How a CRM Can Help Build Better Relationships and a Stronger Pipeline
Make more informed business decisions with the help of tools that precisely track customer behavior.
There’s been a lot of chatter in the marketing spheres about how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in consumer expectations and buying habits. And for the most part, it’s true. Consumers are looking for different things from businesses relative to trends in behavior prior to 2020. Businesses have noted a distinct shift in the type of marketing content being sought out, buying patterns have shifted to businesses seen to be more sensitive to the fallout from the pandemic, and there’s an increased focus on utility over quality. These specific shifts are challenging to adjust to, but what businesses across the economic landscape should not be surprised about? That consumer behaviors undergo change over time.
As marketing professionals with stakes in helping our clients keep up with consumer behaviors, we have a wide array of tools and strategies at our disposal to track and keep up with these trends. Perhaps one of the most powerful tools an organization can leverage, whether they are a B2C or a B2B provider, is a customer relationship management solution.
What Is Customer Relationship Management?
Sometimes we have to say the quiet parts out loud, so get ready: If you sell a product or service, then your relationship with your customers is the most important and valuable resource you have to leverage and build more sales. You will not grow as a business without the tools to track and manage the sales relationship over time.
Luckily, there are tools for that. Many extremely effective and robust tools that help your business track and record conversations, interactions, and behaviors across the life of the buyer’s journey, and when properly integrated with your marketing sales funnel, can provide tremendous insight into consumer behaviors and needs. Like many technologies, companies tend to launch CRM systems and then forget about them. But when properly and actively used by your sales team, the CRM system can become extremely powerful.
Strengthening the Sales Pipeline And Benefiting From Your CRM
Marketing strategies are designed to generate a constant flow of leads to your sales team, so it’s important to have just as robust a system to handle the inflow of leads as it is to have a powerful strategy generating those leads across the totality of your digital real estate. The most effective CRM systems are integrated to work with the other systems used by your organization in order to be able to not only track and correlate data but also to automate tasks and provide guidance to your sales team.
Embrace CRM’s Automation Advantages
CRM systems can automate the initial contact process with leads and then schedule and track all subsequent follow-ups by the sales team.CRM can also be used to send emails throughout the lead conversion process in order to keep leads engaged with your sales team and brand.
Data analytics can be used to score and prioritize lead behaviors and characteristics, subsequently resulting in your CRM system assigning a lead behavior score. This scoring strategy allows your sales team to focus their efforts on leads more likely to convert and improves the efficiency of the team by removing leads unlikely to convert based on shared patterns of behavior.
CRM Helps You Actively Manage Your Pipeline
Your marketing strategy and sales pipeline should never be static tools that you deploy at the start of the year and never revisit. CRM systems collect data about incoming leads, including how each lead was sourced. The system also tracks each interaction in the inbound marketing process, so you know what content they’ve read, who has talked to them from your team, and ultimately if and how they were converted from lead to client. From all of this data, you can strategize with your marketing team what steps in the pipeline are working and which need to be adjusted.
Strategic improvements without associated long-term goals leave your team without specific direction or agency. Sharing these goals with your team can provide the incentive and structure needed to improve their approach with clients. Conversely, without a CRM to manage and streamline the sales process, your sales team will be left to figure out what’s working and what’s not on their own. This can result in inconsistent sales behaviors that will ultimately be detrimental to your conversion process. A consistent and predictable sales experience is just as important as your customers knowing what to expect from your products or services in establishing long-term trust and brand loyalty.
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CRM Offers B2B Services Advantages in Loyalty Management
On the B2C side, retailers use CRM to provide customers with loyalty programs that over time add value to the customer experience. As a B2B service provider, you can offer similar types of incentives to customers who have expressed their satisfaction with your brand and provided positive reviews. Customers who are happy and know that they will be receiving a bonus for doing so will gladly talk your business up on their own social media channels and drive traffic to your site, creating an organic flow of inbound referrals that will increase your bottom line over time.
CRM Trends in 2021 and Beyond that UpCity’s B2B Services Network Can Help You Embrace
Largely a tool of the services and retail industry, we’re seeing more and more industries embrace CRM as they realize that even if your clients are businesses, you can still track and leverage data about their behavior into increased lead conversions. And as more types of businesses embrace CRM, we’re seeing its role in businesses evolve as rapidly as the technology itself.
From integration with voice technology to a natural pairing with the Internet of Things, CRM is starting to become more powerful as it’s integrated throughout the business infrastructure, making it a powerful tool for vertical markets. We’ll continue to see the technology improve and expand in scope as it’s improved with AI-driven analytic engines, ultimately creating over the course of the year an entirely different and evolved form of CRM tailored towards a workforce increasingly populated by Millenials, who have more of an affinity for CRM than their predecessors.
As B2B service providers, I know that it’s been difficult to regain your footing with as much of your client base themselves scrambling to stay afloat. You and your clients are both managing limited budgets and trying to identify the internal operations and systems necessary to maintain business operations even as we are in the midst of the crisis that brought all of this about. As an operations manager that depends on sourced leads, I am here to tell you all that integrating a CRM solution into your operations is one of the most transformative and profitable investments you can make right now. And the best place to find that tool is through the UpCity B2B Services Network, which can open doors to service providers ready to partner with your organization. Through the network, you’ll be able to find a partner committed to helping you improve your operations, increase inbound leads, and provide you with the tools necessary to increase the effectiveness of your sales pipeline.