Anomaly Detection and 4 More Critical CRM Success Hacks

You’re losing money on your CRM software and you don’t even know it.

As an up-and-coming small or midsize business (SMB), you’re almost certainly using customer relationship management (CRM) software to ensure that you have the best possible interactions with your customers, clients and leads.

You probably use the key functions of the CRM—contact management, interaction tracking, sales force automation etc.—but are you taking advantage of all of the CRM tools that can accelerate your business? Or are you just paying for features you’re not actually using?

Most small business leaders are unaware of functionality in their CRM systems that can add significant value to their business and are not getting the most out of their software investment.

We spoke to several CRM experts in order to discover their most highly recommended CRM hacks, so that you can follow in their footsteps and leverage your CRM to get the biggest ROI and take your business to a level beyond most SMBs. Just follow this handy checklist:

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1. Unleash Automation on All Analog Tasks

The entire point of purchasing an automated CRM system is to save time—and thus money—by avoiding tedious analog tasks.

However, some companies only use the most basic automation within their systems, missing out on opportunities to digitize tasks that could make day-to-day operations easier and more profitable.

You will see your adoption and implementation rate go up if you mandate that your team use your CRM to digitally automate formerly analog tasks.

For example, GreenPal co-founder Zach Hendrix explains that when the company adopted a new CRM he, “broke down the existing tasks and workflows that our sales people were already conducting and replaced analog tasks with new software-related tasks. Ultimately we ended up getting the needed buy-in because we replaced one by one the analog tasks with digital tasks.”

Workflow automation in Prophet CRM
 

The tasks that you should automate in your CRM system include:

  • Adding leads from multiple channels to your contact database
  • Adding contact details to a mailing list
  • Sending customers a welcome email
  • Texting contacts
  • Assigning tasks to yourself or others
  • Creating custom documents
  • Sending an invoice
  • Setting reminders

If you have CRM software, you should not be doing any of these tasks analog, or you are simply wasting the money that you spent on your system.

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

  • Mandate that your team automates any and all analog CRM tasks.
  • Check your system for other automation options that may streamline your CRM process.

2. Use Scheduling To Ensure Future Success Today

The core functionality of a CRM system is to enable you to have all of your customer/contact details contained in one database that’s accessible by all of the stakeholders at your company.

However, if you’re just using the CRM to log and track interactions with customers, you’re not forward-thinking enough.

In addition to logging and tracking interactions, forward-thinking leaders use their CRM systems to drive more follow-up calls, capitalizing on the 80 percent of sales that require up to five such calls.

Most interactions with customers should end with setting up a follow-up date and time, either scheduled directly with the customer or internally logged into your CRM. This will allow you to not just log those interactions, but also ensure that your future interactions will build upon the relationship you’ve worked so hard to establish.

Shawn Breyer, of Breyer Home Buyers, notes that “the most important thing that we use our CRM for is the follow-up scheduling. We get about 57 percent of our deals from the follow-up system.”

With more than half of Breyer’s deals coming from follow-ups, it’s clear that this system is vital to his company.

He goes on to explain, “We cold call about 5,000 homeowners a month and when we make contact with someone, we either use Click2Mail to send them an offer immediately, send them out a thank you letter for talking to us and set them up into an automatic monthly postcard mailing campaign, set them up on a bi-weekly calling schedule or we schedule an appointment immediately.”

KiteDesk’s scheduling page
 

Keeping track of customer details and interactions is crucial to CRM, but you don’t want to just have a record of the past; you should also be using follow-up scheduling to keep that relationship going into the future.

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

  • Track and log every interaction with every customer and contact.
  • After every interaction, immediately schedule a follow-up.

3. Detect Anomalies With CRM Features

Though most CRM users know about the reporting and analytics functionality of their software—which provides managers with customizable reports of previous system and employee activity along with analytical predictions of future opportunities—they don’t use those tools to their full advantage.

According to Vibhav Vankayala, the CRM product marketing manager of Zoho, you can and should set up your system to detect anomalies in real-time, rather than solely relying on periodic reports.

Vankayala explains, “Why wait till the end of the month to analyze sales performance? If something was wrong on day two, you might not recognize it until day thirty. Salespeople can identify anomalies in real-time [using their CRM], so that they can course-correct immediately.”

Anomaly detection in Zoho CRM
 

The last thing you want is to find out too late that something has been going wrong with your CRM process. Anomaly detection tools will keep you on top of what is and isn’t working as that process unfolds in real time.

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

  • Set up regular automated reports of sales, contacts, and other vital data.
  • Tell your team to use the CRM to look for and flag any anomalies as they happen in real-time, rather than just waiting on those reports.

4. Measure Metrics You Think You Don’t Care About

It’s tempting, even when you have a robust CRM system, to only track what you view as the most important or critical metrics that you use to measure success, such as sales closed, contacts made and so forth.

However, you should use the tracking capabilities of your CRM to track everything, since you don’t know what metrics may become important in the future.

According to Andrew Gaffney at Demand Gen Report, 67 percent of marketers rank measuring impact as a top priority, which means you’d be foolish not to take advantage of every measuring tool you have.

As DontPayFull CEO and digital marketing expert Andrei Vasilescu explains, “The well-planned Key Performance Indicator or KPI you set for today is not likely to remain useful for your marketing efforts in the near future.”

Vasilescu further notes that you should consistently analyze all of the information gathered by your CRM system in order to find interesting cross-sections of data that will tell you new things about your audience.

This will allow you to fine-tune your marketing techniques to speak directly to that audience, “which will provide far better engagement and conversion than you have expected.”

Analysis of metrics in AmoCRM
 

Once again, you should be using your CRM system in a future-thinking manner.

Don’t just focus on what’s important to your company today, but also keep accurate measurements—and perform useful analysis—of the data and metrics that may well prove crucial to your company tomorrow.

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

  • If your CRM system has the ability to track a certain metric or statistic, then measure it.
  • Regularly use your system’s analytical tools to give you cross-section breakdowns of your customers so you can learn better how to to specifically market and pitch to them.

5. Go Beyond Typical CRM With Project Delivery

Several of the hacks/tips we’ve discussed above advise you to be future-facing with your CRM software, meaning that you shouldn’t just track what’s already happened but also use your system to better position yourself for your future interactions with customers.

Some CRM systems will help you do this very directly, by allowing you to take closed deals and turn them into assigned projects that ensure your customers will get what you’ve promised them (and that they’ve paid for).

As Tony Kavanagh, the CMO of Insightly, explains, “Most CRMs process leads, turn them into opportunities and then convert them into closed deals. But it’s equally important for businesses to actually deliver on what they sold.”

In order to do this, integrated project delivery tools (that is, tools that allow you to coordinate employee, contractor and partner activity via task management, workflow automation, file sharing, etc.) can allow your business “to turn a closed deal into a project, assign tasks and ultimately deliver what they’ve sold.”

Insightly’s project activity page
 

 RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: 

  • Consider a fully robust CRM system that features a set of project delivery tools.
  • If your CRM doesn’t have these tools, explore project management software that might integrate with your system.

Next Steps

You’re well on the way to taking your CRM to the next level using these simple hacks. So what else can you do to make sure that you’re establishing the best possible relationship with your customers and getting the most out of your software? Here’s a few suggestions:

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