For many businesses, customer data
is the lifeblood of their organization. Customer relationship management (CRM)
software organizes that information into a single console, making it easy to
access and search to find what you need. Modern CRM software, however, offers
much more than just a digital Rolodex. The best CRM tools make it easier to
connect with your customers and build their loyalty.
To help you find the best CRM
software for your organization, we’ve put together this guide so you can
determine the features and considerations that are most important for your
Common features of CRM software
The CRM software market is
expected to reach $113.46 billion by 2027, according to Fortune Business
Insights. This means there is an endless list of CRM vendors competing for your
business, and it can sometimes be difficult to feel confident picking the right
one for you. The best CRM software options will include these core features.
Contact and lead management
Contact and lead management is
perhaps the most fundamental component of any CRM platform. After all, if you
can’t store, monitor, and organize your customer data in a way that helps you
drive sales and increase customer retention, what’s the point? Choose a CRM
that matches your current workflow and sales process, especially if you have a
highly complicated or specialized funnel that may require custom fields.
From a sales perspective, the most
effective CRM solutions leverage artificial intelligence for predictive lead
scoring, so you and your team can prioritize the leads that are most likely to
convert to customers. Contact management is helpful for customer service as
well. This feature allows you to store notes about all of the interactions you
have with each customer, so everyone on your team is on the same page. It will
also help you personalize future interactions and deliver consistently
excellent customer service.
economy recovers, we might expect marketing spends to increase, however
marketers still need to generate maximum ROI from their spend.
Moneypenny, we’ll always consider new ways to maximise our marketing budget, so
here are some techniques from leading marketing suppliers to generate great
results, without breaking the bank.
focussing on the ‘interest’ stage of the customer journey, when they visit your
website, looking at some low-cost website enhancements, especially for those
businesses focused on driving inbound leads through to a sales team to convert.
They’ve worked well for us in the past, and we hope they’ll work for you too.
You need to
track every stage of the lead journey, from the first landing on your site, to
signing the sales contract, to discover what is or isn’t working.
Moneypenny we use a tool called Ruler Analytics to help us track our lead to
sales process. Before Ruler, we had a real disconnect between what showed in
our CRM and our website analytics, whereas now we can connect the two and for
example can see what variations in key words work best, or which marketing
campaign attracted most attention.
Smithbury, Head of Marketing at Ruler Analytics explains: “Ruler tracks all
visitors to your website, recording page views across multiple sessions. When a
visitor then calls you, completes a web form or live chat session, becoming a
lead, Ruler matches the lead data to the activity, and sends the data to your
CRM. You’ll be able to see what channel, campaign and keyword generated that
lead, and you’ll be able to see their full customer journey too. When that lead
converts into a sale, Ruler will fire all the revenue data back into your
Google Analytics and other analytics dashboards. This means you can count sales
and revenue gained through marketing, not vanity metrics like clicks and
impressions. Once you know what’s working, you can focus time and budget on the
campaigns and keywords that are bringing you revenue.”
As a result of using Ruler, Moneypenny saw an
8% increase in quality leads, and reduced its Cost per Lead (CPL) by 11%.
As a small business, in order to grow, you need to invest in the areas that deliver the biggest dividends. That’s why more and more businesses are implementing a small business CRM, or “customer relationship management” system. CRM software not only helps you stay organized and build better relationships through contact management, it pays back $8.71 for every dollar spent. That’s a 774% return on your investment. And, if you have three employees using your CRM, that’s an annual return of $20,799 for your small business.
Choosing an automated CRM software is not just a smart business practice. CRM tools can transform your operations by boosting sales through lead scoring, helping you understand and support your customers, and creating optimal processes for your teams.
Still need more persuasion? No worries, check out some big reasons why having a CRM solution is a must for your small business:
1. It Boosts Sales and Nurtures Leads
The primary benefit of any CRM for small businesses is that it helps streamline sales and boost your revenue. How?
Well, it starts with lead nurture and management after the initial lead generation. An online CRM allows your small business to capture more leads from your website and track them throughout the entire sales process. With your CRM stocked full of new contacts, you can nurture prospective buyers in your sales pipeline with targeted email campaigns until they are ready to buy.
That means your sales team can prioritize leads, spending less time on unqualified people who are never going to pull the trigger and more time closing deals.
Another big bonus of a small business CRM is that it delivers key insights so you can make smarter sales decisions. It can tell you which lead sources drive the most sales so you can allocate more time and money where it’s more beneficial. It can indicate which sales reps are struggling to hit their numbers so new strategies can be tested. And it can shed light on what your short and long-term sales forecasts look like.
Did you know that following up too late is one of the biggest reasons that companies lose customers and fail to convert prospects? A CRM software helps your sales team provide appropriate, automated follow-up to turn existing customers into long-term purchasers with ease.
2. It Helps You Understand Your Customers
The best way to serve your customers is to understand exactly what their wants, needs, pain points, and preferences are. But short of calling each client to pick their brain, this can seem like a monumental task. With a CRM, however, you can automatically gather information about your customers at a granular level and analyze that data to gain valuable insight that will help you make more intelligent customer-centric business decisions. Track trends, assess behaviors, and identify opportunities, all with a few clicks of a button.
Small business CRM software is particularly useful for companies selling complex products or companies with longer sales cycles. The constant data collection allows you to continuously perfect how you interact with each and every customer. Months of customer behavior data can be effortlessly recorded and analyzed, which lets you better understand the different decisions that guided customers throughout their entire journey.
You can use this information to improve your small business marketing, tweak your email marketing and email campaigns, website design, and sales approach until you find the optimal way to reach your target audience.
Another way you can leverage the insight gained through a CRM is to create more personalized customer experiences. When you have accurate oversight into the behaviors and preferences of your clientele, you can tailor your messaging and improve your products or services so that they are more closely aligned with their needs and expectations. Better, more personalized service is the key to differentiating your brand and developing deeper, more meaningful connections with your customers. This promotes loyalty and increases the chances of customer referrals.
3. It Improves Workflow
No matter how small your business, your sales and marketing process always has room for improvement. The reality is that most businesses have a ton of manual processes in place, such as sticky notes and spreadsheets, that kill productivity.
Small business CRM software removes the bottlenecks and makes it very easy to create workflows your team can stick to on a daily basis. Whether it’s automating follow-up on a new lead or delivering a consistent new customer onboarding process, a CRM can improve your entire team’s efficiency, from sales to customer service, which leads me to my next point.
4. It Increases Customer Support
Customer support is the backbone of every small business. It not only impacts customer retention but also your revenue.
So how do you deliver an extraordinary customer experience? By giving your support team instant access to detailed information about each and every customer. Let them discover their online history, their order information, and their past interactions with your company to ensure they really understand what each customer has gone through. A huge plus of CRM software is that it collects customer data in one place, making it easier to segment your customers based on their specific needs and interests.
5. It Maximizes Resources
Small business owners are all too familiar with the challenge of wearing multiple hats. Even mid-sized organizations struggle to make the most out of limited resources. Marketing automation and a robust CRM allow companies of any size to do more with less because technology does the heavy lifting. As a result, even businesses operating on a skeleton crew can deliver high-level service and remain competitive with organizations of every size.
With technology today, much of the sales and marketing tasks that used to be done by hand can be automated in a personalized manner. As mentioned earlier, CRM software can take care of the majority of administrative tasks, keep records, and make follow-up with contacts for you. You have more time for the activities that have the most impact, running your business and meeting with clients that are ready to buy.
6. It Enables You to Develop Best Practices
Small businesses must find a way to maximize productivity and efficiency to keep costs down and operate as profitably as possible. The best CRM software can help you identify and implement best practices to ensure that every employee remains on the same page and that the business is run like a well-oiled machine. Having these best practices in place can also make it easier to onboard new employees, bringing them up to speed faster and providing them with the marketing tools and information they need to do their jobs more effectively.
With customer relationship management software in place, your small business can drive more sales, delight your customers, and be more productive. With everything a CRM can do for you, can you really afford not to have one?
It’s no secret that companies need to generate sales leads to grow their business, but it’s a much more convoluted task than it sounds. Lead generation and management encompass an array of marketing, content, and analytics tools working in sync to supplement the workflow of employees in a company.
The suite of tools and strategies required for effective lead management is the focus of massive customer relationship management (CRM) software systems offered by firms like Salesforce, SAP, and Creatio. They comprise the head of what is expected to be a CRM industry hauling in $80 billion in revenue by 2025, and which serves as a progressively critical pillar of modern business success.
In a digital era where content channels are diversifying, and consumer preferences are tenuous, acquiring new customers is the holy grail of sustainable growth.
Fusing Marketing, Sales, And Content Management
Modern businesses require agile and automated task management, especially mid-size and larger companies with data-intensive tasks. CRM systems are a vital tool for these businesses to reduce overhead costs and operate on margins that would otherwise be unsustainable without software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
In Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Managementreport, CRM lead management is defined as the process of capturing leads, tracking their activities and behavior, qualifying them, giving them constant attention to make them sales-ready, and then passing them on to the sales team.
A snapshot of what Gartner defines as CRM lead management would include strategic market campaigns for capturing the “micro-moments” attention of potential customers, user-friendly interfaces for sales teams to engage with customers, and analytics that curate and furnish actionable data to business development teams.
And all of this is in the scope of lead management integrating itself further with the broader marketing and business operations of companies.
The Gartner reports also states that there is a significant shift toward lead management functionality being part of a larger CRM or marketing solution.
A central focus of incorporating lead management functionality into business operations, like marketing, relies on aggregating multiple content and gateway channels – like e-commerce, progressive web apps (PWA), and content mediums. However, the path towards a synergy of business intelligence, sales tracking, and data insights can be complicated. For CRM systems, the purpose is to abstract away the underlying complexity, creating a user-friendly interface in the process – where the back-end tasks are automated and not necessary for users to understand.
“Businesses want a CRM platform that is both easy to use and easy to customize to specific business needs,” details Katherine Kostereva, CEO of Creatio. “The goal is to leverage agile products with low-code capabilities, meaning that businesses can automate their ideas and operations in minutes with minimal friction.”
This way companies can minimize costs with multiple aspects of lead generation and management combined with user-friendly interfaces, but the real power behind CRM systems is derived from the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the industry.
Data Mining & Advanced Analytics
The data footprints produced by consumers and businesses across the Internet’s B2C and B2B landscape are highly actionable but require discerning the signal from mountains of noise. That’s where AI and ML have made an outsized impact on lead generation.
“Traditionally, AI and ML have been used to automate tasks that have already been discovered or are already integrated with the business,” says Kostereva. “However, these days companies of various sizes and industries leverage the power of AI for sales forecasting, augmented analytics, and curating big data into actionable information for sales teams.”
AI and ML tools can even be deployed for developing proprietary score models on the quality and accuracy of lead generations, and also estimate the likelihood of purchasing products or services from a company. Rather than shooting in the dark with cold leads, AI tools of CRM systems can filter out calls and leads that don’t have high chances of conversion – increasing employee productivity significantly.
Mirroring this sentiment, a different Gartner report projects how augmented analytics of AI and ML will eventually drive business intelligence software – especially lead management and generation. Ultimately, the software’s capability in the lead generation and workflow category is why SaaS is so popular among corporate and mid to large-sized businesses.
“Companies want to accelerate, and for this, the right strategy, and well-designed processes are not enough,” says Kostereva. “Companies need systems that help align data, processes, and teams enabling them to better connect with digital native customers and rapidly adapt.”
As the digital world develops, businesses will need to adapt to remain relevant. CRM’s have provided the support that corporate enterprises need to excel amongst increasing market competition, and the parallel evolution of advanced lead generation tools in CRM systems is poised to remain the holy grail of growth acceleration.
you considered hiring a lead generation expert for your company? Whether it’s a
newly founded startup or an up-and-running company, every business can benefit
from the right lead generation expert.
getting new clients has proven to be a wild goose chase, hiring a lead
generation consultant can undoubtedly do wonders for your company.
generation stands right after other marketing techniques in the conversion funnel.
Depending on the type of your business and your preferences, you could be using
direct calls, emails, landing pages, or chatbots for direct marketing. First of
all, your lead generation consultant will help you ensure all the marketing
techniques you use that lead up to the conversion process are productive.
being omnipresent for outreach, marketing experts consider it best practice to
be wherever your customers are for lead generation. So, you must take into
account the processes taking place before turning potential customers into
leads. Consumer research always comes first because it will help your company
make the most out of future campaigns.
it comes to your campaigns, research insights will also shed some light on the
need to segregate them to optimize conversions even further. For example,
potentials leads across different age groups sometimes call for campaign
diversification. This way, you can segregate the conversion process and won’t
have to worry about not making the most out of your campaign efforts. To
further optimize the campaign effects, your lead generation consultant may use
split testing, also called A/B testing.
Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, stood in front of the failing sales department
of Premiere Properties in David Mamet’s 1992 Glengarry Glen Ross and told them
that all but the top two salespeople would be fired in a week, Jack Lemmon’s
character, Shelley, said, “The leads are weak.” While I cannot
condone how Blake reacts to that statement (or really anything at all about
that infamous and abusive monologue), one message I think Blake touches on is
vital to extrapolate: “The leads are weak? You’re weak!” And while
this was a line designed to chastise poor Shelley and shame him into
performing, the message that lead generation is an internal problem, not an
external one, is worth our attention.
undoubtedly essential to have a database of opt-in leads (as opposed to
unwilling ones), and it is equally important to work that database of leads to
convert them into customers or clients. However, the best leads in the world
will do you no good if you haven’t first done work on yourself.
have the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips. No matter what your
product or service, they have countless competitors to compare you with. So
your ability to reach them and deliver your message or sales pitch is
completely inconsequential when compared to who you are and how you present yourself.
With so many options available to them, your leads are looking to see if you
are relevant to them and if you are the right fit.
LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B targeting in the PPC space, bar none.
In recent years, LinkedIn has become a more popular destination for users to consume content. Rather than seeing what your great aunt ate for lunch on Facebook or hearing someone yell about politics on Twitter, you can check LinkedIn to see what your contacts are up to and what topics are trending in your industry. For advertisers, the targeting options allow you to zone in on just about any part of your audience’s profile, and since the platform also has many benefits for their users, it’s in their best interest to keep their profiles up to date.
That’s why LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to generate higher quality B2B leads. But, if that’s your goal, you need to know that not all strategies are created equal.
Here, I want to talk about LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads and some best practices for you to leverage in your account. Let’s dive in!
Have something valuable to offer
This is the biggest issue I see with advertisers on LinkedIn. Every business thinks what they have to offer is amazing—and I’m sure your product or service absolutely is. But that doesn’t mean it’s appealing for someone to start hard selling you on their offerings without generating any type of connection with you.
Perla is the Co-founder and CEO of Edifius, an AI software company which has a product called Simba. Simba is a machine learning AI conversational voice spot. The purpose of this machine is to pick up businesses phones and has a human-like conversation with the caller in order to answer leads’ frequently asked questions and schedule appointments.
Edifius is a B2B startup. The most efficient marketing channel that they’ve started to generate leads is expos and conferences; out of 10 leads they talk to, 3 or 4 of them signup to their platform.
How Kudo generates leads with Fardad Zabetian
Fardad is the founder and CEO of Kudo, a language as a service platform for enabling video calls, web conferences and in-person meetings, with live language translation. Businesses can speak with their partners, teams and remote employees in their own language. The purpose is to remove language barriers among businesses, save them time and create opportunities.
Kudo has a magical feature called a language elector inside the platform, which allows them to select the language to join the meeting.
For a majority of managed service providers (MSPs), lead generation can be a struggle. As a business owner, you might think you lack the time and resources, but there are a few easy ways to get started. Below, we’ve put together a series of tips to help with lead generation, regardless of your business size.
Create a Lead Generation Plan
The purpose of a lead generation plan is to create a list of potential clients and to determine how many clients you’ll need to meet your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) goals. First, consider your ratio of leads to closed deals. (For example, let’s say on average you close one deal for every 10 prospects.) Next, consider your average deal size. (Let’s say your typical monthly contract is around $2,000.) Now, use this information to calculate the number of leads necessary to meet your MRR goal. For example, imagine that your goal is $20,000 MRR. If your average monthly contract is $2,000, you’ll need to have 10 clients that month. If you close one in every 10 deals, you’ll need a list of 100 leads or more to reach your goal.
Want to focus on growth? Develop a lead generation plan that outlines the percentage of growth you’d like to see month over month. Then use the process above.
In our daily lives, we are immersed in constantly changing flows of information and data. Just think of our Facebook wall, the Youtube channels we subscribe to, the news that flows through our TV screen…. As Kevin Kelly well notes in his latest book, “we are constantly immersed in rivers of notifications and updates.”
Our attention-grabbing ability fails to keep pace with technological evolution, which gives us access to an unprecedented amount of information. Disseminated in a variety of channels, and always at hand thanks to the different devices, we access a mass of data in the form of videos, words, and images.
In this changed scenario, even our ability to discern what we are interested in, which areas that we want to deepen our understanding or what we want to buy, is put to the test. How to understand what is valuable or what is not?
According to the classic models of the purchasing process that analyze consumer behavior to determine the basis of the consumer decision journey, the most critical phase is the evaluation of alternatives. In this decisive moment, many variables come into play that each play a fundamental role: from evaluating what motivates a person to buy to how a person perceives a company (which is driven by marketing), to the information that the consumer himself seeks out.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
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