Investing in a CRM system does not transform your company into a smooth-running, efficient, sales and marketing machine. Using a CRM system the right way will put you on a path to becoming a top-notch company. Before diving into specific tactics, let’s ask, “why are we doing this?” Here are the primary benefits a business gains from properly using a CRM:
- Synchronization – when multiple people enter the latest information into a single system, everyone on the team can use that information instantaneously
- No Lead Left Behind – setting reminders and updating stage/status fields means leads (read: potential revenue) don’t fall through the cracks
- Full View – CRM software does a great job of laying out all the relevant details in front of your sales, support, marketing, etc. teams
- Reporting – this is the #1 benefit. Invaluable insight into how have you performed across various metrics and how are you poised for the future
Let’s setup a potential scenario… say you offer a free trial period that people sign-up for online. You offer the trial so that people purchase your product/service once the trial is over. Great idea! Before you begin offering the trial, think through what you’ll want to know:
- How many people sign up for the trial?
- Where did those people come from?
- How many became paying clients after the trial?
- Why didn’t the people who signed up for the trial become paying customers?
- What similarities exist among those who became paying customers? Those who did NOT become paying customers?
These are fairly deep questions. Fortunately, your CRM system will help with answering these questions. More importantly, your CRM system will help you with determining the processes needed to convert your trial customers into paying customers.
You calculate that only 10 of your first 100 customers became paying clients after the free trial. To improve that conversion ratio, you implement the following steps:
- 10 days before the trial ends, call the client to offer technical assistance
- On the day the trial ends, send an email asking the client to complete a satisfaction survey
- If the client hasn’t purchased 5 days after the trial ends, place a call to inquire what’s holding them back
- If the client hasn’t purchased 5 days after the last phone call, send an email offering a discount.
- If the client hasn’t purchased 10 days after sending the discount offer, mark them as inactive.
Specific CRM Steps
Sounds like a great plan – you have the right process! Now it’s time for your sales folks to implement the steps necessary in your CRM to make sure no lead gets left behind. Let’s call the free trial signup date “Day 0”.
- Day 0: “Log a Call” and enter the signup details in the Activities section
- Day 0: “Create a Task” titled “Call: offer assistance” with a due date & reminder date 20 days from now
- Day 0: Update Stage field to “Sign Up”
- Day 20: When the reminder pops up, call the client and mark the task as completed
- Day 20: Create a Task titled “Email: Satisfaction Survey” with a due/reminder date equal to the last day of the trial (Day 30)
- Day 30: When the reminder pops up, send the survey email and mark the task as completed
- Day 30: Create a Task titled “Call: Interested?” with a due and reminder date for 5 days from now (Day 35)
- Day 35: Update Stage field to “Trial Expired”
- Day 35: When the reminder pops up, call the client and mark the task as completed
- Day 35: If you don’t get a hold of the person, Create a Task titled “Email: Discount” with a due/reminder date equal to 5 days from now (Day 40)
- Day 40: When the reminder pops up, send the email and mark the task as completed.
- Day 40: Create a Task titled “Update: inactive status” with a due and reminder date for 10 days from now (Day 50)
- Day 50: If the person still isn’t a client, update Stage field to “inactive”
The basic theme is 1) log the activity, 2) update the stage, and 3) create the next reminder. When you complete a task include any relevant notes. When you create the next task, you are assuming that the lead/client will NOT take the action you are requesting. If the person does respond, great! Modify the task you created to a completed call. Depending on the dialogue, you may have to create an entirely different follow-up task now.
Many of these steps ideally are taken care of with either salesforce automation or marketing automation. If you have enough budget, these tools can save a substantial amount of time. If you don’t, then make sure you use “workflows” to its fullest ability (and your fullest ability).
A CRM helps you monitor what communications you sent to clients so that you can run reports to see which communication was more effective. Now apply this concept to more conversion points. All the while record the information that you get from trial clients, particularly profile information and the reasons why they haven’t become a paying customer. Your sales team is appending this information in the CRM system under each person’s record. Sales is also logging all of their communications from emails, to voicemails, to inbound call backs, to online chat sessions. Ah… so beautiful!