There are many places in your business that you can cut corners to save a little bit of money.
Your CRM isn’t one of them.
The last thing you want is a CRM that doesn’t fit the functions of your business, or worse, one that nobody in your entire organization will use. The core of your business is your customers and potential customers, so it’s worth spending a little extra dough to make sure that you’ve covered every angle in creating an incredible relationship with them.
Doesn’t matter if you’re going to use an already developed CRM or if you’re going to create your own—here are some questions to help you explore the possibilities of customizing your CRM to your business.
How Integrated Is Your CRM?
Duplicate data entry is kryptonite for CRM usage.
And I don’t just mean having the same contact in there twice: I mean having to enter it in the first place.
Imagine this scenario: Your salespeople have a billing system where they fulfill orders. When they make a sale, it’s going to be necessary for them to enter information about a client into that billing system. They’ll never skip this step because, if they do, the order won’t go through. Once they’ve already entered it in the billing system, they don’t want to have to go back into your CRM to enter the same information again. Even the best of salespeople won’t do this because they are striving for efficiency and this feels naturally inefficient.
Most of our clients are using their CRM as a quasi-ERP. ERP means Enterprise Resource Planning, and it’s essentially a single source of data for your entire organization. An ERP-style approach means that there is no data segregation within your organization. In the context of the example above, anything entered into the billing system will automatically pull into your CRM.
Whenever someone from your organization needs information, they can refer to the CRM and know that most of their activities will have already been logged within.
You can make connections between any CRM and any internal system using integrations. If your CRM provider hasn’t built them already, we can build them for you.
Does Your CRM Fit Your Standard Business Processes?
Every business has its own processes that should be captured or automated via CRM technology.
If you’re a delivery service, you should be able to pull up a record for each customer showing their order history. You could combine this with other data (such as their engagement on your website) to automate campaigns out of your email system.
A service company could pull data from a scheduling system to make decisions based on customers actions. For example, if you provide a service that your clients require yearly, you could automate reminders for your salespeople to follow up with each client as their year is ending.
This kind of CRM customization requires a deep look at the sales cycles and tendencies of your customers but can create a dynamic sales environment that is entirely data-driven. This step takes the integration step to the next level by creating automation. Once again, this can all be done via integrations.
Is Your CRM Data Accessible to Your Clients and Partners?
Most people have an internal view of their CRM, but it can be a great tool for your clients and partners as well.
We’re not saying give them a login and let them access your internal client records… (that is a terrible idea, for the record).
Most businesses will create a single source of information for customers and partners that pulls from the data in their CRM. This can be done pretty easily by creating portals, which are kind of like web pages but a little different. If your CRM is fully integrated with your other systems, this is a pretty simple process. It just takes some know-how and professional design to make things look good.
Once you’ve done that, your customers will be able to actively manage their relationship with YOU. Because you’re trying to create a two-way relationship, this is an extremely important step that many businesses miss out on. The data is already there, you just need to use it and present it in a beautiful way.
The Path to Full CRM Optimization and Customization
The questions that we asked in this article also outline a strategic approach for improving your CRM customization:
- Ensure that all the data is captured via custom software integrations.
- Use that data to create process automation.
- Strategically expose certain data to your clients so that they can also actively engage with your brand.
We’re experts in all three of these areas and would love to help, even if it’s just in the form of a quick consultation. If you do decide to move forward on these steps, we also offer 15 free hours of development so that you can start to see what the finished product will look like before you invest any of your hard-earned cash!