CRM 101: The CRM Application and How Does It Help My Business?

CRM Abstract

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a technology used for better customer relationships and interactions. Before technology hits the masses, CRM is done with face-to-face interactions and sending out letters to clients. The modern world advanced everything and made it possible for us to connect with people through telephones, emails, live chat, and social media.

Having CRM software plays an integral role in business growth and sales. This software helps the business effectively and efficiently communicate with customers, partners, and potential prospects.

You must create lasting impressions on customers because of the tough competition and the fast-paced world that we live in. People’s attention is much shorter because of the many distractions and because these interactions– no matter how minimal it may seem– should be impactful in every way.

CRM helps with interacting with people outside the company or business. It also streamlines the transactions that are happening in different channels and platforms all at the same time.

CRM and Marketing

CRM software has an important role when it comes to marketing. It can directly affect the outbound sales of the company. A good CRM can supply the data of a customer’s purchasing journey. It can also provide every action of the interaction that you had with a potential prospect or partner. The provided data can help marketing teams to make guided decisions with the strategies that will be used for business growth.

Marketing teams should also be equipped with the latest technology because it will help them streamline their tasks and activities. They are also the people who are directly interacting with the customers and they should have all the necessary information to gauge the needs of the prospects that they have. CRM can help with the menial tasks of sending multiple emails, provide detailed reports, and give useful data to better understand the trend and needs of the people.

CRM 101 Mac

1. Focused Marketing
A company may be able to produce a lot of lead magnets and gather large amounts of data, however, not all of these can be checked individually. CRM software can help marketers in filtering through the contacts and leads that were produced and gathered. From this, potentially profitable customers or Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) can be selected and prioritized. The software can give various information on customer behavior and preferences. This information can be used to improve prospect awareness and customer retention.

Turbo-Charge E-Marketing Platforms

2. Segmentation
It’s important to know and understand the latest trends before offering anything to the customer. CRM can segment the lead not only by industry but also to more specific demographics. This account-based marketing approach is proven effective because since the behavior and demographics are already known it will be easier to identify the need of a specific segment or group of customers. More specific profiles can open up a lot of opportunities because the messages and approach can be tailored to fit the needs. This will also lead to a much better conversion rate.

Deliverability

3. Personalized content
As mentioned above, the segmented data can help with generating content that is fit for a specific group of people. You can even curate individualized marketing approaches because of the data provided by the CRM. Moreover, you should be careful to become too obvious when approaching customers because you may spook them with knowing too much about their needs and preferences. Use the data to suggest ideas to people, give information, and shape the whole communication process that suits them. The more personalized the content is, the more likely that you are going to get better results and responses from them.

Advanced Personalization

4. Blueprint
Once you already have a working strategy from the derived data, you can use this blueprint or approach to other campaigns as well. It’s not a crime to use a strategy that’s proven effective and has been tested. The data provided by the CRM is there to help you make guided decisions when approaching customers and making strategies that work. Don’t forget to document the data and campaign that was most effective and successful because you will surely need them again in the future.

Process Automation

5. Lead form integration
CRM can also generate and integrate forms that can help with your funnels. Instead of manually adding all of the information into a system, the software should be able to sync all of them automatically.

Put It All in One Place

6. Email nurturing
A well-equipped CRM should be able to cut downtime by manually emailing all of the prospects. It should be able to send emails to the lists of prospects simultaneously. Also, it should be equipped with the capability to automatically send follow-up emails and proper communications based on the sales process.

Two Apps Function as One

7. Tracking and progress
Lastly, the CRM marketing software should be able to monitor the progress of the campaigns that were launched to see if it was effective. There should be integrated tracking capabilities that can produce weekly or monthly reports to see how the campaign is performing. This will help your marketing determine if you should change or maintain the approach that you are treading. It will also enable you to make wise decisions about the strategies that you are implementing for the demographics and segments that you have at your disposal.

Correlate Campaigns to Deals

Conclusion

CRM 101

CRM might be an overwhelming term for startups and growing businesses but this software is a good investment for your sales and marketing teams. When looking for a CRM provider you should carefully consider the services and capabilities that you are offering. Look into the service that they are providing and check how much are other providers charging for the same quality service. There are a lot of SMEs when it comes to quality CRM software and it will be best to consult seasoned experts. These people have years of experience and they will surely help you in making guided decisions when planning to cancel and change your CRM software.


Act! Pro License To Be Discontinued 6/30/2020

Supported or Unsupported

It’s the end of an era for Act!.  From 4/1/1987 until 6/30/2020, you could buy a copy of Act! for a one-time price and install it locally.  If your business process or technology stack didn’t change much, you can leverage it for 3+ years.

However, with the advent of rapid changes by Microsoft and the web as a whole, desktop technology for a complex program like Act! is simply too expensive to develop and support with a one-time license.   Other industry giants like Autodesk, Adobe and Sage have migrated desktop software to a subscription model as well.  Quickbooks desktop offers a one-time fee, but they discontinue services like payroll or credit card processing to force those upgrades.  Oh, don’t forget Microsoft as well with Office 365.

We have laid out some options here, but feel free to contact us to evaluate your unique situation.

Act! Logo

Recommended for:

  • Sites with less than 10 users that haven't changed their process in 5+ years with Act!.
  • Clients on their way to retirement or selling the business.
  • Clients that don't need support from Act! corporate.
  • Clients that don't need to worry about Office compatibility 3+ years from now.
  • Clients that simply don't believe in paying a subscription.

Potential Problems:

  • Act! Pro will no longer be supported per their obsolescence policy on 6/30/2021.
  • Developers will eventually stop writing plugins for it.
  • Act! Pro won't support future changes in Microsoft or web page standards.
  • Eventually, the software may not install, but we don't have any time frame on that. but there is precedence from their changes in 2018.

Act! Pro v22 is available until 6/30/2020.  It's a one-time fee of $289.99/user.  Act! corporate offers a couple of support packages for an additional fee, or you can retain us to help you with an upgrade.

Buy Act! Pro.

Act! Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to remain on Act! for 3+ years.
  • Clients that need software updates for Microsoft compatibility and new features of Act!.
  • Clients that want to integrate with additional applications via Zapier or the Web API.
  • Clients that need phone support from Act! corporate.
  • Clients that don't want radical change of business process and invested heavily in custom programming or commercial addons.

Changes Required:

  • Act! will be billed on an annual basis.
  • Upon cancellation of the subscription, the software will no longer access the database.
  • No walk-away one-time license purchase is available.

For Act! Pro users, you can upgrade to Act! Premium CRM for $330/user/year (Price subject to change by Act! corporate).

Learn more about our services.

WiredContact Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to keep an Act!-like user interface without radical change for the sales reps.
  • Clients that no longer want to deal with desktop support issues.
  • Clients that want to automate more process.
  • Clients that simply don't believe in paying a subscription and prefer a one-time fee.

Changes Required for Self-Hosting:

  • Clients need to install a dedicated Windows server.
  • Clients need either an in-house I.T. department or a MSP (Managed Service Provider) to maintain the server.
  • An evaluation to make sure all the features you want will translate into WiredContact.

WiredContact Enterprise is available as a one-time purchase, a buy once+hosting fee model or a monthly subscription.

Learn more about Act! vs. WiredContact.

Zoho Logo

Recommended for:

  • Clients that want to integrate CRM with their ecosystem of 40+ applications known as Zoho One.
  • Clients that want to outsource CRM hardware and software management.
  • Clients that want an affordable alternative to SalesForce.
  • Clients that want to automate more processes.
  • Workgroups less than 3 users who need a basic edition of Zoho CRM for free.

Changes required:

  • An evaluation to make sure all the features you want will translate into Zoho since its a different approach to CRM vs. Act!.
  • Budget a fee for conversion, database re-design and training on a new platform.

Learn more about Zoho.


Customer Experience in the B2B Space Matters

Customer Survey

Customer experience has become even more important in the 21st century as buyers gain power.

Customer churn kills growth. And because it’s ultimately unsustainable, it kills companies. Is there anything more important to the bottom-line health of your company than delivering great customer experiences consistently? We’d argue, nothing. So it begs the question, “How can you deliver great customer experiences if you don’t know much about your customers? That’s where we come in. (Do you think you’re already delivering great customer experiences? Think again. Blind surveys with actual customers say otherwise).

But what if you’re a B2B enterprise? It turns out your B2B customers expect experiences consistent with what they get in when they’re consumers in the B2C space. I happened upon this article recently that profiles 10 B2B companies who deliver great customer experiences.

It means having a good CRM matters, not only for your internal benefit but you can leverage the same data to create great experiences such as:

  • Automate sending birthday or anniversary cards.
  • Have all the customer's history on one screen, so no matter which sales rep picks up the phone, the rep knows what's happened. The customer doesn't have to repeat the same story multiple times to get something resolved.
  • Create self-service portals so customers can view their order history, retrieve serial numbers and place help desk requests anytime.

How do you plan on creating better customer experiences? Let’s take a look at your churn rates and lifetime customer value data. We can certainly help. Feel free to bounce some ideas off me. Discovery calls are always free.


Staying Organized Outside of CRM

Productivity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years, but at what cost?

We are overwhelmed.  All of us.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

During the 2008 recession, businesses learned they can get an employee to fill the jobs of two or three people for fear of losing their own. The impact on everyone’s quality of life has been devastating. How do you keep everything straight?

You may think of me as a CRM guy who designs databases for a living, that I am uber-organized. In some ways, I am. But I get overwhelmed, too. That’s just life in the 21st century. There are many items in my day that don’t fit neatly into a CRM construct. For instance, new product ideas, client solutions, articles of interest, meeting agendas, even my website color scheme.

A few years ago, a client gave me a book called Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. The GTD method takes these items and places them where they can be acted on later.

Some people use post-it notes. Over the years, I’ve found that Evernote is a far more powerful tool. Others out there include Microsoft’s OneNote and Zoho’s Notebook as part of the Zoho One platform. I combine Evernote with CRM to keep everything on point, even the stuff I do that’s not associated with an individual contact in CRM. This works for me, especially when I have to reference a Power BI formula I wrote over a year ago, for example. Pairing the GTD methodology with great CRM keeps my desk clean, yet I have access to what I need at any time, wherever I go.

Workflow for the GTD Process.

I combine CRM & Evernote to keep things organized.

How do you manage to keep all your plates spinning? Everyone has a life hack.


Private Equity and Its Impact on Software as a Service

Private Equity

I came across this article, and I found it interesting as my industry goes under dramatic change.

Over the last 5 years, business to business software has taken on the SaaS (Software as a Service) model. It makes sense. The software publisher has incentive to adapt to subscriber needs, the consistent cash flow to continually improve the product, the means to support existing customers and adjusts it to ever-changing hardware and operating systems.

Now, the world of private equity has jumped on this megatrend as well. They can see consistent returns, and they can map out a five year plan with relatively predictable revenues. Sounds great for everyone, right? The software publisher fulfills their vision. Customers enjoy the new features. The private equity firm provides a capital boost and cashes out in 4-5 years. Everyone wins. Maybe.

But what if cash flows don’t meet expectations? Or what if previously acceptable returns aren’t enough for institutional investors who expect year-over-year growth? Will they apply pressure to cut costs and increase prices? Who takes the hit?

“..But don’t mistake their ultimate loyalty: it’s to the money, not the business. Whenever the business isn’t aligned with the money, they will side with the money.” — Inc. Magazine (October, 2018)

We’re platform agnostic and routinely work with both closely-held and investor-owned CRM platforms and vendors.

Yet, we’re sensitive to these industry developments and watch them closely.

Choosing the right provider, one that meets our clients’ unique circumstances, is almost always a nuanced and involving process. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years and enjoy these conversations. If you’re reviewing your current system’s features, functionalities and relevance to your business processes, feel to press the button and book a discovery call.