If you tuned in to the last episode of the Corporate Data Show, your ears were hit with some real golden nuggets of knowledge as we sat down with Jeroen Corthout of Salesflare to discuss customer relationship management and the software that can improve it. If you didn’t tune in, you’re just going to have to spend the rest of your days knowing you missed out on some of the best content we’ve ever put out there. (Just kidding, it’s still up and the topic is still just as hot.)
Whether you listened to it last week or stopped reading after that last paragraph to go check it out, you heard us talk a lot about CRM. If you work in sales, you probably know some of your clients better than a couple of your family members, but that doesn’t mean CRM isn’t still extremely frustrating sometimes. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the challenges we all face when dealing with CRM and how we can better overcome them.
We know most of you do this stuff every day, so we’re not going to treat this like a “CRM 101” class you’d sleep through freshman year of college. However, we can all use a little refresher now and then.
As you know, CRM is a system used for monitoring and maintaining relationships with customers, both past and potential future. It generally includes four types of data:
1. Identity - This is the bare bones data: name, contact info, etc. The simple stuff.
2. Descriptive - Here you keep track of some more involved info. What’s their company’s name? Do they have a family? Can we put a face to the name? The interesting stuff.
3. Quantitative - This refers to numbers of orders, how often they visit your website, etc. The boring but money-making stuff.
4. Qualitative - Finally, this data tells you some more subjective info about your history with a client. How satisfied were they with their orders? Why did they make the purchases in the first place? The details.
So, this is all fine and good, right? It’s probably not new info to most of you, and you’re used to tracking all of this stuff for what feels like forever. Which brings us to why we’re here: CRM is useful, but it’s kind of a pain, right? Right.
So Much Data, So Little Time
We’re all well aware of how important the aforementioned data is. The better you know your customers, the better salesperson you can be, and it’s not like you can remember all this stuff on your own. So, unless you feel like keeping it all in a moleskin journal, CRM is the key to making more sales. The problem is, inputting all that data manually takes about, oh we don’t know, a million years or so.
That’s because there’s so many steps in the process. If you’re doing all your own data collection, you’ll have a ton of email addresses to locate and manually enter into your CRM. Sounds pretty tedious to us, so while we may be biased, but we recommend you go with an easier route and purchase contact data from an outbound marketing agency. (Maybe a really cool one based in a really cool city on the shore of Lake Michigan? Just spitballing here.) This will include all the necessities, like name, position, email, etc. so, you can go ahead and upload this file to your CRM and right away, you’re off to a decent start.
But of course, you’ll often want even more information than this, such as social profiles, phone numbers, company websites, etc. These take a lot more time to track down, but let’s say you get it done, because you’re great at what you do. Once you’ve spent all day finding that info, you’ll be stuck at the office late into the night actually entering it. Now you’ve done all of this just to get ready to make your first contact.
Hopefully, all this hard work leads to a sale. And if it does, great! But now you’ve got more data to enter. What did they purchase? When? Hope much did they spend? Why did they order it? If you want to sell to them again, you need to track all of this, so you’d better open up your CRM and enter it all. You get the picture. It takes a ton of time and effort, and while it’s worth the effort, time is money.
All this time could be spent doing something much more productive, like learning all the lyrics to U2’s 1987 hit album, The Joshua Tree. Or maybe making sales. Probably that one. So, you should take advantage of any opportunity to reduce the time dedicated to your CRM, and increase the time you’re spending making calls and, more importantly, making sales.
"The only way you're going to get good data is if a large part of it is automated" says Jeroen Corthout, CEO of Salesflare.
Hard Hitting Software
Now, you could always train yourself to type hundreds of words per minute, but if you’re going to do that, you would probably rather hit up the Guinness Book of World Records than new customers. Or maybe not — we don’t want to question your dedication or anything. At any rate, that’s not the easiest option. The easiest option would be to automate as much of the process as possible.
Imagine if the only pieces of info you had to enter yourself were the person’s name and email address, and suddenly you were provided with their work phone, mailing address, Instagram, schedule, job description, and even their dog’s name. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? Now imagine you didn’t need to imagine that.
You’ve probably heard of software, such as Salesflare, that can automate this entire process, using just an email and returning any and all pertinent CRM data it can scrounge up. Maybe you’ve even tried some of this software out for yourself and seen firsthand how much time it can save you. Good software will do even more than that, though. For example, some will refer to customers’ schedules and notify you when it’s the best time to follow up with them, or give you a heads up when their birthdays roll around. Whatever it may be, everything this software does saves you time and helps you make more money.
Then, once it helps you make a sale, a good software will even track that automatically, detailing what was purchased, when, for what amount, etc. You may still need to enter some data manually, such as why the customer made the purchase, but you can even automate that by integrating survey software if you’d like. Then, once they’ve made a few purchases, the software should identify a pattern and remind you to follow up regularly, or maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll want to set up regular orders.
At the end of the day, this is the key to successful outbound marketing and sales: automate everything that can be automated, so that you have the time to be human when you need to be human. All the hours you save researching and inputting data can be spent making calls, sending emails, and having genuine conversations with customers or potential customers. Robots and computers are awesome, but they should be in the background. Your pretty face and smooth talk should take center stage with customers.
Of course, these software aren’t perfect. For example, if you deal mostly in B2B sales, your contacts’ provided email addresses may not be linked to their personal social media, although it depends. Some people are more private than others, so their info will be hard to track down, even for the best algorithms. This isn’t the end of the world, as you’ll still receive a large amount of professional information for tons of clients, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Happy (Money) Trails, Friends
You’ve known for your entire career that time is money, and you’ve probably known for awhile that there are more efficient ways to do CRM than you may be used to. Maybe you just needed an extra push to finally try one out. So, here’s your sign:
Far be it from us to tell you how to do your job, but if you’ve never used an automated CRM software, it may be worth looking into. (Or convincing your boss to look into.) Alternatively, you could avoid a complete overhaul by using an API to hook your current CRM up with a solid database. This integration will allow you to pull in loads of data without changing your entire system. You heard a lot about Salesflare from Jeroen on the Corporate Data Show, and we definitely recommend checking it out. However, there are lots of great software on the market.
And, if you need a killer set of contact data to get your CRM going, you know where to look. (It’s us. Look to us. Just in case that wasn’t obvious.)
The Corporate Data Show is a podcast to helping marketing and data professionals leverage data to generate revenue for their company. To listen to all of our episodes, visit the Every Market Media podcast page or your favorite podcast player.