Top 3 Tips for a Less Annoying CRM

Customer relationship management (or CRM) software helps your team to track and respond to every step of your customers’ journey, from end to end.

When you properly integrate CRM into your business strategy and daily routines, you can streamline client interactions, increase automation, centralize information, save time and money, make data-driven decisions, collaborate more effectively, and overall, de-complicate the sales process.

It sounds pretty universally great, but there’s one problem: CRM can be super annoying.

Using CRM software means dealing with a lot of data: inputting it, reading it, keeping it up to date, and learning how to effectively use it. If you’ve ever had to keep a log of, well, anything, you know how tedious it can be. So, we’ve put together our top three tips to help you build a less annoying CRM.

1. Utilize CRM Integration

Your goal with CRM is to achieve a “single customer view”--that is, using multiple data sources to paint a picture of your customers and their unique customers’ journey to maximize insights. One of the easiest, most efficient ways to accomplish this is with CRM Integrations.

Source: Aria Systems

A CRM Integrations are when you tie outside systems into your CRM, whether that is another program/software or even your own website. Basically, you program your CRM to automatically pull client data into a specific workflow whenever they do something meaningful. For example, if you set a certain action a trigger--like downloading a lead magnet--you can program your CRM to respond accordingly--like by flagging the customer for follow up, entering the customer into an automated email sequence, etc.

The easiest way to do CRM integration is usually with forms. Like when a client fills out any form on your site--enters their email to receive a lead magnet, requests more information, etc.--they are put into a workflow. But, it is possible to really get down in the trenches and have your CRM respond when a customer does smaller actions, like clicks a link in an email, visits a certain webpage, etc.

Source: ActiveCampaign

This helps to achieve a “single customer view” because your CRM will keep a log of every workflow or automation a particular customer has been entered into. You basically have limitless ability to track the actions of your prospects on your website and throughout your sales tools to better understand how to engage with them more effectively.

Overall, CRM integration is also absolutely essential for automation. The more you can automate, the less your sales reps have to do by hand, the more valuable information they’ll have, and the more time they can spend actually selling.

  1. Establish Internal Guidelines
    It seems overly simple, but it needs saying: communicate with your team about how you’re going to use the CRM. What data do you expect your team to enter? How do you expect them to enter it? Your CRM is only as good as the data you put into it, and you can’t analyze it if it’s all a hot jumbled mess.

One of the first things you should consider is permissions and roles--who has access to what within your CRM and, more importantly, who is responsible for what? You’ll need to designate specific people as project managers to keep things running smoothly, and one person as a “super user,” which is basically the person responsible for knowing how to use the CRM inside and out.

Source: Microsoft

In order to get the most out of your CRM, you will need to decide what information should be entered into the system and how. For example, what data is essential to include for each business or client? How do you track deals? Human error and miscommunication will still be the number one reason for leads falling through the cracks, so stay on the ball by being on the same page.

  1. Streamline Your Sales Process

Streamlining your sales process is beneficial to your business for many reasons, but it’s especially helpful when making your CRM less annoying. Since CRMs help you to track your customers through their buyers' journeys, you will need to designate different sales stages that are the most relevant to your business.

Source: GetApp Lab

Several of the most common stages are:

  • Prospects
  • Leads
  • Pitched
  • Qualified
  • Proposal Sent
  • Close (Won or Lost)

But, of course, there are infinite variations you can use. Your particular stages are going to be unique to your business, but there are two key insights to keep in mind: 1. Keep it as simple as possible, and 2. Make sure the stages are categorized by what YOU have done, not the client.

A fatal flaw in CRM is when users overzealously come up with a million-and-one different sales stages--it might feel super organized in the moment, but if a salesperson has to move their customer to a different stage after every minute interaction, it will quickly make the software too cumbersome to be useful. Eliminate this problem by thinking small: how can you streamline your sales process to minimize touchpoints?

As you work on your minimalist approach to sales stages, keep in mind that the defining factor for a stage should be something you (or a salesperson) does--not something the customer does. This is helpful in streamlining (so you don’t have redundancies, like “proposal sent” and “they received the proposal”) and in maintaining ownership of the sales process--your team will always know what to do next and what they are waiting on from the client.

If you start running a CRM without a solid plan of attack, it can quickly spiral into an annoying hassle for your team. But used right, it can simplify you and your salespeople’s lives by giving you more information about your clients, automating workflows, and keeping the ball in your court. A little organization at the beginning goes a long way!