Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are designed to help cultivate your relationships with customers in a time-effective way, but you might as well be developing relationships without a management system if your CRM’s interface is unintuitive and slow.
Time equals money, especially for businesses. Companies, big or small, rely on well-utilized time and customers to reach their financial goals, so they can’t afford to waste time reorganizing their systems every time something slips up.
Not sure if your business even needs a CRM? Click here to learn why this technology is vital before we get started.
If you’ve found that your CRM is taking more effort to upkeep than it’s worth, it may be time to take advantage of these time-saving practices:
- Secure your data with authentication.
- Choose a system that has a simple interface.
- Pick a CRM that integrates with all your software.
- Segment your contacts for quick access.
- Implement marketing automation.
- Ensure that your system has easy editing.
- Manage your team’s daily tasks with to-do lists.
A CRM is meant to save you time, not dominate it. If your business is tired of wasting precious time that could be used to acquire new customers and boost your revenue, then let’s jump straight into it!
1. Secure your data with authentication
Before you decide on any desired features in your next CRM, you’ll want to make sure your system offers some sort of authentication. The usability and functionality of your system mean nothing if there’s a data breach, exposing your customers’ information to the world.
Potential customers won’t want to invest in your products or even share their personal information if they feel like it might end up in the wrong hands. And if it does end up in the wrong hands, you’ll have customers and other businesses disassociating themselves with your company left and right.
Implementing a user authentication tool is a quick way to protect all of your contacts’ information, such as:
- Their name
- Their address
- Their payment information
If you want to speed up the authentication process even more, try using a passwordless authentication tool. With passwordless authentication, instead of entering traditional login credentials (i.e. a username and password), users will tap a button that creates an automated email that contains an encrypted key code. Once they hit send, their code will be processed, and they’ll be automatically logged in. This ensures that only authorized users are able to access your CRM data. For more information on this, check out Swoop’s guide to authentication APIs.
All the data you gather won’t do you any good if it’s not protected from unauthorized users. By protecting your data, you’ll prevent data breaches that can take up irreplaceable time to resolve.
2. Choose a system that has a simple interface
After security, a simple interface is the main feature you should look for in a CRM. It should be straightforward and easy to navigate. You don’t want your employees fumbling around trying to get to the tools and information they need.
Having innumerable features at your fingertips can be exciting, but try limiting it to only those you need. Otherwise, it’ll slow your system down and will make it harder to access the tools that you do need.
If your system isn’t easy to implement, your team members might get frustrated and give up, deeming your system unusable and an expensive failure. A CRM that’s too confusing to navigate wastes your customers’ time and your team’s time. No matter how straightforward your CRM may be, you will most likely run into an issue at some point, so make sure your system comes with accessible customer service, too!
3. Pick a CRM that integrates with all your software
This ties in with straightforward navigation. Your employees won’t want to navigate multiple software programs, each with their own unique user interface. Every piece of information stored across all your platforms should be stored in one program: your CRM.
This gives you quick access to specific customers’ information. For instance, if a sales associate needs to follow up with a prospect that’s leaning toward purchasing a product, they won’t have to search across all your software to find a phone number or email address. Instead, their contact information will be just a couple of clicks away in your CRM.
When don’t have to waste time navigating multiple software platforms, you can focus more on gaining and keeping customers. Much like businesses, nonprofits rely on customer retention. Take a note from nonprofits and don’t let this important strategy fall through the cracks.
Use data import to avoid duplicate information
When you import your data, you shouldn’t have to delete multiple entries. Your CRM should automatically merge identical entries and tidy up your data imported from all your different platforms, so your team can go on about their day without having to think twice about it.
You may not think duplicate information would be anything more than just annoying to look at, but it certainly is. Multiple entries for the same person means that when they’re on one of your mailing lists, emails or texts will be doubled and maybe even tripled! Filling up their inboxes might drive them away if the issue is left unresolved. All the time you’ve spent acquiring and retaining customers will go to waste.
4. Segment your contacts for quick access
When you need to introduce a new product relative to a specific group of people, you’ll find it much easier if you’ve segmented your customers within your CRM. Contact segmentation allows you to organize your data in an insightful way.
Some systems build live profiles for each and every one of your contacts. These profiles include their demographics — like their employer, their hometown, and age — as well as preferential data — like how they prefer to be contacted. When you gather this information, you can separate your customers into specific groups, such as:
- How they were acquired, like through social media or in person.
- The total amount they’ve invested in your business to identify your major customers.
- Their interests, so you know what encourages them to invest in your business.
Segmentation sets you up for successful sales asks, because you can leverage the information in your database to personalize your outreach. That way, you’re less likely to be shut down after spending time creating general requests that aren’t tailored to anyone specifically.
5. Implement marketing automation
Communication with customers eats up a major portion of a business’s time unless you get creative with your approach. After you’ve segmented your customers, you can customize your outreach to appeal to specific groups of people. This is a vital factor to consider when forming your marketing strategy, because not everyone responds the same to one communication approach.
Marketing automation allows you to strategically target your audience so that you can reach individuals who are likely to respond positively to whatever you need. Automation starts with basic email blasting, like a weekly (or monthly) newsletter to your entire base of customers. These mass emails are designed from templates and feature clear paths for readers to follow, like a CTA button that says ‘Purchase Now’ and reroutes them to your product page.
You’ll save time and money if you find a CRM that comes with a marketing automation filter or can easily integrate with one. Your communication will be more personal even though you might be sending emails to groups of people with commonalities.
When it comes to marketing, businesses can take a note from nonprofits, who rely heavily on external support. For more helpful tips on revamping your marketing strategy, visit Salsa’s strategy guide.
6. Ensure that your system has easy editing
An efficient CRM lets you edit your contact information quickly and easily. People’s personal details are constantly changing, so your system shouldn’t make it difficult to update their information. A few common reasons for needing to update a customer’s information are:
- A customer was recently hired by a new company and needs to update their employer information.
- A customer moves to a new home and needs to update their address.
- A customer’s phone number changes and they need to update their contact info.
A well-designed CRM will allow you to simply press an ‘edit’ button and instantly make changes. That way, you don’t have to set aside time to go into your system every time someone’s information needs to be updated.
7. Manage your team’s daily tasks with to-do lists
When your CRM offers the ability to manage your tasks and calendar events, you can make sure everyone stays on task and ensure that all work gets done! If your CRM offers to-do lists, you should be able to assign specific employees to each task. That way, everyone knows what they should be doing and when they should be doing it.
A useful feature is when you can add certain contacts to these tasks and events. That way, when a team member gets started on a project, they can instantly see contact information without having to dig through your CRM.
Creating to-do lists in your CRM allows you to make sure you’re not overloading your employees, too. As a whole, implementing task lists should increase efficiency company-wide!
Businesses can’t afford to waste time. Free up your day with a CRM that’s designed for you, and get back to doing what matters: working towards boosting your revenue!
Remember, an unsecured system is a bad system, so all of these user-friendly, time-saving features won’t do you any good if your information isn’t protected. Go ahead and start saving time with a user-friendly, well-designed CRM that has all of these features!