Many businesses are investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems because providing excellent customer service is a top priority. In the B2B space, where businesses tend to know their customers on a more one-to-one basis than B2C, a wise CRM system investment and correct usage is even more vital.
Here are some CRM best practices B2B businesses should follow:
- Have a clear vision
- Choose a CRM that fits your business needs
- Get your team’s buy-in
- Train your team
- Use automation
- Encourage collaboration
- Analyse your data
- Work with an implementation partner
1. Have a clear vision
It’s easy to think that technology is the answer to all your challenges. In reality, it’s only part of the answer. You also need to use that tech properly and ensure that it fits with the rest of your business.
So, before you choose a CRM, think about what challenges you’re facing and what you want to accomplish. Then, consider how a CRM fits into all that.
2. Choose a CRM that fits your business needs
Speaking of solving business challenges, you need to choose a CRM that actually ticks all of those boxes. There are many CRM systems out there but not all of them are created equally. You need to properly research your options, from their capabilities to their weaknesses and even the vendors.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you want something on-premise or on the cloud?
- Do you need additional support from the vendor?
- Do you need something that’s highly flexible and easily customised or will out-of-the-box be fine?
3. Get your team’s buy-in
If you don’t get your team’s approval before any business change, you’ll struggle to get the best results. So, before you introduce your new CRM or even the mere idea of switching to a new one, get your team’s thoughts.
Make sure they’re kept in the loop right from the very start. For example, you could have representatives from each relevant team at the initial planning meetings. This ensures your messaging isn’t diluted and your teams will feel as though their ideas are valued.
4. Train your team
The right CRM system offers many benefits but if you don’t use it properly, the tool basically turns into an expensive filing system for your customer data. That’s why you must focus on training your teams to use the new CRM - even if they’ve used a similar system in the past.
Consider testing your employees on what they’ve learnt to make sure they’ve understood everything properly. Retraining on a regular basis is a great idea too - to ensure information is being retained and your employees are following best practices.
5. Use automation
The best CRM systems include sales force automation features. For example:
- Leads being automatically assigned based on custom metrics
- Lead qualification notifications
- Automated data entry
- AI-driven insights to help you keep on top of emerging market trends
- Sales relationship notifications so you can keep an eye on at-risk deals and take action
As you can see, CRMs are designed to help your business by handling much of the manual work, like data entry and collection. This reduces the chances of human errors and boosts your team’s productivity. Less time spent on repetitive tasks, more time on other business-critical projects.
You can read more on how sales force automation can improve your sales and marketing strategies here.
6. Encourage collaboration
A CRM system has this remarkable ability to consolidate customer data from multiple sources so you no longer need to trawl through several disparate systems to find what you need. What this also means is it facilitates cross-team collaboration.
A CRM system ensures the same information can be easily accessed by any department within your business which boosts productivity and efficiency. Great CRMs even integrate with core business systems to encourage file sharing. For example, Dynamics 365 CRM connects with Office 365 and Microsoft Teams so your employees can easily share files across various functions and geographical locations.
7. Analyse your data
CRMs capture and efficiently organise huge amounts of data. To truly maximise the benefits of this capability, you need to ensure you’re also analysing that data. The best CRM systems come with intuitive, built-in analytics features and automatically present the results to you.
For example, Dynamics 365 CRM offers the following features:
- Lead scoring models so you can quickly prioritise your leads, especially the ones who are more likely to convert and buy
- Deeper insights into how customers interact so you can tailor your communications
- Relationship health notifications so you can swiftly identify at-risk relationships
- Predictive forecasting
- Deal flow visualisation so you can easily monitor and review pipeline changes
Intuitive features like the above can save your teams time. Now they can focus more on analysing that data and coming up with next best steps.
8. Work with an implementation partner
System implementations aren’t simple projects. That’s why many businesses opt to outsource over taking it in-house. When you outsource, you can benefit from:
- Not needing to hire new employees or putting a team together in-house
- Not needing to manage your in-house team’s capacity (everyone involved on the implementation project will need to have their day-to-day tasks handled by someone else, unless you’re hiring a team just for the implementation)
- Having more time back as you don’t need to train your in-house team or manage the project
- Working with people who are experts in CRM implementations across a range of industries
- Still ‘leading’ the project (as your approval on deliverables will be required) but not needing to actually do the heavy work
It’s best to work with CRM experts if you’re to get the most out of your system
At the end of the day, the ideal approach is to work closely with someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to CRM systems - from implementation to everyday management. However, there are several things to consider when you’re choosing your CRM partner, such as what you should be asking when you’re selecting one and how it compares to handling the process in-house.
Our guide covers everything you might want to know in more detail. Download the guide to CRM implementations via the button below to learn more.