CRM optimization — Get More Value from Your CRM System
- You are never done growing customer relationships or improving business results. That's why Customer Relationship Management is a journey.
- To accelerate that journey, CRM 2.0 is a framework that applies best practices to advance CRM technology for improvements to user objectives such as productivity and personal performance outcomes; customer objectives such as improved customer experiences; and business objectives such as increased customer acquisitions, share and retention.
- And here's an atypical upside of the CRM 2.0 movement. You generally don't need to buy more software. Research published in the CRM Benchmark Report found that companies, on average, use less than 26% of their CRM software capabilities. That leaves a lot of potential to use existing technology to ratchet up top line revenues and bottom-line savings, and vastly improve the financial return on a big investment.
For too many companies, their Customer Relationship Management system has become a necessary but unappreciated and underutilized application that aids data sharing and improved customer service, but not much more.
In fact, research published in the CRM Benchmark Report found that companies, on average, use less than 26% of the applications capabilities. That leaves a lot of potential for improved process automation, information reporting and business outcomes. And it's driving a movement to leverage this untapped technology.
The CRM 2.0 movement applies CRM best practices and techniques to advance CRM software for continuous improvements to user objectives such as productivity and personal performance outcomes; customer objectives such as improved customer experiences; and business objectives such as increased customer acquisitions, share and retention.
Tapping in to more of the CRM application software you already have not only offers a low cost, high payback value proposition but also increases user adoption, software utilization and technology ROI.
Below are some of the methods and CRM best practices we regularly deploy with clients to elevate CRM value and drive progressively greater user, customer and company outcomes.
Improve CRM for Improved Sales
CRM delivers the most value when it contributes to the biggest business outcomes. For the sales force, the most important outcomes include improving salesperson productivity, growing the sales pipeline, increasing the salesforce win rate and accelerating revenue growth.
Research findings published in the Sales Excellence Report revealed 9 Sales Best Practices that most impact the top 4 sales outcomes. They are shown below.
Your CRM can be designed to achieve each of the above sales best practices. Many times, software modification is required. For example, growing strategic accounts requires a strategic account plan. That's not something you will find in most CRM applications. However, inserting a custom object and form can deliver a purpose-built strategic account plan that identifies future sale opportunities for key accounts, sequences actions to advance those opportunities, applies customer data to make the plan highly personalized, relevant and contextual, and ultimately grows customer share and revenue from the account. It takes some effort, but dramatically expands CRM value.
Check out the CRM optimization for sales outcomes for more examples and insights.
Improve CRM for Improved Marketing
The Marketing Transformation Report found that the Best-in-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent) pursued four business outcomes to achieve their top results. Those outcomes include marketing's lead contribution to the sales pipeline, marketing's revenue contribution to the company, Marketing ROI (often referred to as ROMI for Return on Marketing Investment) and improving the company's brand reach and recognition.
The report also advised the Best-in-Class marketers adopted most or mix of 9 marketing best practices to achieve those four outcomes.
CRM can provide the data capture, process automation and analytics for each of the 9 marketing best practices. But similar to the sales best practices, the application will need to be modified to achieve these advanced results.
For example, very few CRM systems capture marketing cost so they are unable to calculate marketing ROI. Similarly, few systems measure brand impact, create dynamic Ideal Customer Profiles (ICP), generate buyer insights or deliver complete campaign attribution needed for accurate campaign reporting to name only a few things. However, CRM systems are extensible and you can use their application constructs (i.e., PaaS tools or low-code apps) to support these high impact marketing best practices, and significantly elevate the value of your CRM system.
Improve CRM for Improved Customer Service
The Customer Service Excellence research report found that the Best-in-Class contact centers focused on the below five business outcomes to achieve their top performance results.
- The Agent Experience
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and the Customer Experience (CX)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and customer retention
- Cost to Serve
- The contact center's contribution to Revenue Growth
The below diagram shows both the most important customer service business outcomes and the 9 best practices to achieve them.
Your CRM software can be designed to facilitate these outcomes. But similar to the sales and marketing outcomes, some CRM modification is required. For example, few CRM systems calculate the essential metric of customer lifetime value (CLV) and even fewer calculate customer health scores that can be used to detect customers at risk of churn.
But again, these key performance indicators can be added using the application constructs, automated with CRM workflow tools and measured with CRM dashboards or other packaged analytics.
The Point is This
Most companies focus on time and cost when implementing CRM software. It makes sense to get the application into production quickly. But that's the starting point, not the destination.
CRM is a journey, and to get progressively more value from your application, you need advance it to deliver progressively bigger user, customer and company outcomes. CRM is under-utilized when operated as a transaction-based technology system. But when CRM is designed to directly drive the company's most important business outcomes, it becomes a business transformation solution the company cannot live without.