A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your CRM

November 11, 2022
Data Book

Sales and growth leaders are looking for ways to do more with less and maximize their efficiencies as they plan for an uncertain year ahead. The key to success is investing in the right technology and integrating it into your processes. For growth-focused organizations, using the right customer relationship management (CRM) tool is paramount to maintaining the two most important factors of operating in the current business environment: employee satisfaction and customer experience.

But how do you know if you’re getting the most out of your technology? The answer is often right in front of you. Take a look at your daily operations. How are you running? Where can you improve, and would a better business system or process help enable that improvement? Consider the following signs as clear indicators that it would.

  • Your employees manually handle many aspects of your business. These inefficient, manual and tedious tasks leave little time for employees to do more meaningful, value-added work.
  • Key information about your operations and your clients is not located in a single area making information hard to find and hard to analyze.
  • You are using physical storage at your office or have pockets of data spread across different departments or individuals instead of running on a collaborative cloud-based model, which can pose a significant security risk and cause internal drag.
  • There is no easy, reliable and secure way for your employees to access essential company data from outside the office, hindering your ability to provide them with hybrid and remote working options.
  • Contacting and keeping track of your clients is challenging and time-consuming. You’re unable to make data-backed decisions that enhance the customer experience and instead must turn to guesswork and manual Excel maneuvering.
  • You lack visibility into your current sales pipeline, future forecasted state and/or the ROI on your marketing spend, leaving you unsure of where you should be prioritizing your time or efforts.
  • You’re running on multiple systems and databases with no single source of truth for your data. This gives you delayed, inaccurate and unreliable reports that hinder decision making.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to get serious about a technology change. Making the move to the right CRM tool can help you streamline your business processes, provide a better experience for your customers and employees, and help accelerate your growth.

Benefits of Using the Right CRM

CRM solutions come in all forms and functionalities, and no one tool is going to be the right tool for every organization. When evaluating a CRM, it’s important to understand how customizable and scalable the solution is. Can you start small and add functionalities as necessary? Are you able to land and then expand to new areas of your organization to bring consistency? The right tool should accelerate your growth—but can it keep up, or will you eventually outgrow the tool that got you where you are?

Why Salesforce is the World’s Leading CRM

Salesforce is the world’s leading customer experience platform for a reason. In addition to eliminating those growth-prohibiting factors listed above, Salesforce comes with many features that elicit its rank as the world’s number one CRM.

  • Cloud-based: You don’t have to purchase, store, and maintain any physical hardware.
  • Scalable: It’s easy to configure Salesforce solutions that grow with your organization. As your needs change, the solution can change with you.
  • Easy development: You can create applications using point-and-click options instead of investing significant resources into custom coding.
  • Regular updates: You and your employees will get access to new features and improvements automatically, on a regular cadence. Salesforce pushes improvements three times a year.
  • Quick set-up: With a little advance preparation, Salesforce can be up and running in no time.
  • Robust solutions: You can tailor your Salesforce instance with a mix of different Salesforce Clouds. Need to manage customer support tickets? Service Cloud is for you. Want a place where your customers or vendors can self-service? You can create a portal with Community Cloud. The possibilities are endless.
  • Expanded functionality: A great perk of implementing Salesforce is that nearly everything can be added or “plugged in” to it. The AppExchange has an endless array of add-on applications built specifically for Salesforce, and Salesforce’s open API and a good partner can help you integrate your other systems.

These are just a few high-level advantages of choosing Salesforce to support your organization. That said, while most organizations can benefit from Salesforce, it may not be the right solution for everyone or the right area to put your technology spend to good use. The right consulting partner will help your organization outline your priority needs and provide recommendations to shape your technology strategy. Since Salesforce is so customizable, it’s important to work with a partner who understands your organization and see a demo that highlights exactly how upgrading would benefit your unique business model. The implementation can make or break the ROI on a technology investment.

  • Bongards was using an instance of Salesforce that hadn’t been implemented or customized in a way that enabled them to get the most out of the tool. After reevaluating their customizations, Chief Revenue Officer Scott Tomes had this to say: “It’s made us a lot more efficient. People aren’t chasing things; they go to Salesforce and 9 out of 10 times they get their question answered. Even though we’re continuing on with double-digit growth, the foundation is in place to make everyone’s lives a lot easier.” Learn more about the Bongards story.

Planning & Preparing for Implementation

If you’re ready to make the switch to a new CRM or optimize your current solution to empower future growth, it’s important to plan ahead. Following the right steps prior to undertaking a technology initiative will help the transition go as smoothly as possible. While you can’t prepare for everything, here are a few of the key areas to keep in mind before you implement a CRM:

Preparing Internally

  • Have clear goals in mind for how you want the software to improve your business model. Do you want to increase sales by a certain percentage? Are you hoping for a measurable improvement in your customer support results? This will help guide the scope and ensure your implementation addresses your critical areas.
  • Make sure you understand all of the changes that will take place after you implement your solution. Ask questions of your implementation partner and consider workflow changes. Don’t purchase a new CRM license just to copy your current process flow in the new system. Aim to improve upon your existing operations and communicate the way you do business so your implementation partner can translate that effectively to the new technology.
  • Engage your sales, marketing, and customer support staff. Your CRM implementation will likely mean significant changes in the way they do their jobs. It’s important to keep them involved in the entire process so nothing is overlooked and adoption remains high.
  • Invest in training. CRM solutions like Salesforce are extremely powerful and, by nature, touch many areas of your operations. While they are easy to use, your employees will likely experience some questions. Prepare for the impending learning curve that will occur when you switch over from your previous business processes and systems. End-user training will cut down on the time it takes for your team to ramp up on the new tool and process.

Planning for the Tool

  • Take time for your data. Organize and create back-ups. And if you can, take the time to clean up data mistakes (duplicate customer entries, missing/inaccurate information, obsolete accounts). It will make for a much smoother transition.
  • Think about how you’ll need to customize the solution. For example, there are a number of Salesforce products and add-on solutions that you can implement and configure to suit your needs. Work with your partner to scope and determine which will work best with your parameters and defined goals.
  • Move your data slowly. We find it can be helpful to create a small test batch (client database entries, for example) to import first. Once you have verified that everything is set up the way you want, you can move the rest of your data.
  • Monitor the transition closely. Talk to your employees and customers to figure out where configurations need to be modified and if any additional training is needed.
  • Don’t hesitate to lean on your community. A great thing about implementing Salesforce, for example, is that there are a number of other organizations that are going or have gone through the same transition. There are a number of avenues for help and support so you can learn from peers and use Salesforce to its full potential in your organization. Whether it’s an online forum for administrators, a developer network, or a community user group of your peers, reaching out to other Salesforce users can be an invaluable resource during your implementation and beyond.

Ensuring a Successful Switch

If you’re ready to improve your organization’s overall efficiency, operations, and management by switching to a CRM solution like Salesforce, get ready to see positive results. With the right technology in place and integrated processes to improve data visibility and flow, you will no longer question the sales and performance results you are seeing as fact or figment. And don’t forget to find a reliable, qualified Salesforce partner to help you through the process. While you can self-implement, a certified Salesforce consultant will have the knowledge and experience to get you your best implementation.

Our team of business advisors and consultants can help you build the right solution for your organization, whether that means adding functionality in an existing tool or helping you move to a new solution.

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