Take Your CRM to the Next Level: Integration, Personalization, and Customization are the Keys to Success

Most businesses believe that they are using the most of their customer relationship management system (CRM), and many admit that they know they are not but continue to use limited features and pay the subscription fee anyways. Save yourself money — and more importantly, use your CRM so that it works for the benefit of your business, like it’s supposed to — and take it to the next level.

There are so many things you can do to improve the use of your CRM. Consider for a moment that making a few changes in how much effort you put into using your CRM software correctly can pay off on a real and tangible level — why wouldn’t you use your CRM that you’re already paying for, more effectively, to add monetary value to your business?

Whatever your reasons are, there are a few tips below that can help you get the most out of your CRM and get a better ROI (return on investment).

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Out-of-the-box isn’t enough: Personalize your CRM

Personalize Communication

While this first tip seems like a complete no-brainer, most companies still do not personalize their communication within their CRM software — they either download or sign in — and let the CRM do the rest. Take that extra step and personalize your communication in order to build customer confidence in your business/services and products.

Personalizing makes a huge difference in read and response rates — products are commoditized, so you need to differentiate your business from others — and the way to do this is by personalizing your communications with your potential and existing customers.

Knowing what channels a customer prefers to communicate through and leveraging the customer’s past history of service issues and purchases can make all the difference. Try sending customers proactive personalized emails on complementary products to the ones they may have already purchased. If you know a customer dislikes social media but prefers email (or vice versa), you can contact customers according to their preferences and increase your odds of additional sales.

You can also use things such as alert, which few companies take advantage of. However, in order to send alerts (such as sending a customer an alert email on a product they would purchase only when it is on sale), you need to do something first — have a unified customer record.

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Unify Your Customer Record

Very few companies make sure they have a unified customer record — however, it is crucial to achieving personalization, customer satisfaction, and relevant messaging to potential and existing customers. Your CRM software should record every interaction with customers through any and all channels.

If your business systems are integrated, this is not difficult — but most of the time, businesses use one tool for email-based customer service agents and another for call center agents (and sometime a third for the marketing group) — this is too compartmentalized and your business only suffers when it is compartmentalized.

Integration between departments is a must-have. If your departments and groups are not sharing information or communicating, either due to internal waring or lack of system integration, then you are missing out on revenue. It’s as simple as that.

With system integration comes a more complete view of customers — a unified record that all employees and departments can pull from when needed. This is important in additional ways that may not be initially obvious. For example, if a customer had service issues on a transaction in the last month, you will know it would be best to avoid targeting them with a sales email or call — you can also send them complimentary offers through their preferred channels based on past purchases.

Remember, CRM is not just an acronym — it’s customer relationship management — the key to business.

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Upgrade your CRM Technology

If you are sitting on a years-old CRM that was installed five or even ten years ago — it’s time to upgrade. Most CRMs haven’t been touched since they were installed and that’s a shame because the technology has improved significantly in the past few years. Not only do you no longer need on-premise installation but you can run the best CRM systems from the cloud.

With technology offering huge advantages such as social media integration, plug-in/add-ons, advanced analysis, marketing bundles, personalized customer services, and more, today’s CRMs are better than ever and more versatile to boot.

Common software upgrades include new mobility options, social media capabilities, proactive notifications, alerts, and other functions that will allow your business to better understand your customers and their shopping behaviors.

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Integrate with Social Media

Social media is one of the most important additions to newer CRMs. These tools will let you participate in a range of social media platforms while keeping track of response analysis, receiving full monitoring, and tracking one’s marketing tools.

Once you add social media to CRM software, it gives you a great opportunity to communicate directly with customers and have them come directly to you based on their interests. The key to making social media work for your business in a CRM context is to spend more time listening — not messaging. If you listen to the trends, see what people are posting and sharing and liking, and reading your analysis right, you can then respond most effectively in a way that will bring monetary value to your company (as well as establish a positive reputation).

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Add a Full/Advanced Analytics Tool

Upgrade or choose a CRM system that offers a full-fledged/advanced analytics tool. To truly get the most of your CRM, you have to know that you are hitting all of the cylinders with your customers. This means tactical measures such as marketing, sales figures, ROI, profitability, social media integration, and more. However, newer areas such as social media are more difficult to measure and analyze than sales figures and email tracking.

The best way to analyze is to employ a CRM with business intelligence tools — companies such as SAS, Oracle, and SAP are offering on-demand and on-premise tools such as this. To better understand your data and turn it into actionable information, advanced analytics tools made to analyze different areas of your business are crucial. Compare CRM softwares and cut out the ones without the analytics tools that you need.

With your new full-fledged analytics, you can then fine-tune your approach to specific campaigns, existing customers, and potential customers. This will increase your ROI on your CRM system and increase the revenue of your business. Just take the time to make a few changes when it comes to personalization, upgrading, and investing in your CRM.

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