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6 Practical Tips on How to Use CRM Outside Sales | YouDigital Blog

Confining CRM within limits that only include the sales department is one of the numerous mistakes that can be observed when implementing the entire system. Opening such great analytical and executive potential to only one sector of a company or enterprise is a huge mistake. Where else could this solution be successfully utilized? What should its integration be like? Who — besides salespeople — could make use of the possibilities of Salesforce CRM?

How can departments other than sales make use of CRM?

Basic functions of a CRM system

In order to fully understand the issues related to the potential of CRMs, it’s a good idea to analyze three pillars at the base of their functioning. To properly implement them in the corporate space, it is necessary to not only possess mathematical skills but also quite some imagination. Without it, certain areas might get omitted in the overall concept, which is likely to also impact the results of actions and profits coming from the system. What are the three pillars mentioned above?

1st pillar - Database

At first glance, a CRM system represents a tool for contacting customers and that is its basic task. Meanwhile, its main function is to store knowledge in form of the most perfect database possible. The more reliable the information package we have on the customers, transactions, and people doing certain tasks at the company, the more effective the sales activities will be. That's it? Of course not. This knowledge can be freely used by other departments, functioning at different levels, from the management to the creative team. Even more, the database can be updated not only with business partners that we offer sales to, but also those in charge of providing third-party services.

2nd pillar - Automation

Based on the information collected by the company, one could — or even should — consider preparing effective automation. It might be typically customer-related, for example in form of sending an e-mail with a poll on the degree of satisfaction with the completed transaction. They can also be utilized internally, one good example would be preparing analyses after finishing a project or while it’s still ongoing. In certain cases, automation also serves a monitoring function, allowing a leader or head of a department to detect irregularities in their employees’ actions right after they occur.

3rd pillar - Coordination and contact

Contacting a customer through a properly operated CRM is effective and convenient. Conversations are also safely conducted until the end because implementing the discrete reminder feature makes it harder for a salesperson to forget about an initiated conversation. This mechanism, however, could be successfully implemented in the company’s internal structure to a larger degree, by setting the CRM as the basic tool for sharing information between departments. Once again, it makes the modules responsible for measuring user activity invaluable, as they point to the ones most involved in the project.

According to the “2019 Sales Figures“ report prepared by Salesforce, 78% of researched business customers claimed that they sought not only a competent salesperson but above all a trusted business advisor.

The above fact could be utilized by getting not only salespeople but also other specialists involved in a process that, with proper coordination of actions, should consist of four stages:

1. Developing awareness of the product or service on the customer’s side,

2. Building their interest,

3. Creating a strong desire related to purchasing,

4. And finally, having them take action that brings the company profits.

The key to success is building the right contact path that allows the customer to not only receive support from the salesperson but also from an expert in the particular field. Redirecting the messages to the relevant channel, department or individual helps to build a positive customer experience.

6 practical tips on how to use CRM in departments other than the sales department

Every company, big and medium-sized, is built in a different way. Those differences arise from the general needs, product specificity, and the market the services are intended for. Before implementing CRM solutions in a company (or completely modernizing them), it is worth asking yourself a few questions:

  • Which departments process the biggest amounts of information?
  • Which sectors of the company need to improve their communications?
  • Where could data coming from a different department be utilized to be able to open to new opportunities?

Building several new “bridges” between employees and customers might lead to very promising image-related and financial benefits. One could utilize regular tools for that purpose, of course, but the CRM is our company encyclopedia of knowledge. Everyone with authorization could turn to it, not just by reading it but also by contributing to it themselves. A CRM is capable of organizing all that information and making it possible to properly use it at the right moment. You have no idea how to arrange cooperation between departments, or how to make CRM available to more than just salespeople? Read six practical tips that might provide you with a fresh look at the whole thing!

1. Create a source of information for your customers that will suit their need

Customers love sources of knowledge that are easily available, free, and most of all matching their needs. That’s why so many companies start a corporate blog, create newsletters, and print pamphlets. Sadly, the information featured in them very often turns out to be cliché and based on “tested” patterns. It is not personalized knowledge, not to mention it’s not insightful. It is very easy to get trapped in a corporate “blog on nothing”, which is confirmed by hundreds of websites of this sort available on the Internet.

How to change that? Make use of the CRM and monitor the inquiries coming from customers. Create automated summaries, research the level of satisfaction among business partners, and draw conclusions. Forward that info to the department in charge of creating content for the corporate website, blog, and social media. Respond to the actual needs of your customers, providing them with the valuable knowledge they expect.

2. Improve cooperation with the servicing department

More than one company has made a huge image-related mistake when the shortcomings in their post-sales services came to light. One of the most crucial points is always the servicing department, which should be quick end effective at verifying customers’ problems within the warranty period and after it, removing defects, and properly motivating potential denials.

It is very common in this type of situation for the customer to first contact the salesperson, believing this to be a natural way to solve the problem. With the use of CRM, it is above all possible to make cooperation between the servicing personnel and salespeople easier. These tools make it also possible to create a more intuitive contact path that bypasses the sales department altogether when the situation clearly requires servicing.

3. Enable working from home

Is someone working in the market surveillance and analysis department really needed in person every day at the company’s office? Is it a good idea to enable them to work with reports remotely? Performing 9-to-5 type tasks from home (or any other location around the world) is a growing trend and demand of the 21st century. The Salesforce ecosystem makes this possible, which can be implemented not only for the salespeople. With such a solution, contact with the employee is still very easy, and it’s also possible to measure their activity and readiness to act. All thanks to cloud tools that allow working from any place with access to a laptop and the Internet.

Remember that working from home is even available to juniors, as their presence among more experienced coworkers often has no impact on the faster development of skills. Such type of work should also have no impact on trust towards the employee, because in the end it’s still mostly the results that matter, and they can be measured with digital indicators and tangible effects.

4. Create a customer profile in a 360 view

A dynamically changing customer profile in a CRM system is a reference to one of the pillars described at the beginning of the article, which is the database. What do you think, is it only a salesperson who can add info on a business partner to the corporate repository of knowledge? Of course not! A separate customer support department can also do that, and so can the servicing and people in charge of marketing. Even the management should have an actual influence on the final look of the database, using analyses to define which customers are crucial to the company.

A customer portfolio created this way may be subject to continuous changes, by making inquiries from the customer at the customer support, performing transactions with the salesperson, solving warranty-related problems, and also preparing personalized offers developed with the assistance of a marketing specialist. Each of those bits of information is stored, the responses are researched and it can be used to improve customer service not only in the future but already in the present.

5. Get the IT department involved in developing innovations

CRM is more than just a tool that can be used on a desktop computer or a laptop. Certain features can also be successfully utilized on mobile platforms, like tablets and smartphones, or even smartwatches. If your IT department is only responsible for fire fighting and ensuring that systems work consistently, maybe it’s time to get them also involved in other tasks? Who else but people most familiar with the latest technologies could be better at finding lucrative niches among innovative solutions!

Finding the common denominator between technological trends and the customer service system as well as the company’s internal communication is a very vital issue. Developing new methods often leads to ending up two steps ahead of the competition. Creating new integrations in the area of CRM is a great idea that, thanks to the unorthodox, creative work of the IT department, might yield great results.

6. Take good care of your employees

In 2018 Gallup conducted a poll that indicated that exactly 34% of employees are involved in what they do. They are above all characterized by an enthusiastic attitude and faith in the company they are employed by. The same report showed that 53% of people exhibit no emotional attachment and are considered as deeply uninvolved in their employment activities. Of course, it opens a road to changes and improvements, which every employer should keep in mind.

CRM systems can be utilized in monitoring involvement, as well as in improving it. Elements of positive competition could be implemented at work (even between departments!), as well as seeking out people deserving a raise and those who require a more intensive training package. Adequate communication tools make it easier to invest in good relations between team leaders and regular employees. Making easy-to-use IT systems available also has an impact on the morale of individual employees, providing them with the comfort of operating in favorable conditions.

Technology, analytics, sales

A good CRM system is one that contributes something new to your company. Cutting down on task execution time. Introducing automation, which allows saving employees’ energy for more important activities. Improving customer relations. Providing information on how the company handles the customers’ needs. Allowing the creation of new tools and even better content.

Technology allows for more thorough analysis as well as more effective sales. This is only one of the sample processes that can be taken to the next level with the use of CRM. Should only the sales department participate in it? No! Achievement of objectives should involve as many human resources as possible. It’s a good idea to approach the topic in a creative and methodical way. Such a strategy guarantees stable groundwork for business development now and in the future.

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