From tweaking your product to getting the word out, every aspect of your operational process contributes to the overall success of your business. While this means there are plenty of opportunities to improve and grow, it also means that there is a lot to keep track of, which is why you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Here are the benefits of CRM for your business and your sales team.
And then there’s everything outside the business.
No organization works in isolation, and staying in tune with the market and industry you operate in is just as important as knowing what’s going on internally.
You have a knack for spotting new opportunities, but if you want to grow your business and build your team, you need visibility across your entire business and every member of your organization needs to be aligned.
There’s an entire industry of software tools designed to help you keep your finger on the pulse of your business, and it goes by the name of customer relationship management (CRM) software.
So, What are the key benefits of CRM software? In short, CRM can help your business:
But how do you take advantage of customer relationship management to do that?
Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch insists that the secret to making it to the top of your industry (and staying there) starts on the inside:
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Welch left GE in 2001, but his words about the importance of transforming learning into actions still ring true today.
In an era when all the information you need is at your fingertips, managers are overwhelmed by the amount of company data in their grasp. KPIs, conversion rates, sales forecasts, NPS scores, traffic stats, budget info: the list of numbers and the quantity of spreadsheets goes on and on and on.
Tracking performance metrics allows you to make better decisions—your future success hinges on how well it’s done—so successful companies invest in the best possible data management tools available.
But most companies neglect data management, including customer data.
Excel was used as a primary finance tool by 69% of American companies with annual revenues under $25 million in 2018—a prime example of how many organizations aren’t making use of newer and more effective tools to keep track of how they’re doing.
Spreadsheets are not the most user-friendly way to share data within a small team. For a business looking to grow, spreadsheets can become a significant productivity-killer. They also require a lot of manual data entry and increase the risk of human error.
If you do swear by spreadsheets for finance, sales and all manner of company data management just make sure that the reasons stem from a data-driven strategy, and not a fear of change.
Dimension Data’s 2017 Digital Workplace Report surveyed over 850 companies and found that 62% perceived IT barriers as the biggest obstacle to adopting new technologies, however helpful, to the workplace.
The same study also found that 61% haven’t defined a strategy for how technology is used within their workplace.
If you truly believe IT is your biggest obstacle to implementing a dream data management strategy that you know will take your business to the next level, then it’s time for you to consider a CRM.
One of the key benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) system is that it is designed to break down the communication silos in your organization. In other words, it gets you and everyone around you organized.
CRM systems give you and your team easy access to the insights needed to steer themselves towards their goals by integrating the communication, analytics, forecasting, and data handling tools of your company. For more details on the basics of CRMs read our guide ‘What is a CRM system?’.
As technologically advanced as they may sound, the best CRM tools are also easy to integrate, user-friendly and totally manageable without any expert IT knowledge or support—and many CRM providers also have onboarding for new customers and support staff. Away goes the “IT barrier” problem and in comes a new era of higher productivity and focus.
Here are 3 ways adopting a CRM tool can really help you benefit and give you a competitive edge:
Manual data entry is not only less reliable, but also a waste of your most important resource: time. You should be focusing your efforts on more strategic activities )like actually selling). A CRM will automate the collection of important information about customers, leads and more through a wide range of features designed to make you more productive.
Most CRM software options also integrate with your existing communication tools, allowing you to sync inboxes and calendars for efficient and error-free time management—meaning you’ll spend so much less time switching between tabs and duplicating tasks.
2. Easily manage processes through pipelines
A static view of what your sales, talent acquisition, or production processes look like has its limitations. While it gives you and your team a framework for how to operate, and an overview of the steps it takes to complete a specific process, you can’t ensure consistent execution or track performance in real time.
And, as you know, things rarely go according to your initial plans.
Using customizable pipelines, CRM tools help you and your team visualize even the most complex processes. These not only make it easier to keep track of performance, but this practical approach to process management makes it easier to tweak and improve based on live results.
3. Get visual data insights when you need them
Instead of sifting through spreadsheets for hours, CRMs give you a snapshot of your most vital sales stats on a visual and easy-to-read dashboard. Moreover, CRM software often comes with goal tracking and revenue forecasting features, which use existing data as it comes in to help you pinpoint your progress and monitor performance.
“Digital transformation is no longer an initiative used by progressive companies to increase efficiency or gain a competitive edge over their peers—it is a requirement for all businesses to thrive in the future.” - Gartner
The majority of CRM tools are cloud-based, meaning that the data is secure and accessible no matter where you are. The future of the workplace is not just digital, it’s mobile. Learn more about cloud CRMs.
In one study, Gartner predicts that over 50% of the world’s international enterprises will fully transition to an all-in cloud strategy by 2021. Unsurprisingly, Dimension Data’s findings support this, citing that as much as 46% of surveyed organizations see the adoption of cloud-based services as more beneficial and cost-effective.
Lightweight and scalable, CRM software is designed to grow alongside your business, making it the ultimate tool of choice if you’re looking to grow your team and your revenue.
For more guidance on finding the ideal CRM, read our article on a CRM’s advantages and three steps to finding the best for you.
Scaling your annual profits boils down to one of two main approaches:
While financial cost reduction tends to get all the attention from businesses aiming for higher profitability, one of the highest and most easily overlooked costs comes in the currency of time.
According to a US study of over 500 managers in 2018, around 23% of subjects spent five or more hours a day tracking hours, sending emails, or managing data, and 36% spent three to four hours. This means that the majority of surveyed managers spent 50% or more of their day tackling administrative work.
While this study is not representative, if you take a look at your own schedule you will most likely agree that the amount of time spent on admin is higher than you’d like it to be.
Now multiply those hours by the number of people in your team and do the math.
That’s a lot of admin time.
Considering how all these precious hours could otherwise be spent on revenue-driving activities, a simple shift in how your workplace operates can help you and your team access a wave of untapped revenue-generating potential.
Pipedrive was designed by salespeople who believed they were spending way too much time not selling.
Pipedrive’s CRM software was developed to address the huge time cost of repetitive tasks.
Inefficient information gathering and tracking systems don’t just eat into your workday, they also hinder your ability to react to business opportunities and threats.
Pipedrive was built to give managers and salespeople the time and visibility they needed to focus on growth—one of the biggest benefits of CRM. The most important productivity-enhancing aspect of this CRM software is that it encourages activity-based selling.
Most sales teams tend to focus on end-results like sales targets, which are outside you and your team’s control. Instead, Pipedrive is designed to encourage you to focus on the tasks and actions that drive sales and reduce the amount of time you spend on activities that do not.
Below are a few admin-reducing features that help Pipedrive users spend more time on profit-generating activities.
Tap into the collective power of your team by keeping everyone on the same page. Automatic notifications via email or messaging service are designed to keep your team in the loop and avoid any lost opportunities.
Pipedrive’s prompts help you stay productive, keep you up to date on important deals and scheduled meetings, and tell you when to follow-up with clients or customers.
2. Use filters to segment and target leads
If you’re in the midst of sealing a deal with a client, pitching an important idea to your superiors, or presenting quarterly results to your team, having key data at your fingertips is priceless.
While you can filter information on a single Excel spreadsheet, and even multiple spreadsheets with a bit of work, setting it all up takes time. Not to mention the fact that maintaining the same hierarchy of information and templates as you share editing rights with your teammates is a whole other challenge.
Pipedrive makes it easy to customize filters and search criteria for important information about your sales, customers and leads. Even a couple of seconds can make or break a sale, and in the long term you save hours in spreadsheet admin.
3. Integrate and assimilate all your tools in one place
There is no single perfect tool for every company task.
Different companies, teams and individuals may have their own preferred email provider, email marketing tool, or calendar. While stratification of tools in your team is an inevitable part of growth, there’s no reason why the information can’t be all in one place.
By allowing users to sync their CRM’s inbox and calendar with Google, Apple and Microsoft, Pipedrive acts as a hub for all important sales communications in your organization or team. Important emails, texts and calendar events are automatically added to relevant deals and contacts, and are visible to everyone who needs to see them.
In addition to admin tools like inboxes and calendars, Pipedrive’s Marketplace offers a growing collection of direct integrations. You can connect email marketing services like MailChimp to your segmented database of customers, or integrate with Zapier and automate processes and actions within Pipedrive.
Sometimes less is more, and using a single platform for your digital tools can save you a fortune in time costs.
While Pipedrive was designed with salespeople in mind, the software is used for a wide range of business functions, including recruitment at SpaceX.
If you are interested in different CRM use cases you can check these out, or you can read on about the magic of sales process management.
The importance of a clear sales process
Depending on what your business is selling, your sales process can range from super simple to extremely complex. Either way it’s fine, as long as you and your team know when and what is happening at all times.
One way to take the pain out of sales process management, and to help you spot revenue-boosting opportunities for improvement, is by making use of sales pipelines.
What is a sales pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a visual representation of your sales process. It gives you and your team a clear snapshot of how your deals are going, clearly communicating the following four pieces of information in one image:
Often, sales teams struggle to pinpoint the holes in their sales process. Are they following up too late? Perhaps too soon? Are leads not moving beyond the initial contact stage and, if so, does your lead qualification process need some tweaking?
Essential information such as how long your deals stay in each stage of the process can help you spot larger issues with your selling process as a whole. This simplifies and shortens the learning process, and gives you the knowledge you need to improve.
Learn more about how Pipedrive can help you manage your sales pipeline.
As we’ve seen, cost and IT barriers tend to stop companies from investing in workplace technology. For small businesses in particular, the idea of implementing automation tools and CRMs seems like a luxury expense for a later stage.
To be fair, some CRM tools are notoriously clunky, demand extensive staff training and have hefty monthly costs. But not all CRMs are heavy on your wallet or schedule. Pipedrive is designed to be lean, adaptable and scalable, all while giving you all the benefits of CRM software.
“No organization ever created an innovation. People innovate, not companies.”
As a manager, the benefits of tools that give you visibility on performance are undeniable. But there’s a lot more to the health of a company than performance, sales figures and stats.
All businesses are made up of people. Every individual has his or her own motivations and goals within the company they work in, and need to feel satisfied with their jobs in order to perform at their best.
This applies across all industries and roles, and while it may sound like something separate to workplace technology, studies prove again and again that this is not the case.
According to a 2018 study conducted by Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard company, there is a strong positive correlation between employee satisfaction and digital technology at the workplace.
“Employees who work in fully-enabled digital workplaces where new workplace technologies are in widespread use were 51% more likely to have strong job satisfaction, 43% more likely to be positive about their work-life balance, 60% more likely to say they are motivated at work, and 91% more likely to praise their company’s vision.”
Not all tasks are made equal, and repetitive admin work is an easy motivation killer. By investing in technology to automate administrative tasks, you give your team more time to focus on value-adding activities that require their unique skills and give meaning to their life at work.
It’s about more than simply boosting productivity, and ensuring that the majority of your team members’ work week is spent on challenging tasks drives up engagement and, as a result, job satisfaction.
Once you’re sure that adopting a CRM tool into your workplace is the right move it’s time to decide which one is best for your business' individual needs.
There are plenty of CRM tools available on the market, each of them with different benefits, strengths and weaknesses. Identifying the one that will work best for you and your team will depend on the specific features you need, as well as the budget you are working with.
Research is an essential part of making this or any decision, and you can start by contrasting the price and features of the most popular CRM tools on the market using our CRM comparison tool.
Or, if you want suggestions on how you can compare CRM tools while researching them, read our article on 7 red flags to watch for when you do a CRM system comparison.
If a more practical approach to research is more your thing you can test out Pipedrive’s features on any plan for free in a 14-day trial. Sign up today and find out why over 90,000 companies choose Pipedrive as their go-to productivity platform.
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