cleansing

The Importance of CRM Data Cleansing

Accurate information housed in your customer relationship management (CRM) system is important if you want to reach customers and prospects at the right time, using the right channel. However, studies estimate that 30% of company databases grow outdated yearly. The errors and inconsistencies in your CRM data make it difficult to gain reliable insights. Data Cleansing is important.

So why is it important to clean your data regularly? Bad data can waste your time, effort, and resources — impacting your overall ROI. Tedious as it may be, habitual data cleansing and organization can actually improve the way your marketing, sales, and customer service teams work.

The Impact of Bad Data on Your Bottom Line 

When was the last time you organized the customer data on your CRM platform? If it has been a few years, you might encounter issues the next time you try to communicate with your customers. 

If you’re in the B2B industry, companies encounter many changes; your contacts may have left, the company may have hired new leaders, or they simply moved their business address. A similar situation also occurs in B2C, albeit more rapidly as customers change their phone numbers or switch email addresses. 

Bad data is defined as information that is incorrect, outdated, duplicate, improperly formatted, low-quality, or completely missing from your marketing, sales, and customer database. Instead of being able to utilize this data strategically, bad data could actually cause you to commit errors in your marketing campaign or sales interaction. 

Human error is often the cause of bad data; it can’t be avoided if you’re relying on people to input data by hand. You are more likely to find names typed in the wrong case, bouncing email addresses, or blank fields which can be frustrating. Aside from being confusing, bad data can also cause problems within your business. These include:

An ineffective marketing campaign

Customers love it when companies put in the effort to give them a personalized experience. However, mistakes in your database can lead to wrong personalization: opt-outs, email delivery errors, or higher spam reports. Aside from missing an opportunity to build a relationship with your customers, you might end up wasting your marketing budget on the wrong prospects and lower overall customer satisfaction. 

A negative brand perception 

Prospects who might have been interested in your products or services could change their mind if they feel like your brand is not right for them. Maybe you recorded the wrong birthdate or gender for a potential customer and ended up placing them in the wrong demographic. Getting critical information wrong could cost you a good brand perception. And since you would only have a limited number of interactions to attract your target audience, it would be difficult to win them back or develop a good relationship with them. – Read more

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