Customer relationship management platforms are a requirement for sales-driven organizations that need to manage communication with customers and prospects effectively and efficiently.
Spreadsheets and manual recordkeeping can only take teams so far, and implementing a CRM platform is a clear sign that your organization is prioritizing growth, streamlining workflows, and optimizing the sales process.
Nucleus Research conducted an analysis of its published ROI case studies on CRM deployments, and found that for every dollar a company spends on CRM, they now make back $8.71.
As your customer tracking continues to get more complicated, how do you keep your systems streamlined and efficient? The key is CRM automation.
In this CRM automation guide, you’ll learn how to increase efficiency, save time, and improve your sales team’s results by automating the functions of your CRM software. You’ll also explore the biggest advantages and functions of CRM automation, and how modern CRMs are using new technologies to deliver increasing value to B2B organizations.
Customer relationship management (CRM) automation is the process of automating marketing, sales, and customer service functions to help teams track their engagement with current and prospective customers or clients. Automating your CRM eliminates tedious and repetitive manual data entry, skyrockets productivity, and saves team members time so they can focus on high-value activities like lead generation, relationship building, lead nurturing, and deal conversion.
New, relationship intelligence focused CRM platforms are also available for relationship-focused deal teams. Learn more about how relationship intelligence platforms like Affinity compare to traditional CRM platforms.
CRM automation tools perform many functions, but some of the critical things you should look for when you’re investing in an automated CRM tool include:
CRM automation trends run the gamut of business activity. Here are some of the ways CRM automation can benefit your company:
Automating CRM functions is meant to make life easier for your sales and marketing teams—but to get a high ROI from your investment, you must ensure optimal adoption of your CRM and keep your data clean. Follow these best practices for smooth implementation of your automated CRM:
Getting CRM data automation off on the right foot starts with choosing the right tools. Your platform should include a clear, easy-to-use, intuitive user interface that responds quickly to search queries and provides full and complete customer data to the user.
Boost the efficiency and productivity of your sales teams by choosing a platform that matches your workflows as simply as possible. Multiple teams will likely be using the CRM automation tool for a number of different purposes, so easy of use makes a big difference in CRM adoption rates. Keep everything in a unified source of truth for better data integration and higher utilization of the tool.
In this age of distributed teams, cloud applications, and globalization, data needs to be available around the clock on all mobile platforms and devices. Choose a cloud-based, device-agnostic CRM that provides real-time data management.
There is a lot that happens with a prospect before that person becomes a lead—and all of that activity needs to be automatically captured in your CRM so it can be analyzed and leveraged. Make sure your CRM platform is connected to marketing analytics tools that track landing page visits, form submissions, open rates, and click-throughs to provide your team with full context into every customer journey.
Leading companies also use social media as a channel for answering customer questions and providing support, and for consumer brands especially, prospects increasingly report that they want to interact with brands via chat or social media, rather than by phone.
Integrating social media tools with your CRM to capture more conversations can help your sales team understand client behavior and expectations, and also helps them respond more quickly to complaints, questions, and referrals.
Allowing multiple formats for data entry and updates can damage your CRM data integrity.
Maintain data uniformity by creating clear and concise guidelines for any remaining manual data entry (including manually logged notes or custom-built fields) or data updates and import processes. Include drop-down menus rather than free-flow text boxes whenever possible, to reduce errors.
Improve your long-term data quality by providing clear instruction to your firm’s team members about how your CRM system should be used, and what will happen if your data quality erodes (i.e. incomplete or out-of-date information that leads to missed opportunities).
You can customize your CRM platform so your automations work for your unique sales process.
Start relationships with new customers off right by setting up automatic welcome campaigns, or create follow-up reminders that nudge you to check in regularly with your top prospects or high-quality referral services.
With today’s advanced automation systems, user adoption will be far less of a problem than with traditional CRMs, but your sales and marketing teams will still need to know how to make the most of their customer and prospect data.
Provide training opportunities for your team members, including workshops, Q&A sessions, and one-on-one user practice sessions through your vendor’s support team.
When it comes to how to automate your CRM, your best bet is to start with a CRM platform that includes advanced automation features out of the box. Affinity’s automated CRM imports every email message, calendar meeting, and contact across your entire organization, and updates instantly as you build relationships with clients and prospects.
By eliminating the need for time-consuming manual contact data entry, you’ll free up over 180 hours per person every year, which you can spend on dealmaking and meeting contacts.
With relationship intelligence based on your whole team’s network and activities, you’ll never have to ask “Do we know someone at that company?” or “Who knows this contact the best?” because you’ll always have the complete history of every connection in your CRM and be able to find the best path to an introduction.
Talk to one of our team members today to find out how Affinity can help you connect with crucial contacts, create more opportunities, and close more deals.