A successful CRM implementation will boost revenue per B2B sales person by 41 percent. Marketing teams who have access to a company-wide CRM deliver three times more revenue than marketing teams without real-time access to customer information.
The elongated industrial buying process is challenging, but it offers numerous opportunities to check in with prospects, and those touch points provide data for your CRM. That data eventually helps you derive insights about the best sources for customers and key points in their buying journey. In many ways, the strengths of a CRM are a great match for the challenges of the industrial sector and marketing for manufacturers.
In the latest episode of the Industrial Marketer Podcast, co-hosts Joey Strawn and Nels Jensen discuss some proven ways and important considerations to get the most out of your efforts, whether you are deciding to jump into the CRM waters for the first time or looking to relaunch CRM 2.0.
A CRM Provides More Insights into the Elongated Buying Cycle
A well implemented CRM will help you use your time more efficiently and better align marketing and sales. The many benefits start with:
- Higher quality leads
- A better process for tracking those leads
- Collecting more data as those leads move through the sales process
With time, the CRM will provide valuable insights such as:
- What source of leads has the highest deal rate, or the fastest close rate
- Where prospects most frequently drop out
- The tipping point or combinations of actions that signify a prospect is ready to buy
Focus on Revenue in Order to Gain Buy-in from Stakeholders
CRM implementation and usage can be challenging. The primary reason CRM systems fail to deliver on their promise of increased revenue is because they are too often used for inspection, rather than creating improvements in the sales process, according to this article in the Harvard Business Review. The article states: “Front-line sales professionals and managers rarely find the majority of these capabilities useful in winning more business for the company.”
HBR’s advice for how to effectively leverage CRM implementation is especially wise for industrials and their elongated and often non-linear buying journey. Integrating your marketing efforts with sales activity will enable your CRM to be “the glue” that binds marketing efforts to the sales departments’ ability to more efficiently close deals.
One common perspective about CRMs from salespeople is that they do not experience direct value when inputting data on their client interactions. So if there is no incentive for data entry, the system becomes less reliable. The tool does not work as well if salespeople do not enter information as intended.
When considering CRM implementation, be honest with your marketing and sales teams about the goal of the CRM — it is to grow revenue. The outcomes matter. You will be generating statistics and data behind sales and close rates. You eventually will have insights into which platforms generate more meaningful leads. The salespeople will know more about why the chance of closing some leads is stronger than others. The CRM will help turn assumptions into data or disprove them.
Keep Training Simple with Visual Tools
Proper implementation is key for a CRM, as it is with any technology platform. Adopt processes that produce shared benefits for everyone involved. Not everyone will immediately love your new CRM, which is why it is imperative that you communicate effectively throughout training and implementation to ensure they understand and follow the processes.
Here are some tips for a successful CRM implementation. (Hint: These also apply to a company that failed in its first CRM implementation but believes the time is right for CRM 2.0.)
- Map your processes for marketing and sales.
- Map the typical buyer journeys.
- Agree on standards for what data is entered and how to enter it (standardization is key).
- Document the processes for using the CRM. This will be important for newcomers in addition to helping current staff learn.
- Plan on a training process, not just one session. You will need side-by-side training, followup training, a session to share best practices or tips from early adopters, and remedial training.
No matter how well you plan or how inclusive your planning is, you will need to make changes in the CRM processes as you go along. So it’s helpful to have ambassadors or champions from different departments to make decisions and communicate changes to the team.
Proper CRM Implementation Will Ensure Success, Drive Revenue Growth
A proper CRM implementation will benefit all stakeholders. It’s an advantage for the business if you can use at least use some of the same metrics to evaluate the success of the marketing and sales departments. For example, lead scoring is essential in identifying qualified leads and aligning what message is appropriate at various times. While it’s not all there is to a CRM, lead scoring alone will help integrated marketing and sales efforts.
It’s also important for sales managers not to use the CRM to solely check on the amount of activity, call volume, or other measures of efficiency. In those cases, the CRM will be of low value to the sales team and likely be rejected or filled with fictional data. Instead, use the CRM as a tool to jointly create strategies for major opportunities.
Listen to the Podcast for More on CRM Implementation
For more insights into how to implement a CRM in a way that will help you drive growth, tune into Episode 26 of the Industrial Marketer podcast.
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