CRM admins share secrets on what helps their business grow.


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E-commerce has skyrocketed during the pandemic, making the future of business dependent on how well companies can serve their customers. Working with small businesses in the community has shown us that customers are hungry for digital services, but in order to keep up with customer demands, companies must ensure that their strategy can scale. With new remote work environments, businesses must put customer experience and relationship management first and foremost to ensure each customer experience is positive.

To find out what practices have helped businesses achieve CRM goals and cater to their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoho surveyed close to 100 CRM admins from small and medium-sized businesses. The findings show that setting up clear goals and focusing on communication and support can go a long way towards bringing in new customers and keeping them for life. Our CRM experts shared their top secrets on what is helping them grow revenue during difficult times and discuss what to avoid.

Map out clear CRM goals
It’s essential to keep in mind that the primary goal for your CRM is to serve your customers more effectively and run your business more efficiently to allow for growth. Working with small businesses in the community right now has revealed that many businesses are struggling, especially when they don’t have clear CRM goals in place. The proof is in the pudding: 84 percent of admins agree that having a CRM goal is critical. While each company will have its own unique goals, your business should focus on what will help to improve customer satisfaction, expand your customer base, find ways to assist sales and support teams better, and improve the overall efficiency of your business. It can’t be stressed enough that serving your customers quickly and fostering a positive relationship right now is the key to success. Another tip for growing revenue from our CRM admins is to improve sales reporting: One in three admins said their goal is to improve sales reports. The pandemic has given companies an opportunity to focus on enacting and streamlining processes such as cross-domain reporting, which will set your business up for success. Too often, companies operate without key metrics and reports, which can result in poor customer experiences. By putting in place goals and metrics for your CRM, you’ll be able to examine how effectively you’re supporting customers and find opportunities for improvement.

Set up automated workflows
Every business wants to operate leaner and more efficiently, and one of the main ways to do that is by setting up automated workflows. Zoho’s survey shows that 40 percent of CRM admins agree that setting up automated workflows is the most important CRM activity (with managing profiles and roles coming in second place). Why do so many CRM admins rate this as of top importance? Simply put, automated workflows drastically improve processes by cutting out redundant busy work such as manually sending emails, copy and pasting, manual data entry, and more. With so much work to do in today’s business climate, it’s critical for automation to help your business regain time and improve productivity so that you can focus on other higher-value tasks, like customer support. Automated workflows have helped our small business owners eliminate human error caused by duplicated data or inaccuracies that end up ultimately upsetting customers. If you’re not using automated workflows, you’re missing out on adding time and money back into your business.

Furthering education is key
Unfortunately, lately we have seen many businesses experiencing a financial downturn. SMB group reported 53 percent of small businesses’ monthly revenue has decreased since the pandemic began. While that may make the future seem a bit more daunting, successful businesses are taking advantage of the time to train their salespeople and CRM admins to help their business thrive, no matter what’s ahead. While it’s hard to carve out work hours for training, continuing education to ensure your team stays up to date on features, functions, and usability will help your business serve customers more effectively and create better customer experiences. If your business isn’t enacting some form of user education, you may be missing out on a massive opportunity to capitalize on what you already have. 80 percent of CRM admins confirmed that they’re currently conducting CRM user training. The secret is to always be planning for the future and looking for ways that your business can add to digital transformation initiatives. It’s so important to support your customers, and investing in education for your employees is a great way to start.

Bad data is worse than you think
Every company has experienced a bad data incident somewhere along the road, but bad data isn’t just a headache for your employees—it could also be costing your business some serious money. Zoho’s survey suggests that bad data could be costing your business as much as 12 percent in revenue, and businesses in the community agree. While incorrect data may feed into your system occasionally, it’s important to have a plan of action to fix the issue as quickly as possible. Better yet, enact a fool-proof system to begin with. If your company experiences a data mishap, your next step should be to let your users know immediately. 44 percent of CRM admins said they preferred to communicate errors over a private message, 31 percent preferred to do it over the phone, and 25 percent said they preferred to communicate in person. Whatever you decide, make sure it aligns with your customers’ needs and that it’s done promptly.

Track the right metrics
Businesses should already be tracking metrics, but it’s also critical to determine top metrics to track in order to get the most value out of CRM initiatives and better serve customers. 32 percent of CRM admins agree that customer acquisition costs are the top metric to track. Making sure that your leads cost has a positive ROI is critical in determining your business’s profitability. Additional metrics to keep an eye on are your sales pipeline value, customer retention rates, customer lifetime value, marketing campaign goals, and the length of your sales cycle. Tracking key business metrics will allow you to plan for the future and will help you get a good handle on how effectively your company is operating.

Communication and support are a must
With COVID-19 disrupting the way we work, businesses must make sure they’re utilizing collaboration and communication tools to their full potential by creating supportive virtual environments for their customers. According to CRM admins, 44 percent of users prefer calling in to support services, while 28 percent said they preferred email. Thanks to collaboration tools such as cloud-based chat tools, video conferencing, and more, businesses have no excuse not to communicate effectively with team members and customers across multiple channels. Businesses need to ensure different departments such as sales, marketing, and support are connected, and communicating effectively, which will result in better customer journeys and experiences overall.

With the given work environment, it’s more important than ever that businesses use this time to reimagine and improve processes to thrive in the future. Don’t forget to enact new models that support your customers and take their feedback into consideration, since they’ll help you succeed down the line. Experiment with new ideas, improve processes with automation, and continue to support your customers so that you can do more than survive the current business climate, but really set yourself up to thrive for years to come.

Vidya Vasudevan
Zoho Corp
Vidya Vasudevan heads the Zoho CRM community and has been involved in engaging with the Zoho User Community for close to 20 years. Having played several roles in the IT management division of Zoho where she wrote, consulted, supported, and trained customers, Vidya now focuses on building a thriving user community around Zoho CRM.


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