Feb 23, 2018 4 min read

3 Ways to Take Your CRM to the Next Level of Maturity

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Elizabeth Mankowski

Elizabeth Mankowski
Director, Business Solutions Practice

During the first quarter of the year, many organizations find themselves evaluating their sales team, tools, and targets. Does this sound like you?

We’ve been tracking new opportunities in a spreadsheet, but now we’re adding sales staff and we need to coordinate better.

We want customer service to have access to the same account profile that our sales team views.

We want our CRM to be the hub for customer touchpoints across channels, by integrating with marketing, our ERP, and other software.

When your organization hits a growth spurt and finds itself ready to graduate beyond the spreadsheet, or wanting to get more mileage out of your CRM, you’re at a crossroads.

When it’s time for that next step, there are many different ways to elevate your CRM. Some clients expand in all directions of their business — integrating customer service, marketing, and sales functions all at once. And others pick just one area of focus.

Organizations need to find the path for CRM growth that best aligns with their overall strategic goals. Here are three ways to take your CRM to the next level of maturity:

1. Gaining a 360° view of account management

We worked with Materion to help them customize their CRM to track product quality issues reported by their customers. In developing this feature, the company sought to put their vision of “One Materion” into action, empowering every sales rep with a cohesive view of customer histories and making sure there were “no surprises” in the sales process. The customization allowed for the capture of quality issues, routing of notifications to internal quality staff, and tracking of the resolutions. This valuable information is now available real-time within the CRM, and anyone interacting with the customer can easily communicate status of quality issues.

Centralizing sales and customer service account activities within your CRM gives your team a complete picture of each account. When customers reach your service center, your reps likely have order history in front of them, but what about opportunity history — what that customer didn’t buy? Or invoice history — what that customer hasn’t paid for yet? Notes, documents, and meeting history can all provide a customer service representative with an expanded view of the customer on the other end of the line. Customizing your CRM to provide this 360° view empowers your service team to respond more effectively on the first call.

2. Streamlining your sales process

Highland partnered with a medical equipment supplier to implement a highly structured sales method within their CRM. The sales method was built around carefully constructed teaching moments that helped the customer understand the company’s unique strengths. By integrating this sales approach within their CRM, the company gave their team the exact information they needed to bring customers to new moments of insight at each stage in the sales process.

By making this process simple and repeatable, the company could mine the data and develop insights. This kind of integration is a great fit for any company whose sales process requires reps to perform the same steps at each stage of a sales opportunity. If your organization wants to understand whether or not certain assessment responses correlate with a higher close rate, you won’t know until you standardize and measure.

3. Improving your marketing automation intelligence

At Highland, we’ve been partnering with the team at SugarCRM for almost a decade to help our clients better understand their customers and manage sales processes. SugarCRM supports integration with most marketing automation tools like Marketo and Act-On right out of the box. Tracing leads through the sales funnel is table-stakes for most large enterprises. A platform like SugarCRM enables small- and medium-sized businesses to gain the same insights with a lower cost-of-entry.

When your business is regional and your prospect pool is limited by geography, capturing the effectiveness of each type of campaign — whether it’s email, social media, trade shows, or events — can concentrate the efforts of a smaller sales and marketing team. This gives mid-size businesses the same expertise and insight into their prospects’ browsing and buying habits as larger market competitors.

There are many changes you could make to your CRM that would make a meaningful impact on your business. The right partner will help you evaluate the choices in front of you, and guide you to the option that will lead to the greatest return on investment.

Need help figuring out how to get more mileage out of your CRM? Get it touch to learn how Highland can help you move into the next stage of your CRM journey.