Developing a Strong CRM Foundation for Improved Sales

Posted in Strategy by Frank Cowell

HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report indicates that 45 percent of companies surveyed use customer relationship management systems to store lead and customer data. Unfortunately, many respondents also consider manual data entry and a lack of integration as top challenges for current CRM software. Whether your company uses Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, or another popular CRM tool, encouraging adoptions and regular use can enhance overall sales objectives.


Other insights associated with CRM that HubSpot’s report makes clear point to the importance of budget friendliness:

  • 54 percent of organizations without a CRM system cite cost as the most limiting factor.
  • As the cost of sales training versus sales technologies increases, companies are more willing to spend money on technology than on training.
  • 61 percent of sales teams spend up to 60 minutes per day on data entry activities.

These CRM insights show the complex nature of company willingness to invest in sales technologies. With the right sales investment and CRM product, companies can maximize sales activities. Consider CRM as an investment and a tool to realize its potential as a customer service differentiator.

Recognize the Value in CRM Systems

The upfront cost of a CRM system may seem steep, especially to small and medium-sized businesses, but professionals who use this technology can do twice or three times the work of professionals who solely rely on old-school prospecting methods. From information gleaned from the report, you can analyze the cost/benefit of investing in a top-tier system by considering the following:

  • Integration with legacy systems. CRM systems that integrate well with content management systems, billing systems, and other tools provide more insight into your consumer base than stand-alone systems. Look for CRM systems that use automation to diversify and maintain high-quality data sets.
  • Internal marketing and sales goals. According to HubSpot’s report, 43 percent of respondents consider their CRM easy to use. Fewer respondents, though, report that their systems offer high-quality data management, reporting capabilities, or sales funnel management. Align the product with your goals instead of looking at a tool’s specification list.
  • Your team’s willingness to use the system. Conduct an internal marketing campaign to sell the system and gain a higher rate of return after your investment.

CRM systems can enhance marketing and sales activities in any business. Choose a system that meets your company’s goals. Investing in a budget system may save money in the short term, but deliver poor ROI over time.Related: Get your complete copy of the State of Inbound report. Download the  report now.

Use CRM Systems to Maximize Marketing and Sales Activities

Many modern CRM systems take advantage of cloud technology, making them highly scalable. Companies that invest in and strategically use CRM systems can monitor marketing activities, assign value to marketing and sales activities, and measure true ROI. If you plan to scale your business or optimize customer service throughout the sales cycle, consider these tips for maximizing CRM outcomes:

  1. Invest in a top-down approach to adoption. For those who have never used a CRM system, logging relationship information may seem foreign. Create a mandatory CRM policy for all users to improve data quality and adoption results.
  1. Create a plan of action. CRM systems can deliver many types of consumer information. Show end-users how CRM data benefit daily activities and maintain data sets for long-term goals. Identifying clear objectives improves daily usage rates and the quality of long-term reports.
  1. Reward positive behavior. Gamification is a way to improve adoption rates and outcomes. Encourage marketing, sales, and customer service representatives to engage in CRM activities and flesh out customer profiles. Reward professionals with perks, including recognition or compensation. Keep the process fun to avoid resistance to change.
  1. Create case studies. If management and end-users insist on seeing the benefits of using a CRM system, consider creating case studies that illustrate the benefits. CRM data can be used to identify benefits and optimize shortcomings, but only if users are encouraged to maintain and promote data integrity.

Like other marketing tools, a CRM can serve as a benefit or a hindrance. Invest in the right product and a strong implementation strategy to maximize outcomes. For more insights into the state of inbound marketing, download HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report.

About Frank Cowell

Frank Cowell is President at Elevator, a digital brand strategy agency based in the San Diego, California area. He works regularly with CEOs, CMOs, and VPs of Marketing who are looking to create amazing brand experiences while driving inbound leads. A self-taught programmer with a deep understanding of technology, Frank enjoys a unique blend of brand development and marketing savvy that enables him to offer fresh perspectives on often-complex marketing concepts that he distills into actionable, easy-to-understand language. An energetic and entertaining speaker, Frank presents regularly to regional and national organizations on topics related to branding and digital marketing.
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