In a recent survey conducted by Aberdeen, 40% of respondents reported that their sales reps are spending over 20% of their time looking for information and intelligence on customers and 7% reported their sales reps are spending more than half of their time on such activities; time that would be better spent on value-added sales tasks. This report makes it clear that something is amiss, aren’t CRM systems supposed to make information gathering fast and easy and allow sales people more time to work on selling? Yes, but more often than not, these inefficiencies are not caused by the system itself. Learn how you can ensure your B2B CRM system is delivering on its productivity promises by following these best practices.
4 Tips for Effective B2B CRM Software Success:
1. Start with the process: CRM systems tend to take the brunt of the blame when something goes wrong but in most cases, the system is not to blame for inefficiencies and CRM system failure, your processes are. When selecting and using CRM software, you must focus on more than just product, you have to focus on sales processes too. Putting powerful features and functions on top of disorganized and ineffective processes will not yield results, no matter which system you’re using. CRM coach, Jim Berkotize, did a great job of explaining this concept when he said, “if you’re on the wrong road you don’t need a faster car, you need to alter your route; a fast care only enables you to go wrong more quickly.” (tweet this quote!)
Takeaway: The first step in selecting B2B CRM software is sorting out your internal sales processes, then finding the system that matches up with them.
2. Define your objectives: Many have a tough time recognizing success with their system because they fail to develop a strategy. Like other technologies, CRM is the tool used to put a strategy into play- without a strategy, what is your CRM system doing? Make sure the strategy you build is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
Takeaway: In order to achieve sales and business growth goals, you must first carefully define them and then figure out how CRM will help you get there, which features you need, and which you can do without.
3. Don’t scrimp on research: Once you’ve outlines the above, there is a lot more to be done when it comes to researching the CRM systems that will best fit into your now define goals and processes. Some general tips for making your CRM selection include:
- Buying technology that fits your size and functionality requirements.
- Looking for a solution and vendors who are already working in your industry and vertical to ensure as little customization as possible
- Never make a major technology purchase from a vendors just because they are a big-name. you’d be surprised at how many people assume a certain solution is a good fit just because it is coming from the biggest and most well-known vendor out there. many times there will be a better fit and better price tag on smaller solutions.
- Make sure it matches up with your overall technology and infrastructure and that any necessary integrations with current systems will be supported
- Be aware of the different ways B2B CRM software is priced to ensure you are not confused about the total cost of ownership (TCO) of each system you evaluate; click here to learn more about CRM pricing structures.
Takeaway: the research you put into finding the right B2B CRM software solution is going to play a major role in the perceived success or failure of your CRM system. This is not a step to be glanced over or rushed through.
4. Make adjustments along the way: when it comes to CRM, your work is never done. Your business and your processes will change over time so you need to make sure your CRM system reflects those changes. By fine-tuning the system and making even those tiny adjustments along the way, you will avoid leaving the system behind, a common reason companies and sales teams consider their systems as a failure.
Takeaway: CRM is not a set-it-and-forget-it system, you must continually make adjustments as your internal sales processes and objectives change. Ignoring even the slightest adjustment can impact productivity levels more than you think.