Modern customer relationship management systems have their roots in the 1980s, when a CRM was little more than a digital Rolodex of customers and leads. Two decades later, the business world had replaced faxes and letters with emails, and websites had gone from being unheard of to a necessity. CRM has become an essential part of life for Sales and Marketing teams in every industry.
We all benefit from customer relationship management. CRMs make our lives easier when we call our bank or insurance company and they have our information at the ready. It means less irrelevant noise in our lives as companies use that data to market their products to only the most relevant consumers. And CRMs make our businesses more valuable and easier to run.
Why CRM is essential for Insight Selling
Imagine being asked to make a sales call without knowing anything about your prospect: not their company, job title, or even their name. The conversation would not go particularly well and the outcome would likely be sludgy.
Customer relationship management is a magnet for information that helps Sales teams sell more effectively and efficiently. Salespeople making CRM-driven calls achieve a better quality call, more insights, and a better conversion rate. They enable Sales to do their job more effectively by having all of this extra data at their fingertips. Without CRMs, Sales is calling “blindly” into the account rather than calling in an informed manner.
One of the most powerful data sources of insight selling for a B2B salesperson today is social media, especially LinkedIn. Modern CRMs hook into social media with APIs that deliver real-time data, around the decision-makers in an account, and with crucial pieces of company information.
Moreover, social-driven CRM insights also let sellers have a conversation framed with the understanding of whether their prospect is connected to other people they know. This allows the salesperson to adapt their conversation to mention existing customers that will resonate with their prospect, and have confidence that they are dealing with a known entity.
Why CRM leads to better Sales and Marketing campaigns
Why CRM became an integral tool for Marketers
The change in the way people consume and research information has led to Marketing getting “in” on the CRM world. Today in the 2020s, the most successful Marketing automation companies have a leading CRM product, and vice-versa. The two are now nearly indistinguishable in the case of some software providers.
Why? Because CRM leads to better Marketing campaigns in the B2B world. CRM is now the place where good Sales and Marketing functions collaborate to maintain and build new customer relationships.
Why CRM leads to more timely Sales calls
Firstly, most salespeople are opportunistic in nature. Data and our experience say that only 3% of your target market are actively looking for your solution at a given point in time. When salespeople encounter the other 97%, they typically move on to the next prospect with a higher probability of win.
Secondly, even if that prospect is a good long-term fit for the business, it is unlikely that the next call Sales makes will hit them at that sweet spot. Most calls Salespeople make are poorly timed, and without CRM the timeliness does not improve.
Why CRM makes Marketing and Sales campaigns more commercial
When Sales has called a relevant lead who is not ready to buy – they can instantly move that lead to nurture following an “opt-in” tick by the salesperson in their CRM. This kind of handoff is difficult with a spreadsheet-driven approach but incredibly simple in a purpose-built system.
Having this data in a structured database allows Marketing to run campaigns targeting leads that Sales has touched. Using Sales data to inform campaigns leads to a better reaction to the campaigns. The favourable reaction leads in turn to better conversion rates on the next call, and overall, more return on investment for Sales and Marketing as functions.
Why CRM data leads to increased market share
Consider a business in its first month of life. Customers are hard to come by, as people don’t know the brand, or whether the venture is going to succeed. At this juncture, the business does not mind where its customers come from, and segmenting leads by industry is less relevant.
As time goes by, the business ‘lands’ in certain industries, and with a certain size of company, and with a particular job title in those companies. At this juncture you need to start learning from your own history to improve your own win rate. A business finds this history in their CRM.
Successful businesses keep and review their CRM data over time. CRM data helps Sales teams win over the accounts that have the best likelihood of winning. Using this data enables salespeople to refine their positioning, by having all relevant customer information at their disposal.
Using this data allows a business to get larger and more complex deals over the line by helping the sales team to map the buying landscape and build consensus.
CRM enables a business to understand where the market is at today, and make premeditated strategic moves to increase their overall market share. For example: CRM data tells a leadership team which competitors are most active in which parts of the market, and how to edge out the competition.
Why CRM leads to better business planning
The evolution of business decision making in the 21st century is driven by how businesses trap and analyse data. Businesses have always used data and insights to make decisions, even if this data came from doing the books, reading a newspaper, or even a papyrus scroll, no doubt!
Business decision making principles have not fundamentally changed: the toolset has. How businesses leverage the data and toolsets available to them is directly correlated to their ability to win over the competition.
CRM systems quickly become invaluable tools for business leadership teams looking to plan their next moves. The starting point commences with salespeople trapping notes from meetings and building a detailed pipeline of what the market is looking to buy. The next step involves analysing which opportunities were won, which were lost, and why. This analysis leads to a better understanding of the business’ strengths and weaknesses. The final step is making delivery, resourcing, and business improvement decisions off the back of these insights.
Why customer relationship management fails…and how to fix it
Modern-day marketers are spending more on technology than ever before. Gartner’s latest data on CMO spend indicates that technology accounts for the largest proportion of marketing budgets at above 26.2%, ahead of media spend, internal talent, and agencies. CRMs are a pleasure to work with for the technology-savvy marketer.
Marketers are usually in charge of CRM – and they usually do a good job (technically) of managing CRM.
Why CRM fails comes down to how marketing interfaces with the business leadership or the sales team. If execs are not getting value from CRM, and Sales are not using it properly, CRM depreciates in value.
A common sign that CRM is disconnected from the business and sales teams is the use of Excel. The five scenarios depicted in the following table represent the most common reasons a proper system is displaced by Excel:
|Obvious benefits of Excel vs CRM||Long-term downsides of Excel|
|Excel is quick and cheap to set up||Setup does not support robust campaigns|
|Executives prefer Excel reports||Lack of structured data leads to limited reporting|
|Spreadsheets allows simplicity: “call through the list”||Flat files do not handle complex next steps well|
|Most users are already paying for Excel||Excel doesn’t turn data into an organisational asset|
|Excel keeps “junk data” out of CRM||Doesn’t address the real issue of junk data|
Fixing a failed CRM play is less about technology and more about giving people what they want. Execs and Salespeople want simplicity and speed: Marketers can give that to them. Marketers who want CRM to succeed need to take the role of internal service provider to their Sales and Exec teams.
Why customer relationship management is important (in summary)
Why CRM is important for B2B sales and marketing comes down to the two ‘Ds’ of data and decisions. CRM is an irreplaceable tool to trap and manage data; business decisions supported by data are more robust.
How this technology ends up working for your business is a matter of detail. The most important concept for successful CRM is the alignment of business, marketing, and sales.
CRM supported by Resonate
Resonate is a full-stack marketing agency with expertise implementing, configuring, and managing CRM. We are a HubSpot agency focused on business-to-business clients. Learn how we can boost your B2B Sales and with our Marketing services, and contact us via email@example.com for a review of your CRM play.
RK (Rahul Kumar) is the Founder & CEO of Resonate.