Technology comes and goes, but some come and don’t go for longer than others.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM), as a software, was introduced in 1987. Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney designed and marketed ACT! CRM, a digital rolodex for organising customer data.
It was built on the underlying foundation of CRM - getting stuff organised and knowing more stuff about those that you’re speaking to. I don’t want to shock you, but we’re nearly 40 years in the future from then. Things have changed and CRM has moved.
Actually, CRM is moving.
Whole businesses are run out of CRM nowadays, and a well-organised CRM system is the cornerstone of any business. It’s the first thing your teams log into every morning and the last thing they close at night.
Already maintaining a whole tech stack, you might not think you need a CRM. Just another bloody system to keep on top of and even more manual data entry, eurgh.
Actually, these days CRM lives inside your tech stack; alongside it and blended within it, bringing a bunch of automated benefits to your business.
More leads, more sales, more money
Leads are the guys and gals who have shown an interest in buying something from your business. They’ve indicated in some way that they’re up for it; that they need your product or service in some way to help them. From the point that a lead enters your pipeline, they become your sales team’s job to charm and persuade to buy your product. It makes sense really.
Generating leads comes before anything else in your business.
Lead generation builds visibility, trust, and all-important high-quality traffic. Old business, new business, and in-the-middle business should all focus on lead generation because if leads aren’t generated, who are they going to sell their product to?
There are two types of lead generation.
Outbound lead generation means engaging in stuff like cold calling and cold emailing, reaching out to people that haven’t shown any interest in your product, yet, but whom your sales team knows might be interested in your product. Inbound lead generation means sitting around and waiting for the leads to come to your business.
It might be an email, it might be via social media, or through webform submission.
Either way, CRM makes it much, much easier.
How does CRM benefit lead generation?
Where before sales teams were focused on one channel of lead generation that prospects were present on - email, telephone, socials, and all of that - with CRM they can spread time and resources more evenly across different lead generation channels... But where?
- Email marketing
- Web forms
- Social media integrations (including LinkedIn)
- Live chat (including integrations like Intercom)
- Landing page generators
Build a landing page and stick a web form on there. Prospects can visit that landing page and fill out their details if they want to know more. Lead generated.
Traditional email marketing speaks for itself. Your marketers write nice emails, make them look all beautiful and interesting. Bulk email technology in CRM systems helps send unlimited emails with all the work of sending one email. Mail merge fills out all the important data, pulled from the CRM system itself, sends as many emails as you want with custom SMTP, and schedules emails to send whenever is the best time - triggered by a prospect’s behaviour or actions.
Receive an email back and consider that a lead generated.
CRM social media integrations are a clever way of generating leads.
Everyone’s social nowadays - your leads are too. CRM integrates with social media platforms like LinkedIn to provide unbeatable lead generation opportunities. Sign up for a free NetHunt CRM trial, download the app and then the LinkedIn integration, and you’ll be able to generate or enrich CRM leads at the click of a button. Moreover, you’ll find beautiful CRM context next to LinkedIn connections you visit, if they’re in your CRM. Lead generated.
One sales manager manages several channels of lead generation, whereas before they were only focused on one. More leads in your pipeline means more sales to make.
Everything stays organised under one tab
Have you noticed how messy your house gets now you’re working from home all the time? Even though you’re sitting in exactly the same position as you were this morning, the apartment needs another tidy, sweep, and polish. It's a fact of life.
Imagine that times 100 with all your business data, sitting in the same place since you had that mad business idea. Duplicates, mistakes, and a growing tech stack. Your bits are scattered all over the place - there’s leads in one chat app, some coming through emails, your webforms land in a spreadsheet, and we’ve not even started copying and pasting social media profiles yet.
CRM unstacks your tech stack, keeping everything you need to run your business in one place.
How does CRM benefit business organisation?
An email inbox is Ground Zero for any business. Odds are, you’re using Gmail to run your business out of as a simple, cheap, and feature-packed email client.
Gmail CRM (or Google CRM) integrates directly into your inbox and brings powerful CRM functionality to your favourite email platform. CRM for Gmail is designed to bend and flex to meet a business’s needs, rather than a business having to start from scratch when implementing CRM functionality. It sits inside your Gmail inbox, bringing full Gmail functionality to an application that sales reps and managers spend a large majority of their day in. Check it out.👇
Imagine Gmail CRM as being a base for your CRM. Native integrations are all the bits you can tack onto your system to make it stronger. If you’re new to CRM, choose a system with native-level integration of the tools you already use. NetHunt’s got a few already, and even more in the pipeline - you can find a list of them here.
If that doesn’t quench your integration thirst, you can always use Zapier as a third-party integration platform. NetHunt integrates with that too.
Your old customers are better looked after
It’s all well-and-good to find new customers, but what about the ones you’ve already got? As a SaaS provider, existing customers sitting inside your kingdom are even more lucrative than the ones that’re wandering around in the nothingness outside. You know they’re interested in your product; you know they’ve got a need and a purpose for it.
You should do everything in your power to keep them in there, paying their subs.
"The cost of winning new clients is five to 25 times more than it is to keep existing business"
🗣️ HubSpot CRM
Your customer retention rate is one of the most important metrics you’ll monitor. Not only does it offer an idea of how healthy your business is financially, but it also indicates the strength of your product, marketing, and support teams. A good customer retention rate is achieved through encouraging repeat or continued purchases.
Of course, CRM helps ya do that.
How does CRM benefit customer retention?
There are many ways in which CRM benefits customer retention.
Firstly, it maps, standardises, and extends the customer journey.
After a lead has converted to a paying customer, they can be subject to a sales process just like they were as a lead. CRM users can then take advantage of organised data to personalise and target specific educational materials and offers to existing customers. A deep pool of data from existing subscribers means businesses can see the wants, needs, and obstacles on an account-by-account basis. Marketing, sales, and support teams can use this information to target customers with tailor made offers.
Keep customers engaged, keep them satisfied, and keep them educated around new developments.
Sometimes that doesn’t help; sometimes a customer wants to leave even if they are engaged and educated. When a customer does churn, sales reps can find out why they do so and log it in the CRM system to report later - sales leaders can generate reports to figure out the driving forces behind churn.
From there, they can strive to make their business better in that area and retain customers more effectively in the future. Here’s a Reason for Churn view in NetHunt CRM.👇
A happier team means happier business
Sometimes in business it’s easy to get lost in what your customers want.
It’s easy to forget that your sales, marketing, and support teams are working their little fingers to the bone to give them what they want. Managing a sales pipeline, manually entering data, talking to customers, writing emails, scoring goals, and looking after everybody else in the team is fun until you’ve got to do it every day - day after day, week after week.
"Happy sales teams make 37% more sales"
No surprise then, that CRM helps relieve tired sales team pressure. Sales automation technology is a relatively new trend in CRM, but it’s already the future. As we stand on the precipice of AI technology doing a lot of our insight and reflection for us, it’s sales automation that helps us get those rubbish, little jobs done so we’ve got more time to just be happy.
How does CRM benefit business morale?
Regular subscribers to this blog will have seen it all before. Stick around though, because you might want to see it in all its glory again. Let’s look at exactly what sales automation looks like in all its bendy flexibility, its sexy usefulness, and its easy-to-implement-edness.👇
Client payment reminders keep sales reps on top of incoming accounts and the overall business engine ticking over; they also help to retain customers who might simply have forgotten There can be a multitude of reasons why a client hasn’t paid their outstanding bill. You can read all about them here. The workflow you can see reminds reps and clients that they need to pay their bill.
- A lead moves into a Waiting for payment status when the payment is due
- We split our workflow into three branches
- Branch A ends our workflow when payment has been received
- Branch B sends two payment reminder emails in the leadup to payment due day; it also creates a task for the dedicated sales rep to keep an eye on payment
- Branch C kicks in when payment date has been missed; we send an email upon payment date before creating a task for manual sales rep follow up the next day
Ironically, this workflow could have been included in our ‘customer retention’ section.
Anyway, it’s something as simple as not having to search for clients who haven’t paid their bills that makes a sales rep happy. This is just one of those types of jobs that sales automation can do for you. There are infinite more that can help your business. It’s flexible…
… And we wrote the Sales Automation Playbook to prove it. Download it for free and gain instant access to a bunch of sales automation workflow templates to take advantage of for your business.
Better cohesion between teams
Speaking of teams, it’s good when they work together isn’t it?
“It was like a lightbulb went off in my head.
It became clear that direct communication, aligned messaging, and mutual accountability between the two wasn’t just important. It was essential for growth. Something had to change, so I implemented smarketing — closer collaboration between our sales and marketing teams. We managed to build a steady stream of incoming leads and increase closed deals by following three, basic principles…
- Open, direct communication
- Strictly aligned messages
- Mutual accountability
Now, Marketing and Sales share the same vision and common goals. Hurrah!”
🗣️ Anna Pozniak, for Sales Hacker
That sounds good, but not just because our Anna is so eloquent. That sounds good because aligned companies churn 36% fewer customers every year, they close 38% more sales proposals, and are 72% more profitable than their unaligned competitors. With your teams working with the same customers who experience the same customer journey, they should have access to the same data to help and engage those customers when they need to.
No surprise, CRM helps you do that.👇
How does CRM benefit team alignment?
CRM data lies at the cornerstone of your business.
By knowing your customers inside out, marketers can segment their audience and target their messaging directly at the most high-quality leads. Likewise, sales teams can know what to say, when, and where. CRM data centralisation helps support teams identify problems and close tickets quicker. Even devs can use client records to draw product roadmaps based on feedback that gets logged in the system. CRM helps everybody by centralising data that matters.
Furthermore, CRM aids team alignment through collaborative features. If you’re looking for a collaborative CRM system, look for one with the following features…
- Automatic notifications and alerts
- Task management and centralisation
- Mentions and tags
- Chat applications and chat application integrations
CRM helps gauge the health of your business
A sales report is a comprehensive record of all the sales activity taking place within a company over a certain period of time.
Essentially, it provides sales managers with an overview of all the sales processes and operations carried out by the business. It both acts as a reflection of the various trends occurring in the sales volume over a particular time and gives an insight into the different steps of the sales funnel. Moreover, it also contains analytical information regarding the performance of all the sales executives on the team.
Need I say, CRM benefits sales reporting infinity-fold.
How does CRM benefit business reporting?
With data from different sources centralised and aligned within NetHunt CRM, you can build a wide range of business reports…
- Sales pipeline report
- Total sales report
- Sales by customer report
- Sales by owner report
- Sales by source report
- Lost reason report
- Sales goals report
- Time in stage report
- Lead source report
- Marketing pipeline report
Did you know about Google Data Studio?
NetHunt Connector syncs your CRM data directly into Data Studio. It currently supports basic fields and timeline items (e.g., text, number, date, dropdown, location, etc.) from all the folders that are in your CRM. Once you connect the data and it goes through an initial load, you will be able to create beautiful dashboards with all kinds of charts and tables offered by Google Data Studio or their partners.
CRM providers are here to help you learn
Okay, this might not specifically be a benefit of a CRM but rather a CRM provider.
CRM marketing rejoices in teaching you how to run your business, and there’s a lot for your business to gain from CRM provider content marketing. You can learn anything, from how best to organise CRM data, how to build a spreadsheet CRM, how to automate business processes, how to write subject lines; I could sit here all day and link old CRM Lab articles, but you can just go and find them yourself.
How do CRM providers benefit business knowledge?
There are three ways in which CRM providers benefit your business knowledge.
Like I said, there’s an ocean of content out there on the internet.
It’s written to entice you into buying a product - to educate and inform you about a product. Content comes in different shapes and forms. You might want to read a blog article to fix your problem, you can watch a video on YouTube, you can read an eBook for more in-depth solutions, analysis, and walkthroughs. Around here, content is king.
Support, demos, and customer success
Above all, choose a CRM provider that has been recognised for the level of support that it offers.
When you first sign up for a CRM free trial or subscription, the least you are entitled to is a full demo of the system. From there, a customer support team should be on hand whenever you need them to solve any problems as and when they happen. Going further, Customer Success builds long-term relationships with customers. Instead of simply reacting to their problems, you make sure there are none in the first place.
Customer Success is sustainable, teaching customers how to use a platform to its fullest potential by knowing the ins and outs of the user’s unique situation with regular check-in calls. Learn more.
Neighbours should be there for one another
That’s when good neighbours
become good friends
🗣️ Neighbours theme, 1985
If your CRM provider comes with a community where you can troubleshoot, network, ask questions, and give answers, then you know you’re onto a winner. Sometimes unofficial help is more helpful than official help, and community members can offer workarounds, tips and hints that might be outside the rules, and a network of like minded professionals that are going through the same thing as you.
Stop reading about it, check it out. You never know, you might make a friend or two.
That’s not even the full list, we’d be here all day.
See for yourself. Sign up for a free trial of NetHunt CRM and book yourself in for a free demo of the platform.
Table of Contents
Crack the sales formula with CRM Lab
Twice a month, receive actionable CRM content to your inbox.