How you keep track of customer information depends where you are in the evolution of your company. When you’re small, information is easy to find and access. But how do you know if you’ve reached the stage where your processes and internal systems are no longer working and are frustrating the development of your business? Here are ten signs that will tell you it’s time to implement a CRM system.
1. Siloed Data
When your customer data is held separately, by different departments or staff, it becomes siloed. Sales and Marketing may hold information on the same customer. But if one department updates the information, that will not be carried through to the other. This risks information becoming incorrect and outdated.
A CRM provides a central source of information across the company. All your customer data can be accessed by everyone who needs it and updates are reflected immediately across all departments and users. With everyone always using the most recent data, there is a consistent and accurate view of your customers. The picture of your customer is more complete because all departments can add to it, so you will know what they have bought and when, which marketing campaigns they have been sent and whether they have any customer service issues.
2. Inconsistent Data Formats
Maybe you’ve tried to reconcile and migrate your internal data already – by combining everything from across several spreadsheets, for example. But formatting and cleaning a large amount of data is problematic. You may have users that are all using different fields that are incompatible with each other. Or perhaps your data is drawn from various systems, that use inconsistent address formats or naming conventions.
Or maybe you already have a rudimentary CRM system, but it’s not working well for you, prompting staff to break conventions and adapt it for their needs, or even create their own systems.
This inconsistent approach makes for inadequate and inaccurate customer data. Your staff will be finding it hard to track down the information they need.
3. No Integration of Systems
Not being easily able to join systems together is a warning sign that it is time to assess your customer relationship processes. If Sales holds data in a database but it won’t integrate with the website, then new leads can’t be imported automatically and fed into the sales funnel. If Marketing uses an email marketing application that doesn’t capture new signups to the website, then new customer information has to be manually input.
Integrating your systems – your website, marketing campaign data, financial systems and prospecting information – into one is the best way to streamline your internal processes in a way that gives you full insight into your customers.
4. Missed Sales Opportunities
Data is valuable. When you can’t establish who has bought what because the spreadsheet didn’t get updated correctly, or you simply can’t track down the right data about your customers, then you are missing out on potential sales.
It’s important to be able to update your entire customer database with who took advantage of your recent promotion, or who bought a certain product. If you are restricted to tracking this sort of data manually, your sales and marketing staff will also be spending a considerable amount of time building lists by hand for each campaign.
5. Data Is Only Accessible on Site
If your method of collating customer data does not allow for remote access, then you are limiting how well your staff can interact with – and ultimately sell to – your customers.
With recent lockdowns and increased working from home, it has been clear that practices have effectively prevented staff from working efficiently, because they have not been able to readily access the customer system. This can threaten the continuation of a complete set of information, If staff start recording their own data locally, or create lists that they can access remotely, this begin a pattern where data can become siloed again.
6. Declining Levels of Customer Service
Without accurate records on customer purchases, communications, and interactions, staff don’t have a full view of the customer. This can result in a lack of understanding about who is responsible for any actions for that customer or missing details about what has been done to remedy any outstanding problems.
When your customers must repeat and confirm their details just to get a small issue sorted out, it can be incredibly frustrating – for you and for them. Data deficiency hinders customer satisfaction and fosters a negative view of your company.
With a CRM system, the latest touchpoints with each customer are visible to everyone dealing with them. So, information doesn’t have to be repeated and customer service can be handled more quickly and effectively.
7. Ineffective Targeting
Without the right information, you can’t run campaigns based on previous purchases, or offer new services to customers in certain locations.
If your customer records are only held by Accounts – because they are the ones who invoice – then Marketing can’t easily differentiate, except manually, who are existing customers and who has already signed up to their contact lists. Your company may therefore send slightly different offers to the same email contact – perhaps both a customer offer and a prospect offer. The resulting disconnect is evident to your customer, whose opinion of you will likely worsen.
Centralised, accurate data allows you to pinpoint targets that are ripe for cross-selling and upselling. When you know who has bought what, you can identify and segment your customers into groups and run highly targeted email campaigns and promotions. Better targeting, based on precise data, achieves better success rates.
8. Poor Insight and Analytics
With limited or incomplete customer data, there is so much you can’t see or act on. You don’t know who your largest spenders are, how many customers spend a certain amount, what percentage are repeat purchasers.
This lack of vital analytical data prevents you from making important business decisions; critical decisions that have a bearing on the financial future success of your company. Lack of good data can hamper your company’s growth and development, preventing your from scaling up or branching out into new markets.
9. No Measure of Marketing Effectiveness
CRM data is vital in demonstrating which marketing activities are generating the most enquiries or resulting in the most conversions.
Not being able to track leads means you can’t evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You won’t be able to measure whether the budget you put behind an email campaign was worth it or see what value you gained from exhibiting at a trade show.
Having this data is critical to informing the success of campaigns and the future allocation of your marketing budgets.
10. You are Growing
It’s impossible to say at which point in a company’s growth that it a CRM system becomes essential. But the evidence seems to point to the cut-off coming at around 10 employees. So even startups can benefit from a CRM system.
According to a widely quoted statistic, “91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a CRM system, compared with 50% of companies employing fewer than 10 people.”
This points to a lack of a coherent system being a hindrance to future growth. If you are growing – or aiming to – then having CRM software allows you to continue to maintain great relationships with your customers, whether you have only a few hundred or several thousands.
If your customer data processes are getting out of control, or if accessing data is frustrating your efforts to develop your business and holding you back, it’s time to upgrade. Get the most value from your customers and provide them with a great service by using NetSuite CRM. For a free quote or consultation, book an appointment now or contact us.