Old habits die hard

Are you a small business owner who has attempted to implement a CRM system but continues to use spreadsheets? You're not the only one.

We often work with business owners who have tried to set up a new CRM system on their own, get parts of it working, but fall back on old habits because they haven't fully configured the CRM product to match their specific business needs.

Before implementing a new CRM, it's essential to discuss what business processes need to be established, what procedures need replacing, and how the new system will benefit the organization and users when used effectively. One of our goals is to eliminate the need to track information for client, vendor, or partner information manually in spreadsheets.

It makes sense that you haven't yet experienced your CRM's full value if you're not using its best features to track your CRM data input. It is frustrating when the CRM seems to be duplicating your efforts, and you still can't find information quickly. So what do you do?

Capture the Right Data

First, let's take a step back and review what you want from your CRM. We need to know what information you're looking to review and then make sure you set up the CRM system correctly to capture those details.  

Not all data is created equal, so ask yourself, "Is the information I'm capturing valuable for decision-making and tracking? We have compiled a detailed list of questions to consider for each of the main records in a CRM. Included are some examples of how these questions can help you make strategic decisions for your business.  

As you read this information, remember that hiring an expert can help customize your CRM system. You don't need to feel overwhelmed. We can explain what is required to fix your current configuration and get your team up to speed on how to use it. With the right data in your system, you can get detailed reports and dashboards that indicate the best ways to move your business forward. 

Add Account Information

Will it help to review the industry category of the organizations that you provide with services or products? If you identify that a large percentage of your clients are from the manufacturing industry in your region, your marketing team can help you create a campaign to specifically target those clients. 

Does it help to know the number of employees each target organization has? If you know that most of your ideal clients have a minimum of 150 employees, your sales team can focus on organizations of that particular size.

Would it help you to know the approximate annual revenue of your potential clients? If you know a certain number of your clients that seem to be the easiest to work with happen to have a similar annual revenue, then you can target more prospects like them.

Is it helpful for you or your business to see the account lifetime revenue for each of your clients? This information will reveal your most valuable clients. 

Build Out Contact Profiles

Which contact profiles are relevant for your organization? It's crucial that your business track and segment your clients and suppliers in your database.

Are you taking advantage of the relationship with past clients? When you're preparing to launch a new product or service, it's helpful to promote your launch to your past clients and reactivate those relationships. It is easier to reach out to someone who has already spent money with you to see if they will buy again than convert a cold prospect to a lead and encourage them to make their first purchase.

Can you identify all your referral contacts in your CRM? It's important to know who is referring business to your organization and maintain a relationship with them. They are your biggest fans, and you should include them every time you offer new products or services. Your CRM also makes it easy to send them a thank you note or gift card to show your appreciation.

Can you generate reports based on your contact fields? When contact profiles are well configured, you can easily pull data and target contacts based on specific details you have gathered about them. Giving your marketing team a list of warm leads matching the ideal target audience makes their jobs easier.

Are you capturing the lead source for your contacts? You can track the lead source through automation and identify which marketing initiatives generate the most revenue. Most CRM's have web-to-lead forms that can automatically fill out the lead source field in a contact record. For offline leads, you'll need to set up a different method. For example, you might use an internal form to add the lead source information during a discovery call.

Segment Your Opportunities

Can you easily identify the number of existing clients from brand new opportunities? Tagging specific information will help you generate a report to track the revenue generated from new versus existing clients.

Do you use different business processes depending on the product/service packages? Suppose your organization has a direct-to-market strategy and partner channel. Your sales through partner channels can follow a more simplified sales process than the one you use for your end-user customers.

Can your CRM classify the type of product/service for each opportunity? Not all CRMs will allow you to track individual products, though some can be customized to do so. If you're selling several products and want to know the performance for each one, you need to find out if your CRM has this capability. If your CRM does not, you might need to consider using a different CRM. 

You may be selling two different services, such as an online course and a consulting package. Your online course sales are transactional in nature, while your consulting services require a discovery call, proposal, and follow-up before you can convert a lead into a client. Knowing the amount of revenue from the online courses versus your consulting services helps you make informed decisions about where you should focus your efforts.

How well do you know your leads? Some CRMs have a lead source field in the opportunity record; this is helpful when a contact has been in your database for a long time. Not all leads will be ready or in a position to work with you right away. But, when that day comes, your CRM can show you what enticed them to reach out to your business in the first place.

The Roadmap

Answering these questions will help you identify gaps in your data and focus on your marketing initiative. Most CRMs will allow you to customize your database and add custom fields to track the information that is most helpful to your business. However, one of the most common mistakes we see is adding custom fields to the wrong type of records, so you need to be careful. 

This is only the beginning. After you have determined which data points are missing from your CRM, you still have some more work to do to update your CRM configuration and fix your data. 

You'll need to train your team to use the new data input fields in your CRM so they can learn how that information ties into business goals. It's essential to develop a process to review new data with your team regularly. Your business will benefit when you leverage the data to determine the best use of your marketing budget. 

It's never too late to start capturing information. It feels great when you work with your team to review the CRM data input, gain insights on which segments to target, and spend time and money more efficiently. We'll help you take your business to the next level with a CRM system customized to your business! 

How are you tracking your clients and potential sales? Is your business growing? Do you need a better system, or are you having a hard time figuring out how to use all your current CRM features? Contact us for Small Business CRM Coaching and Consulting to help you choose between desktop applications or cloud-based solutions with more data storage options and access across digital devices. 

Get the most out of your CRM by reaching out for a Discovery Session to assess your situation.