Argument: “If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen.” – Lars Helgeson
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a team wide initiative. No one is excused from using CRM as part of their day to day process. From sales to marketing to customer service, CRM collects data across all departments to collectively help the business gain a 360-degree view of their leads and customers. The more accessible and up-to-date data a business has, the more relevant their sales, marketing and customer support experiences will be. The entire business as a whole wins with this tracking and reporting.
One central location for lead and customer data
If your intention as an organization is to offer a seamless and enjoyable customer experience, then your entire team needs to know the customer, their history and any relevant or supporting information about them. How is a team supposed to get up-to-date, realtime data if everyone works in different systems, each collecting separate pieces of customer data? It’s inefficient and at this point, old school. With the technology that exists today, there is zero excuse for incongruous data. There is also zero excuse for making a customer repeat themselves over and over again to each department they speak with (this ring a bell, anyone?). All of their information, including customer service, sales and marketing data should be easily accessible by those who need it.
While many companies are still stuck in the age of constantly importing and exporting data, sometimes by the hour, this still leaves room for potential error. For example, the other day I got a request from a pretty large company to contribute to the GreenRope blog. I liked her ideas, we agreed on one, and I was excited to get the article. While the first email may have been automated, the emails between the two of us discussing topics, were not. Then, a couple of days later, I got another email, the SAME email sent to a colleague who no longer worked with us. They were also in marketing with the same title as mine and obviously, the same company email suffix. I responded to her saying that we literally had just agreed on a topic and she immediately wrote back, quite embarrassed, apologized and reconfirmed the topic we had established just a few days before. Now, I understand mistakes happen, but as the marketing manager at a CRM and marketing automation company, my patience wears thin when mistakes happen…more than just once or twice.
So, to continue, not a day later, maybe even the same day, my current marketing coordinator, again with the same email suffix, gets the EXACT same email as I had already received now twice. My marketing coordinator forwarded me the email and yet again, I responded that we had clearly already discussed a topic or was I missing something? This time I could feel the embarrassment coming from her apology email. While, I don’t blame her AT ALL, I do blame the system they are using (which I will not name here). It was clear to me that their data was out-of-date and they were improperly using their system to continuously send automated messages to multiple people within the same company.
While not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, these little hiccups can be avoided. This story was just to express that old, inaccurate data can lead to mistakes and some of those mistakes could even cost you a customer or two if they are big enough.
If your entire team has access to the company and customer data they need, they are better equipped for success and deliver on their promise of excellent customer experiences.
Hold every team member accountable
Accountability in life is important and it’s just as important within an organization. When team members within a company share login information, you completely lose the ability to track what was done and by who. For example, if you have multiple sales people using one login, it becomes hard to track which leads belong to which sales person and which contacts are being followed up with by each team member. Sounds like a mess, right? As a salesperson, especially a high performer, you want to showcase your incredible ability to follow up, develop relationships and close deals. You can’t do this if you share the same username and password with everyone else on your team.
The same goes for customer service. Let’s say that a customer service rep met with a customer to help them with an issue and at the end they promised a follow up. That follow up never came. Now, the customer is expecting action and receiving nothing. Problem. If your entire Customer Service (CS) teams shares login information, you can’t see which tasks or follow ups were assigned to whom and who was responsible for that follow up.
Each person having their own logins is not a ploy to micromanage, it’s simply a tool to help each member OWN their work and the relationship they have with a client. Great service and great experiences come from proactive and positive interactions. Letting everyone jumble their work and interactions together does nothing for your team, and much less, the customer.
This idea also spans across departments, which is why it’s so important that your whole department be tied together by a single, up-to-date database. For example, let’s say a customer comes in through live chat asking a customer service rep about another one of your products or services. It’s the responsibility of that customer service rep, who spoke with that person, to immediately pass the inquiry along to sales so they can quickly close the deal. If the two processes are not connected via technology, more specifically by workflows and activities within a CRM, there will not only be a lag in sales getting that inquiry, but sales will have to pester CS to get more information about the inquiry in the first place. Now, let’s look at what happens with an integrated system. Live chat comes in, chat is logged in the CRM record, CRM activity is created for the sales team, sales receives an automatic notification to follow up. Seamless transition from your customer service team to the sales team. The customer is also happy because they got an immediate follow up and sales is happy because they just got closer to making a sale.
Imagine if an unknown CS member didn’t create the CRM activity or a sales person never made the follow up. That is a loss in revenue for the company, directly related to unaccountability.
Make informed, data-driven sales, marketing and operations decisions
Today we have access to more data than ever before. We know more about our leads and customers than we know what to do with! That being said, this data is powerful. It is also sacred, which is why it must be used for good. What do I mean by good? Using data effectively means using the information to improve the life of your leads and customers. Use it to deliver the right information at the right time, use it to send personalized content and promotions, and finally, use it to make better strategic decisions across your organization.
You customer data is generated from any number of places, including but not limited to:
Social media engagements
Customer support inquiries and cases
Sales phones calls and emails
Marketing messages and content
Contact research applications
Purchases and downloads
With all of that action happening in realtime, you need to be able to house, organize, access, and ultimately use it. Without a single database that gathers the information from all of these touchpoints and behaviors, how are you ever going to see a true picture of who your leads and clients really are, what they like, and how they interact with your company? You can’t. To get what we call a 360-degree view of the contact, you must have access to all of their information. Without it, you paint an incomplete picture, which could lead to wasted time and money on strategies that just don’t resonate with your target market.
For example, let’s say you do have a single database that pulls all of this information into one place. You pull a report to view conversion values based on a specific campaign ID or where contacts first found out about your company. With this report, you realize that while Twitter may be driving a lot of awareness and leads, the conversion values overall are quite low. You also notice that your conversion values from contacts coming from LinkedIn are substantially higher. Just from this simple report, you can see that you are better served spending more marketing dollars on LinkedIn than Twitter, since LinkedIn drives more revenue. Then, you can take it even further and break it down by industry, titles, etc. to see where you are getting the more bang for your buck and start making better, more data-driven decisions.
This was a simple example, but even if you don’t have access to the data, you would never know you are wasting valuable dollars where they don’t perform.
Another example is using customer service inquiries to develop better onboarding packages or better content for new clients. If a marketer has access to CS inquiries and frequent questions, they can use this to develop more relevant content that answers these question. Or, your onboarding team can identify frequent onboarding issues and build out better processes for new clients to get them up and running more successfully.
No matter the department, we all need data to help us do our jobs better. When this data is centralized, we can finally see a complete picture and execute better procedures based on what the customer needs and wants, not what we think they do.
Avoid data misuse and corruption
Having a lot of data can be scary. It’s scary because we have the great responsibility of keeping our contacts’ data safe and sound. We also have the duty to make sure this data isn’t corrupted or misused in any way, shape or form. This is where having a centralized database comes in handy. While some may say that having all your eggs in one basket might be a mistake, in the case of data, it’s the best way to manage it.
Let’s say for example, an employee was let go due to poor performance. In an effort to save some of their clients and take them to their next job, they attempt to export confidential client information. Big NO. While you can’t necessarily stop a client from leaving your company, you can control the information that flows through your organization. When each person has their own designated login and permissions applied to their profile, the manager can monitor, approve or disapprove data transfers like this one. What about if this same person wanted to delete all of their contacts from the system? The same benefits of a centralized database apply here. With certain permissions set, you can easily avoid data misuse and corruption from an array of different threats.
You can also avoid data overwriting and other data changes when all of your data is being updated in realtime.
Every company is responsible for the data they possess and letting any data into the wrong hands can have severe consequences. Secure your data, make sure proper permissions are set and keep it in one place where you can actively track changes, issues, and concerns.
Get a better ROI on your CRM investment
Multiple systems = multiple monthly subscription costs. Why spend more, and risk more, by investing in systems that do not integrate or automatically talk to each other? Why spend the time and money to build connectors between platforms when you could invest in one single, complete platform?
Total cost of ownership (TCO) is the total amount you will spend throughout the lifetime of your relationship with a specific software or tech stack. TCO includes way more than just price. It includes, but is not limited to onboarding, training, maintenance, add-ons, users, API calls, developers, more training, and so on. These numbers can add up quickly, especially if your team is working in multiple different systems. Avoiding what can potentially be a very costly investment is easy when you take the time to research the BEST platform for your team.
Plus, when you spend less deciding on a complete CRM system, you’ll end up generating a much higher ROI in the long-term (and the short-term).
Let’s say you have a CRM, a marketing automation platform and a customer service platform. That’s three different different platforms for each of your primary departments. This of course isn’t taking into account your project manager, document signing software, social media, etc. Each of those three platforms incur a monthly subscription cost, plus they charge per user. You need to get the whole team onboarded, so cha-ching, your monthly cost just skyrocketed out of the gate, and you’ve barely even started. Next, you’ll need training for the team and most platforms like these require at least a basic onboarding package. Now, you need someone to integrate each platform to make sure they talk to one another. This could potentially be a huge expense and take a lot of time to get up and running. Boom, more money spent and more time wasted. Then, you realize that you actually need a feature in the subscription level up from what you currently have for your CRM platform. $$$$$$$$. These just keep adding up. Before you know it, you’ve spent extensive cash and your team has barely even logged in. Sigh.
Unfortunately, this happens all too often. CRM and marketing automation implementations fail frequently and that is largely due to using a software that doesn’t actually work for the business! They didn’t spend the time to establish goals, strategy and to find the right software for the entire team.
Good news, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.This can all be avoided and you can have a successful implementation, but it takes planning, commitment, and proper execution.
Overall, a centralized database and a Complete CRM that integrates sales, marketing, customer service and operations, gives an organization more structure and control over its data and management. It can also save you loads of money in the long run and save you from costly data mishaps.