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Many sales teams moved to virtual selling in 2020, shifting paradigms and reducing face-to-face company communication and collaboration.
A modern, integrated, cohesive customer relationship management (CRM) system is the best way to support teamwork and collaboration in this new virtual sales space. It dramatically helps to replicate the cohesion that sales, customer service, field service, and marketing teams experienced when they were physically together. But the question may remain, “what is the best CRM?” The answer will be unique to your industry, your customers, your sales processes, and even your geographical footprint. Let’s take a look at the features within the software that may work best for you.
Let’s take a quick moment to define what a CRM system is. A customer relationship management system is a marketing, sales, and service solution that operates as a one-stop shop for sales, customer service, and marketing teams, helping them close sales deals faster and retain customers.
CRM software is vital to a company’s sales success. It gives sellers the platform and tools to engage with future and current customers. The best CRM system is easy to use, with an intuitive user interface and tools that your sellers will want to use because they can:
For managers, the best CRM system supports territory and quota planning/management, creates accurate and achievable sales forecasts, and manages sales compensation so that sellers get paid correctly—and quickly.
But the best CRM system does more than just support your sales team. It can provide your customer service reps with the information needed to route service tickets correctly and handle issues to everyone’s satisfaction. It gives field service teams the information they need, no matter what device they are using. The right CRM also provides marketing teams with the tools and data required to create personalized, relevant marketing campaigns that generate sales-ready leads.
Everything produces data, and making sense of it all is no easy task. If connections get missed, customers don’t become customers. This means that your sellers (and their counterparts in customer service, field service, and marketing) need to know prospects and customers from every angle. To gain that knowledge, the best CRM system has to be able to not only collect data, but also connect that data.
Whoever has the best data and does the best job with it is going to win.
John Walsh Vice President of Marketing, Mack Trucks
The ability to access all customer data through your CRM provides you with powerful advantages. It helps you make the right decisions around sales, service, delivery dates, pricing, upselling, cross-selling, and even marketing expansion, new product rollouts, and sales territory alignment. But most importantly, having access to customer data helps build accurate, customer 360 profiles, which—in turn—helps you fully understand who your customers are. When you fully know your customers, it's easy to improve their overall customer experience (CX).
Data enters your business through various CRM systems, including marketing automation, ecommerce, digital customer service, contact center, and configure, price, and quote (CPQ). The best CRM systems don’t just hold first-party data; they clean, dedupe, and verify its accuracy.
But all that may not be enough for complete customer 360 profiles, especially if you work in B2B marketing, B2B service, or B2B sales. You need data to show what your best customers have in common and how those commonalities align with prospective customers. And then you need to discover what companies they work for. The best CRM can augment your structured first-party data with aggregated, accurate third-party company intelligence.
A CRM solution does add value. It provides benefits, but only if it’s used. And the one thing that determines if a system (any system) will be used is if your people feel it's easy to use. User experience is everything.
CRMs can be personalized to ensure that they support sellers according to way that need and want to work. CRM dashboards should be easily personalized, so that employees can align the tool so that it supports their unique style of selling.
The data housed within a CRM system means nothing if your teams find your CRM complicated and cumbersome to work with. Today’s workers are used to apps that are easy to use, and they expect the same from the applications they use for their jobs. If sellers are able to download an app, sync it to a wearable device and immediately begin using it, then they expect that same level of instant gratification or immediate value from their CRM as well.
CRM users will procrastinate running reports or providing sales forecasts because they can’t remember which icons to click on. They may also revert to downloading data from the CRM and then manually entering that data into spreadsheets.
We all know copying and pasting data into spreadsheets can lead to errors. Mistakes grow exponentially so that sales forecasts are inaccurate, pipelines are impossible to track, sellers don’t get paid/paid the right amount, and customers receive the wrong quotes or bids.
Learn more about the importance of user experience and two other reasons your sales reps won’t use your CRM. Then learn how you can change their minds.
A CRM system cuts down on repetitive, manual tasks, which can negatively impact operational costs. A good CRM system can improve profitability by improving speed and efficiency—think of how a mobile sales app with an embedded, AI-guided digital assistant with voice capability support can help a sales rep get work done when out of the office. But it is not just the mobile app that enhances productivity. By using the best CRM available, you:
Because of the variety of CRM systems on the market, it’s crucial to find one that offers the features that best fit your needs. Here are some of features—beyond sales force automation and mobile capabilities—that can help you sell more, sell profitably, and keep selling.
Pull in orders, invoices, and pipeline data along with quota and budget information. Report on forecasts by territories, products, accounts, channels, or any other custom dimensions. Forecast by week, month, quarter, or on a rolling basis.
Create quotas that are achievable and challenging while aligned with your company’s objectives.
Build and modify sales territories using as many factors as you deem necessary. Create territories that get the most from your sales team.
Expand your sales channels by recruiting the best partners, distributors, and wholesalers. Provide them with intuitive, branded tools to collaborate, share and manage leads, register deals, and create quotes.
Reduce overpayments and payment disputes and give sellers complete visibility into compensation so they can focus on closing more sales deals.
Ensure your employees have customer records they can trust. Provide that all-important customer 360 view—compiled and unified from multiple data sources and verified for accuracy and timeliness.
The primary reason to incorporate a CRM system into your business is to connect your employees. With cloud CRM, companies can improve collaboration on team projects.