From XU Magazine, 
Issue 20

5 Pitfalls Stopping You Getting The Most From Your CRM

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the most powerful business tool that gives you insight into the health of your database. And yes, we know they are hard work. These are the top 5 pitfalls that are stopping businesses from utilising a CRM for better productivity, higher customer lifetime value and more sales…
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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In one of my past jobs, I started the first day being shown around the office, how to clock in/out, and that was about it. It was a rocky start to say the least, and I had to quickly find my feet on how things were done.

Soon, I realised that team collaboration was at an all-time low. The main sources of frustration were missing data in customer files that one team had but never passed along, and lack of proactivity in managing our new sales leads. The customer churn rate started going up and our revenue was taking a hit. After 13 years working with businesses in professional services industries, I still hear this story far too often.

We can all agree that customers should be at the heart of every business, but where businesses struggle is not having one source of truth by utilising a CRM (customer relationship management) system for exactly that, managing and improving relationships with their customers.

Why is a CRM so important?

This is the central hub where every single piece of information and interaction about a customer is recorded and available for all team members to access. When used properly, a CRM is the most powerful business tool that gives you insight into the strength of your database and health of your customers, prospects and leads.

Here are 5 powerful things you can achieve with a CRM with all your contacts in one central database:

  • Boost productivity and free up admin time
  • Profile your most profitable customer or product segment
  • Cultivate collaboration between teams
  • Identify the most effective marketing channel for lead generation
  • Nurture relationships and make more high value sales

Now here are the most common pitfalls we see from businesses of all sizes who donít have a CRM and their contacts are scattered across multiple spreadsheets or systems – this could easily have been a list of 50 but I’ve narrowed it down to 5 points:

1) Manual entry instead of automation

Way back in 2006, Xero transformed the way small businesses interacted with their finances by pulling bank transactions directly into their software automatically. This one function reduced a plethora of steps a person would normally have to take into a single action, presenting a clear dashboard of their cash balance.

It's estimated that the average CRM user spends 5.5 hours each week on manual data entry because their system isn't setup properly – this adds up to a lot of wasted hours!

Syncing your emails, meetings, calendar activities and payment records are the easiest thing you can set up to eliminate manual data entry. This frees up your time, reduces human error of forgetting to put important information in and provides automated reminders if you do forget!

2) Un-integrations

The dark side of automation is integration. Every app touts a laundry list of integrations with a simple click. It's critical to make sure data sets are matched up from Point A to Point B before hitting the go button. Skipping this step could create redundant input fields, incorrectly migrate data or erase historical records. Teams can spend weeks undoing this or backtracking when the data integrity was first lost. Better to spend time on the initial integration or migration step and make sure your systems speak to each other to avoid double handling.

3) Not bringing the team along

Information silos are hurting (and costing) your business and reducing productivity by around 30% through extra handling, search time, waiting for permissions, and double-checking. How many times have you heard this in your office, "Sorry, we already had this information but it was in a folder you don't have access to..." Don't leave team members out of the loop with this important roll.

Every person in your business is equally responsible for keeping an accurate profile of your customers. Wouldn't you prefer to use that 30% to delight your customers?

4) Neglecting your sales funnel

A marketing study found that over 60% of people requesting information from your company today won't buy from you for at least 3 months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy!

Sounds like we could all use a little help to stay on top of our leads and sales calls.

A business-aligned CRM solution will grow the relationship with your prospects and increase the value of your sales. Follow up opportunities systematically, track conversation history, see the trends in your sales cycle, and identify your best selling solutions. Many of our clients at Hunt & Hawk worry about being "bad at sales", but our first step is always to create a solid sales process that continues to convert even without us.

5) Not tracking your marketing activity

By the time my CRM notifies me of a new prospect, I already have a good idea about who they are and what they are interested in. Many CRMs have the ability to track visits to your website and tell you which pages users clicked on or emails they viewed. Couple that with a sign up to your newsletter or an e-book download, you've now also captured their name, email address, publicly listed social info and topics of interest. These actions are linked to their individual profiles without you lifting a finger.

When we are running marketing campaigns for our clients, we want to test the waters to see which approach will be the most effective in boosting your client success experience. It costs anywhere from 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. And with 93% of existing clients likely to be retained when you offer excellent customer service, taking the long view to invest in your customers enables you to grow more.

Your CRM should be the engine behind all this activity propelling your team further on the runway. Steer clear of these top five pitfalls and focus on optimising one thing at a time. If you feel like your CRM isn't hitting the mark, Hunt & Hawk are specialists in the professional services industry to develop systems that grow your sales and help your business soar.

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