CRM software has grown to be one of the biggest software markets in the world now. Statistics suggest that CRM is expected to reach up to $80 Billion in terms of revenue by the year 2025, and it is estimated to be growing at a very rapid rate too.
These numbers point to the fact that more and more companies have started realizing the benefits of CRM automation and Customer Relationship Management as a whole.
And one of the main factors contributing to this popularity is its unmatched accessibility to insightful data. With the advent of advanced technologies in brand communication, customers have become more demanding of brands in terms of services as well as in their operation. And brands on the other hand need access to real time powerful data on customers in order to their customers.
CRM solutions have become the flag bearers in this regard with cloud based and mobile-based technologies gaining momentum.
CRM has in fact evolved beyond being just a tool to manage customers or contacts. It has come to offer more comprehensive benefits to organizations to help them better serve their customers. It provides a multi-dimensional insight into customer behavior that allows businesses to gain the competitive edge.
Today, it is indeed important for companies to use CRM solutions to offer the best customer experience, as predictions are rife that 20 years down the line you are hardly going to be remembered for the product or service you offered, but for the experience you gave your customers.
Customer experience expert Wootric further talks about the Walker study predicting how customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator in this post.
Importance of using a good CRM system
The current generation is very intelligent, tech-savvy and highly conscious about their product and brand choices. Especially since the pandemic of 2020, customers are more careful about the products they choose, the brands they work with and the purposes they support. A few discounts and a few messages addressing them by their first names will not work anymore.
Research has revealed that customers in fact expect companies to know more about them these days. According to a report by Zendesk, almost 87% of customers believe that companies need to provide more consistent and seamless customer experiences.
They also expect brands to be more straightforward and transparent with their ways at the same time requiring them to be prompt and available at their beck and call.
This way, the positive evolution of customers has necessitated the need for an advanced system like a CRM solution to stay on top of customer needs. So much so, that failing to leverage CRM can even render you out of business, as most companies are already using some of the best solutions along with the best CRM practices.
This is why it is inevitable that you use the best CRM solution, that is both feature rich and cost-effective for your business.
A few important features to look for in a good CRM system include:
• Rich analytics – a comprehensive and extensive source of analytics to help you gain much needed visibility and make important improvements
• Contact management – a better way to manage and nurture contacts
• Integrated functionality – an integrated system that allows you to combine sales, marketing and customer related data to offer the best customer experience
• Flexibility – ample customization features to help add or remove features as needed and also to integrate your CRM solution with other enterprise software for maximum efficiency
• Social listening – an advanced and intelligent way to analyze social as well as market conditions to help you gain a competitive edge
• Ease of use and installation – a simple but effective system to eliminate complications
Agile CRM is one such all-encompassing CRM solution system that offers all the above features and more. It comes with dedicated tools for customer relationship management including analytics, reporting, social CRM, social listening, customer support etc. Apart from customer relationships, it also offers comprehensive tools for email marketing, web engagement, mobile-based marketing channels and workflow automation.
Above all, it also comes at a more reasonable price as it is cloud hosted and is easier to install and use.
Now a good CRM solution should be augmented with a few CRM best practices. As the audience evolves, there is a need to be dynamic with best practices as well to put your solution to good use and reap the most benefits.
Here are 12 CRM best practices for the coming year.
12 CRM best practices to follow in 2021
Audit your requirements and objectives and use a clean CRM solution
The first and most important thing to remember in CRM best practices would be to analyze your needs and objectives thoroughly and narrowing down your options before adopting any software. You need to use a solution with just the necessary features and not one that is overcrowded with features, as opposed to popular belief. It is about the most needed features and not the most number of features, as it can easily overwhelm you and render the solution useless.
Use CRM automation to speed up tedious tasks and maximize efficiency
Technology is meant to make work easier for you. Unless you use it in the right places and in the right ways, you would not be able to realize its full benefits. Analyzing your organizational requirements and team requirements will also help you determine the redundant and repetitive tasks in your workflow. As one of the CRM best practice for next year, pick out these tasks and use CRM automation features to speed up processes and maximize efficiency.
Agile CRM offers efficient automation features to automate mundane tasks. It allows you to add actions, schedule tasks, implement and monitor workflows all from a single place.
Entrepreneurs sometimes devise complicated workflows and business processes with several data collection centers, cost and revenue centers etc. Using automation and CRM software on top of unstable or ambiguous processes will render the software useless. However, for the coming years one of the most important CRM best practices to follow would be to use simplified processes in the first place and not overcomplicate things. Make simple changes like identifying repetitive tasks and applying automation, integrating communication channels into a single platform etc. to derive the best outcome. You can also take feedback from your sales and marketing team members to further simplify processes and make it easy for everyone to keep up with.
Look for more opportunities to be proactive
If there is one thing in business that doesn’t change, it is serving customers constantly in the best ways possible. To stay ahead in competition, you need to be proactive in your efforts as well. Another important one out of the CRM best practices to follow for next year would be to make use of intelligent CRM analytics to look for and identify new opportunities and address customer needs and concerns proactively. Efficient solutions like Agile CRM offer some of the most detailed and insightful analytics that you can use in strategic ways to uncover new market opportunities to gain the competitive edge.
Put data to the best use and make data-driven decisions
Something that is often under-utilized or ignored when it comes to CRM best practices is actually using analytics to offer better customer experience. Companies many a time do not have the necessary strategies and resources to put analytics to the best use. However, for 2021 make sure to use analytics in the most effective ways to make data-driven decisions. At the end of the day, the benefits that you get out of CRM analytics depend solely on how you use the data.
Adapt with changes
They say change is the only constant in the world. In business especially, changes are more rapid and perhaps drastic. Hence, there is definitely a need to be dynamic with your approach and adapt to changes. As one of the CRM best practices for 2021, remember to adopt a flexible approach and remain open to evolutionary changes, both with the customers and with the users. This means, you need to adopt scalable and customizable software solution as well, including with CRM.
Use AI-based predictive analysis to be prepared for growth as well as potential damage
AI is apparently one of the biggest trends in the entire realm of CRM. Naturally, it is part of the CRM best practices for the next year as well. Considering the rapidly growing usage of CRM over the years, it is important to use AI based predictive analytics to be better prepared for growth and adversities. As a business, it is indeed important to prepare for contingencies and brand damage as well. Using CRM analytics tools like social listening and predictive analysis can help you in this regard.
Make the most of social listening to gain competitive edge
As an extension to the previous point of CRM best practices, it is important to make use of social listening features in CRM solutions to find out insightful competitor information and stay on top of social conversations as well as industry trends. Social listening is in fact a comparatively new trend that is catching on strongly among companies to gain the competitive edge.
Ensure ease of use and provide training to enhance user adoption
Another one out of the most ignored CRM best practices is adopting a user-friendly solution. Many companies make the mistake of using complicated and heavy-duty solutions. However, for 2021, the best way to go would be to adopt a solution that is both easy to use and install. You also need to provide training if necessary to ensure that users adopt the solution and not end up resisting technology.
Establish and implement insightful KPIs to make effective improvements
Establishing and clearly defining important KPIs is inevitable to make measurable improvements in your customer relationship processes. It helps you attain quantitative as well as qualitative metrics with which to measure performance from time to time and make effective improvements.
Make the most of customer experience features in your CRM
CRM solutions like Agile CRM come loaded with customer experience features that are meant to offer seamless digital experiences to customers. Considering the fact that customers are expecting consistent services from brands in the coming years, an important CRM best practice would be to make the most of these customer experience features including live chat for quick support, enriched data showing full customer journey, previous support tickets, integrating customer data across departments, 360-degree view everywhere etc. to provide the best customer experience.
“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscu
Make the most of collaborative efforts with an all-encompassing CRM solution
Finally, in the top 10 CRM best practices for 2021 is to combine the efforts of your sales, marketing and customer service teams to get the best outcome. CRM solutions like Agile CRM provide detailed and comprehensive analytics encompassing sales and marketing in a single platform. Hence, it would definitely be a good idea to utilize these numbers to your advantage.
The end goal of using a CRM solution is to provide enriched and delightful customer experiences to customers spanning multiple digital channels. Hence, it is important to use a good CRM solution with CRM best practices providing top-notch customer experiences and achieve lasting relationships with customers, which ultimately helps in improving the bottom line.