CRM ROI: 6 Ways to Measure the Payoff

August 20, 2019

How do you know if your CRM investment is paying off? Whether you are currently enjoying a CRM system, or are thinking about investing in one, there are several ways to measure the impact on sales, customers and business operations. Maybe one or all of these measures is worth your consideration. If you haven’t yet done so, consider setting goals based on the desired benefits of your chosen CRM solution, then monitoring the impact over time, to get an idea of the time horizon and set your expectations on whether or when your CRM investment will eventually “pay off”. In our experience, it’s typically measured in months, not years.

1. Increased revenue

A well tuned CRM solution could help you increase the volume of qualified sales leads, which can enable you to increase sales. Connect your website’s leadgen forms, your social channel feeds and your website analytics and other data sources, so you can better identify ready buyers as well as potential future buyers, and serve up the type of nurturing each might require. Your CRM solution can also help you automate and accelerate responses in a content-relevant way. Today’s buyers expect a prompt, tailored response, as a gauge for deciding whether and where to buy. The impact of this Customer Experience factor is discussed in detail later.

2. Reduced Expenses

One byproduct of the improved lead qualification and improved follow-up involved in appropriately nurturing sales and future leads is that you can reduce wasted time and effort on low priority work, or on waiting for others to take action, or on the distraction of less important work. CRM helps you detect leaky business processes, fulfillment delays and other opportunities to speed up the business. Result: you can sell, serve and do more, without sacrificing quality.

3. Greater Efficiency

Is your CRM solution enabling you to get more done with less? Are Leads, Contacts and Clients receiving better self-service and faster response? Your CRM solution can be just the resource you need to help minimize errors, omissions and delays in getting the right response to the right person at the right time.

4. Happier People

Our motto: every user a power user. One of our clients completely transformed from being a notorious high-turnover operation into a talent magnet, simply by supporting their CRM users better. Today, there is no excuse for not tuning your CRM, training your people, and empowering them to make improvements to the CRM implementation so that everyone can benefit. Top talent today expects you to have a CRM solution in place, to help them be productive and demonstrate results. If you can’t do that, you face self-imposed headwinds in hiring, training and retaining talent.

A well tuned CRM can also help you stay focused on priorities, so you can better measure your own resource needs and plan to either hire, build or buy the resources to meet demand, and stimulate an increase in demand.

Morale is higher when your sales, service and marketing people can use CRM to alert one another to a customer need, then involve your best experts and resources in delivering the right response on the most appropriate channel, at the right time – without redundancy and guesswork. People who are effective in their work tend to be happier and more productive. So, use your CRM to set up some measures that help people find opportunities to deliver the best result.

5. Customer Experience (CX)

Much has been written about the Customer Experience as the competitive lever in building loyalty, referrals and repeat business. A well tuned CRM solution can help you anticipate and meet customer needs in two ways: overt needs (direct requests) and implied needs. Implied needs can be detected based on patterns of buyer behavior combined with rich data. In one client case, we found that buyers of product A were more likely to buy product B, but not product C; we helped the client tune the fulfillment process to automatically mention product B, and only mention product C if expressly requested. This help the client reduce the wasted time, expense and annoyance to buyers in inappropriately recommending product C, while improving follow-on sales of product B. Result: better customer retention, improved customer relations, happier staff, and more sales.

6. Loyalty

CRM can be the differentiator in helping you gain a deeper understanding of customers’ values, needs and priorities, so you can improve your dialogue with each customer based on a deeper understanding of that individual.  At one of our clients, some disparate departments were able to communicate better internally and coordinate to deliver the optimal result to a key customer. Where before some inbound inquiries from existing customers were being treated as unknown “first contact” conversations, the CRM helped improve visibility into the nature of each inquiry, by combining purchase records, IP address information, social signals and other data sources into a more comprehensive view of the inquiry and a more appropriate response.

A repeat customer does not usually with to be treated as a newbie, and a newbie probably shouldn’t receive a loyalty program until after the first purchase. CRM helps you straighten this out.

Over to You

What has your CRM implemention done for you lately? Have you set up measures to help you recognize the payoff? We’d love to hear about your experience and, of course, help you get those answers if you find them elusive. It’s all we do.

Contact us.

Take a CRM Needs Assessment

Additional Reading

Article: How Digital is Powering Growth in Key Account Management (McKinsey)

 


CRM Pro Tips: Thinking about Linking

December 22, 2016


chain-linksDear CRM user: This is arguably the most important 5 minutes of CRM training you’ll ever need, if you want a CRM that is well-tuned, delivers on its promises, and gives you unbeatable competitive advantage.  ~Ed

Human intelligence is often described as sophisticated pattern-matching or linking concepts together. Example: you learn early in life not to touch that hot stove a second time. (“Thanks, brain!”)

Everything we do is linked to something else, somehow. Our “cause and effect” knowledgebase can be expressed as “If / Then”: If X happens, Y follows. We learn and improve by linking new ideas, events, data and relationships.

CRM, similarly, unlocks tremendous potential advantage, helping you to link activities, people and resources with deals, customers, relationships, and reliable dashboard reporting.  Done well, it helps you discover unique and repetitive link patterns and accelerate improvement in sales, service, revenue and innovation.  You can then detect patterns in buyer behavior, purchase process, dealflow and more, which in turn can improve your forecasting accuracy and your business intelligence advantage.

The reverse is also true:  done poorly, your CRM database becomes a useless mess of disjointed data, and your team coordination, customer satisfaction and data intelligence can suffer.

This 15 page playbook illustrates in just 5 minutes how CRM products are ready-built to help you leverage links and relationships among people, data, sales, products and more.  It all comes down to “thinking about linking”.

Have at it!  I welcome your reactions, comments and edits.  Help keep this crowdsourced tutorial fresh and improved.  Of course, I’ll credit you with any changes that are kept.  More CRM Pro Tip playbooks to come.  Subscribe! It’s all free.

Cheers,

Ed


Which KPIs to Measure, and When

January 14, 2016

Maybe you’re the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), the Chief Sales Officer (CSO), or the one doing it all (sing: C-I-E-I-O). In any case, you are deeply involved with setting strategy, goals and KPIs that will help you make your number. Which measurements matter most, and why? Are you swimming in data and metrics, and confused by the options? You are not alone. Here’s why, and how to solve it.

Today, almost all of you customer’s buying journey happens online before they speak with you.  Often you aren’t even aware, although that can be fixed too (separate forthcoming post; follow this blog).

This means Marketing and Sales have to jointly engage potential buyers over a longer period of time, using multiple touchpoints, to reliably focus on helping the most needy customers and likely buyers.

Geting Organized

Knowing what to measure, and when to measure it, for each Tactic (video, whitepaper, etc.) and each Buyer Journey stage (people ask different questions as they proceed through to a decision), helps you optimize your relationship building efforts and improve sales and service.

The dizzying array of measurements and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) often hinders progress, so we have reviewed the results of a number of client engagements to bring you an easy single-page reference table that you can use with any CRM system to guide your setup of meaningful measurements, accurately gauge progress, and know where your next sale is coming from.  Your own circumstances may be unique, but this is a start.

A Handy Funnel / KPI Planner Tool

Marketing Funnel KPI clip PreviewClick the spreadsheet snippet here to preview a .pdf of this free organizer tool that guides you through the most important KPIs to set for each Funnel stage, each Goal, and each Tactic you use to make customers and happiness happen. Sales and Marketing people across a number of client projects have tried this tool and liked it.

Get the Actual Working Tool – it’s free

The native file is much easier to work with than the Preview.  It is an ordinary Excel spreadsheet, and I have pre-set it with split windows so you can scroll right to reveal over 30 KPIs that apply for each Stage, Goal and Tactic, without losing sight of the main row and column headers. Check the last box on the list on this online order form to order your free copy.

Get the KPI planner tool - free

Over to You

Try it! I welcome your reactions, comments and suggestions. This KPI Chart will be added to our Resources page shortly, after it has been “out to play” among you for a little while and we have gathered your feedback. Of course, you will be notified of those updates, if you have downloaded the file.

As always, we couldn’t do what we do in this blog without your input, and from the valuable experience we gain working with clients and the many CRM, sales force automation and “social hive” tools we implement for them, too numerous to mention here.  Thanks!

Cheers, ~Ed


The Real Meaning of CRM

November 11, 2015
human and robot hands

Credit: Phillipedia Files

I often joke with clients and audiences that the acronym CRM may be widely accepted as shorthand for “Customer Relationship Management”, but we know what it really stands for: “Can’t Remember Much”.

Before you dash away from this article thinking it’s all jokes, let’s analyze the kernel of truth behind that chuckle.

Some parts of your work could be automated.  CRM is just one tool. That’s the good news. Implemented well, CRM can free you to spend more time applying your expertise on more creative work and expediting decisions on exceptional cases instead of tedious, rote activities like cataloging and retrieving information.

Take the free CRM Readiness Assessment

The main challenge is human adaptability. It is natural to find comfort in routine, but when that same routine becomes unnecessary or a competitive disadvantage, you must adapt or face potential loss. Buggy whips, anyone?

To be sure, the economic benefits of automation include labor savings, but nobody is suggesting that all human-involved work goes away. Instead, your work might become more cerebral in nature. Amazon’s Kiva warehouse robots can stock shelves and fulfill shipment orders far faster and commit fewer errors, and Quill can produce narrative reports from raw data whose resulting output is hard to distinguish from a human-authored prose piece, but they are not existential threats.  Your ability to create, decide, interpret and act on information is a product of your judgment and experience; analyzing the risk and opportunity inherent in any decision is downright, intuitively messy. And we humans are surprisingly, inimitably good at it.  We just need our CRM solution to have proper care and feeding, including clean, accurate, relevant data, so that we can validate our decisions against … something.

It’s not just low skill, low wage work that could be automated. Many highly skilled types of work could have aspects of certain work processes delegated to automation. Scheduling, producing reports and aggregating data can be automated to synthesize new discoveries, flag exceptions and highlight decision options directly at their point of use – – the factory floor or the boardroom – where a judgmental human can use discretion to suit the desires and needs of a customer.

What does this mean to the business leader? It means we need to use our creativity and judgment to study developments in new automation solutions and assess how and when we might sensibly adopt them to maintain a competitive edge, or perhaps or discover a new one.

Technology of any kind is usually only a temporary advantage, but human creativity and productivity are hard to beat. You definitely want more creative humans on your team – especially creative ones who can interpret your needs and help you find the automation solutions to fill them. That’s where a CRM expert comes in. Shameless plug alert: luckily, you found us.

Additional Resources

Four fundamentals of workplace automation (McKinsey)


Connected Customers are Transforming Your Business – again

December 1, 2014

Recent seasonal business and commerce reports announce that the smartphone-toting Connected Customer, known affectionately as “Generation C”, now outnumbers the in-person buyer – and not just in retail stores.  Generation C has higher expectations elsewhere, too; they expect their relationship with your business to evolve beyond a series of first dates – – a long-held expectation in the B2B space.

Fan Foundry Service Options

What’s your challenge?

To our delight, some industries are transforming to get in front of the trend (think: media, music, entertainment, phones), partly to compete but also to survive against disruptors, born in the digital age, who find new ways to free up inventory (Uber, AirBnB, Netflix, Spotify, Khan Academy).  Meanwhile, many long-established industries risk extinction or deep disruption (encyclopedias, libraries, record stores, taxis, newspapers, education).

Turn your Digital Channel up to 11 (a free playboook)

Nobody said transforming your business to serve the Connected Customer would be easy.  Indeed, it is often underestimated and under-resourced.  Analyst reports repeatedly cite CXOs admitting that their modernization and transformation projects are failing to deliver expected ROI, with some projects even failing outright. But if you wish to survive, transforming to take advantage of speeds and feeds is essential.

Our clients, by contrast, almost uniformly report success in making the digital transformation, often with results that vastly exceed their expectations. What do they have in common?  They consider the interconnected influences, impacts and perspectives I have outlined in this free e-book, whose insights are gleaned from dozens of client projects over the past 10+years.

Turn Digital Channel up to 11 free offer banner

Getting Started

If your future vision for your business involves the competitive advantages of empowered people, deeper insights, greater customer loyalty, and improved efficiency, that transformation is indeed possible.  It just requires careful planning.  Having that transformation initiative fail is not an option in the eyes of your Connected Customer.  The hardest part, getting started, involves assessing your people, process and technology challenges in light of the opportunity.

I hope you find this e-book useful in planning a successful transformation.  As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

Cheers,

Ed


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