Spend Way Less Time Managing Your CRM by Automating These 6 Things
Manual data entry will kill any efficient marketing, sales, or retention processes. The more time you spend having to painstakingly enter information into your CRM to make it work, the less time you have to actually use that information.
It’s like calling your mother for advice. At the end of it all, you know you’ll get something valuable and useful, but did we really need to chat for two hours to get there? Well, there may not be a remedy for mom (and let’s face it, you love her anyway), but we certainly don’t need to be working so hard at maintaining our CRM data.
Thankfully, we have quite a few solutions at our fingertips to take care of these time-consuming tasks and get back to business. Here’s a list of some CRM tasks you should definitely start automating.
1. Entering new contacts
You meet someone at an event and exchange business cards. Typically, you’d wait until you’re back in office to add them to your CRM contacts. Sure, one contact won’t hurt, but you probably know all too well how that one minute can quickly grow to two hours when you’re typing in the latest stack from that conference you attended last week.
The most popular CRMs have a built-in scanner or a third-party tool with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities to help you get this done quickly. For example, there’s the Salesforce business card scanner app, and even HubSpot has its own business card scanner app for its CRM.
Now you won’t even have to wait until you get back to the office. Simply start scanning business cards the moment you receive them and you will never have to worry about those uploads again.
2. Prospecting & nurturing social leads
Sure, “social selling” can be super effective, but putting the time into finding the right people to follow and continuously engaging with them on social media can be a bit of a time suck. You could spend a day just browsing social media, liking and commenting on a few posts, but not really see any results.
The key to getting this done the right way is to apply a strategy and treat every social media contact as you would a potential client in real life. The moment they engage with you, they should automatically be added to your CRM workflow. Every touchpoint thereafter – whether they have engaged on a post or ad, sent a message, or downloaded a lead magnet – should be recorded.
The top CRMs out there, including Salesforce, Zoho, and Hubspot offer social CRM functionality built-in, where you can automatically pull in social media data and conversations alongside everything else. If, however, you use social media as your main point of contact with customers, you might consider getting Sprout Social or a similar tool which focuses directly on managing social media relationships.
3. Tracking every point of contact
Most businesses use a wide variety of different contact channels – phone, email, social, fax (if you’re still into that sort of thing), online chat tools, website contact forms, carrier pigeons and so forth. Taking the time to track every single time you contact a client (or if they contact you) on one of those channels is hard work for even the best of us.
While this may seem trivial for a small business with only a few salespeople or front-facing staff, the larger your organization gets, the more critical it will be for you to know your client’s preferred contact methods and what messages and offers they have responded well to in the past.
That’s why CRMs like Bitrix24 are lifesavers when it comes to keeping up with your client communication. They pull in all the contact channels listed above (except carrier pigeons – no one tracks those) into one hub so that everything is tracked within the CRM.
4. Creating persona-specific pitch packages
Creating client personas is one of the most important things we do in sales and marketing, yet creating them is only half the battle — we have to utilize them too.
One great way to use personas is to create custom pitch packages based on their unique needs and ideal messaging. So rather than giving everyone generic content and material, each potential client gets exposed only to the messaging that’s most likely to appeal to them.
By adding these personalized packages into your CRM based on the client persona selected for each new contact, you can ensure that your sales team is pitching a similar message and offer to similar clients, and even add contacts to a specialized email marketing funnel designed just for their needs.
5. Setting up rule-based workflows
Most CRM tools come with a default workflow documentation option – checklists that take you through the sales process to ensure you provide the most complete experience to potential clients and don’t skip any crucial business steps.
There’s only one problem. Workflows tend to be very linear, one step after the other when life is certainly not. Every so often, you can skip a step since the client already knows the drill, or jump forward, then get back to something because it works best at that present moment. Your CRM needs to intuitively work with you to know which of these steps can be skipped, which are mandatory, and most importantly, to check them off for you once certain criteria have been met, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
The best way to accomplish this is to set up rules in your CRM. Rules are customized behind-the-scenes steps that your CRM can input automatically on your behalf. For example, if you’ve sent an email that has a certain guide attached to a specific client, it can automatically check off the “Send Product A guide” on your list.
Most CRM tools come with this functionality out of the box, but because they take time and a lot of thought to set up initially, many of us never get to it. When you do, though, it will change your business completely.
Automation is the new rule
Saving time on manual tasks like updating your CRM shouldn’t just be an option in today’s world — it should be the norm.
With all the systems and automation available to us, it’s time to take advantage of these tools that execute such rote tasks (that you hate to do anyway) and free up time to actually run and grow your business.
Then, instead of your CRM managing you, you will be managing your CRM.