As a small business owner or senior manager in a B2B or B2C business, you always want to convert every lead or deal that comes your way. You also want your team work as per expectations. So every time your agents point at your legacy system as the reason they can’t provide an immersive customer experience or when your sales team constantly fails to close leads/deals you fought so hard to acquire, you will be definitely scratching your head.

When you look for solutions, you will realize that all your competitors are using a CRM system to make work easier and build and strengthen relationships with customers.

Yes, the use of a CRM management software to integrate teams and silos, digitize products, and streamline communication has ballooned since its invention by Tom Siebel in the 90s. And with the rise of digital transformation, CRMs have shown immense potential in improving all areas of a modern business or workplace.

Now you may wonder:

  • What is CRM management?
  • What are the benefits of a CRM system?
  • How can one manage a CRM system better?
  • What are the challenges that come with CRM management?
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What is CRM management?


As a business, you have relationships with other businesses. You might also have teams working offsite. A customer relationship management (CRM) system’s primary purpose is to manage, track, and organize those relationships so that you understand your customers better. 


A CRM management system tracks and stores current and potential customer data and interaction (whether on social media, your website, or email marketing campaigns) with your brand, providing you with vital information of customer interest you can use to provide hyper-personalized consumer experience.

Seven benefits of using a CRM software


Our research with Forrester shows that 89% of companies experienced an uptick in revenue after implementing a new CRM management system. This is because a CRM management system can be used in various ways from digitizing workflows to improving online collaborations and even helping teams make real-time decisions. Here are the six benefits of using a customer relationship management system (CRM). 


1. Unify internal data silos and improve productivity


A CRM management system stores all the information and content about your prospect (contact, data, records, metrics, documents, or notes) and business in one place or centralized database. It also unifies and organizes this information for easy retrieval and real-time decision making. This relieves your team members from repetitive data entry and unification tasks while empowering them to sell better.


2. Avoid toggling between tools and manage customer relationships 


If you are engaging with a prospect or customer, you will mostly talk to them on the phone, via email, or on social media. All this information and interaction can be managed through a CRM management system. So when sending drip campaigns, following up with prospects or sending resources to prospects, you are not shifting between different tools. This simplifies all your communications and improves customer relationships.


3. Identify leads who are likely to purchase from you 


Modern CRMs can store and track your website visitors’ behavior and even assign them points, depending on how they interact with your product. You can use this information to determine warm and cold leads and nurture the right leads who are likely to buy from you. You can also use this information to inform your marketing activities. 


4. Track progress of deals in the pipeline 


Tracking how your leads move from one stage to another in the pipeline is crucial in meeting your sales targets and quotas. Since a CRM management system keeps vital customer communication and interactions, you can easily track a prospect’s purchase journey or the activity of your leads or customers. With that information, you can determine where your leads are coming from or failing off the pipeline. You can also see patterns that work and use that to inform your business decisions.


5. Improve productivity by automating routine tasks


Routine tasks, such as capturing customer information or sending drip email campaigns to your subscribers, can consume lots of employee time. A CRM management system can help you with these basic tasks as it automatically collects customer information, organizes it and updates and aggregates information within the system. This way, your reps can focus more on selling and building customer relationships.


6. Track sales metrics and course-correct as needed 


Modern CRM tools have dashboards or reporting features where all the data about your prospects and customers is collected and presented for easy analysis. Your team members can use this data to track goals, sales quotas, check progress and even evaluate their performance. You can also know where your leads are falling off, what is making them fall and seal any leaks in your sales pipeline.


7. Avoid duplication of efforts and manual tasks 


Engaging with prospects requires the recording of calls, meetings, interactions and emails and updating customer information as their needs change. With a CRM, all this is done for you automatically any time a team member engages with a customer. Besides, a CRM system is so clever, it will catch any attempt to duplicate records and ensure the database doesn’t capture any duplicate entries.


Four CRM management challenges to overcome 


No doubt, CRM management systems are a benefit. They can increase employee productivity, show you the right leads, and even improve internal communication. Even so, CRMs still have limitations. 


1. Complicated interface


Do you know that two out of three businesses want to let go of their CRM? Most CRM management software have several features and technical specifications built into them to handle or process large amounts of data for analytical, operational or collaborative purposes. While this is great and makes work easier, the downside is that it complicates the interface, and navigating through the interface features can be time-consuming.


2. Lack of adoption


Not every person in your organization will be easily convinced to use your CRM as most require a learning curve or changing their work style, which many might resist. Some employees will reject any attempts to learn the CRM, especially if they fear they won't be able to adapt.


3. Long implementation cycle


It can take up to a year to implement a CRM management system for a mid-market manufacturer. Among the factors that lead to this long implementation cycle of a CRM system are a lack of senior management sponsorship, a lack of expertise, integration-related issues, infrastructure-related issues or data migration glitches. These factors can hamper most of your business operations.


4. “Dump and forget” phenomenon


One out of two business leaders will tell you the number one challenge of a CRM tool is managing data quality. But why? Bad habits from employees.


For example, reps log data about leads, deals or contacts in the CRM system and forget about them because they are overwhelmed with too many opportunities. This results in loss of some quality leads due to neglect. Your system then suffers with outdated data. 

Seven tips to effectively manage your CRM system + boost productivity

To succeed with CRM adoption and management, you’ll need to make it a cornerstone of your company’s sales strategy. Here’s how you can get started:


1. Encourage salespeople to update the CRM software regularly

One primary goal of a CRM management is to provide insights into customer data to improve customer relationships and the sales process. If your CRM system is filled with bogus data (corrupt, outdated, or incorrect), it makes this process a challenge.

It may also make your systems vulnerable to data misuse and breeches. To get the best results and maximize the ROI of your CRM tool, ensure your data is pristine and complete. You can do this by:

  • Ensuring your data collection methods are in the best shape
  • Offer perks and incentives to employees that use the CRM tool efficiently
  • Maintain proper CRM management data hygiene practices

For example, following the correct data collection methods or deleting information that is no longer relevant.

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2. Get a CRM tool that is easy to use and has a simple interface 

In the United Kingdom, 53% of SMEs say that a CRM management solution fails because it is a poor fit for a firm’s needs. When shopping for a CRM tool, IT managers should exercise due diligence at the product selection stage so that the software fits the current and growing business needs. Before acquiring a CRM tool, research thoroughly, evaluate the product’s strengths and weaknesses and compare it with your needs and budget. 

3. Organize CRM training for your employees 

A CRM management software comes with complex features and technical specifications.

As a result, proper training is essential if you want your team to use the tool to meet deadlines and expectations. During this time, onboard user-experience testers and CIOs to enhance the learning experience.

Consider also giving your team refresher courses when new features are added to the CRM. This will help them work efficiently and stay focused on their work.

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4. Maintain a single unified customer record and avoid duplication 


Your CRM tool will be used by different departments: sales, customer support, marketing, and even senior management. Rather than have each department or user log data about customers in different locations in the system, have one unified field for logging customer details. If possible, have one person log these details and avoid duplication of customer entries

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5. Customize the CRM software to suit your unique business requirements 


Despite a plethora of CRM management systems in the market, none is universal and ready-made for your business. As a result, you may need to customize your CRM tool or create one from scratch to only cover the bases you need. But before you do that, understand your goals, restrictions, and budgets, then determine your preferred technical specifications and features in a CRM. This will ensure your CRM system suits your goals and budget.


6. Set up workflows to reduce manual tasks


When interacting with a customer, certain steps are required to complete the business process, for example, sending welcome or thank-you emails or responding to customer complaints. These tasks can be repetitive and take too much time if you have a high volume of customers. You can automate them by setting up workflows in your CRM management system to save time in your business. 


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Streamline your business. Start using a CRM now.

With digital interaction of customers, remote work and hybrid workplaces becoming common, the opportunity is wide open for C-level technological decision-makers to transform and automate work processes and for small business owners and sales managers to build their business using a CRM tool. A CRM tool guarantees a safe, efficient, and agile collaboration between and within teams and with your customers in this fast-moving business environment. 

Take advantage of a CRM management tool if you want to streamline your business operations. Your team will be excited when they can easily and quickly accomplish tasks while your customers will be delighted at the efficiency of your brand to fulfill their needs.