Building the right CRM Ecosystem for growth and scaling up

Al Ramich
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
Building the right CRM Ecosystem for growth and scaling up

It is crucial for your company to have the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from the very beginning. If your business does not have a suitable CRM, it is highly likely money will be left on the table, exclusive opportunities will be missed, and leads or data will be lost.

It is crucial for your company to have the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from the very beginning. If your business does not have a suitable CRM, it is highly likely money will be left on the table, exclusive opportunities will be missed, and leads or data will be lost.

Better Customer Experience = More Efficient Processes

A CRM system helps streamline all stages of the consumer's journey. Internal teams will be able to share critical customer information and work productively as a cohesive unit. This will ensure that customers have a consistent, seamless experience that strengthens satisfaction and therefore encourages loyalty to your brand.

CRM technology can automate daily tasks such as data syncing, email sequencing, following up on communications, as well as recording campaign analytics. This gives your team more productive time to work on other paramount projects and campaigns. 

The reporting features within a CRM system can be customised to help you analyse the data that matters most to your company. It allows you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, to establish a better customer experience.

Case Study

We have helped many companies develop relationships with their prospects and customers, by helping them to roll out their first or improve their existing CRM systems. It is a frequent scenario that we support clients after closing a significant amount of investment and their new business objectives require scaling up. Let us walk you through one of these cases and how exactly we went about solving it.

The challenge: One of our clients, a company with roughly 200 employees, was looking to scale up. They had no marketing or sales automation tools and Salesforce was largely managed by junior members of staff.

An initial assessment also uncovered issues with data quality. This led to unnecessary costs and many lost opportunities.

The objective: Allow straight-through processing of prospective customers by automating marketing campaigns and sales outreach to support ambitious lead conversion and sales targets.

To identify the right business processes and systems architecture to support this goal, we started interviewing the key stakeholders in the marketing and sales departments. We also identified what tools were already in use and where additional tools could be beneficial. The key outcome of this was the lack of a dedicated marketing automation platform and a sales enablement tool. 

Since Salesforce was already their main marketing and sales tool, we performed an audit of their instance which led to a prioritised list of potential enhancements and best practice recommendations.

After reviewing the business and technical requirements we landed on Pardot as the marketing automation tool and Salesloft as the best fit for sales automation. Since there already were data quality issues present without these tools in place, we defined a clear data architecture and data ownership rules between these systems and Salesforce. We also cleaned up about 75% of their prospect database to make sure the future applications could benefit from quality data and wouldn’t be impacted by synchronisation issues.

We implemented Pardot, integrated it with their website and mailing campaigns, and rolled it out across the Sales and Marketing organisation. We also implemented and integrated Salesloft and created automation that would allow Salesforce, Pardot, and Salesloft to share the same prospect records, all while giving the users of these systems clear visibility into the current status of these prospects.

Results: Optimised, automated, and ultimately scaled up their marketing campaigns and sales outreach. Faster reaction times, more efficiency, relevant data, and cost savings due to the reduction of contacts.

Some of the specifics:

Building the Right CRM Ecosystem

At SmallGiants we see customers that fall within two different categories when it comes to CRMs:

  1. Companies don’t have a CRM system because they are at the start of their journey and are yet to need one.
  2. Scaling Companies who already have a CRM, but aren’t getting the right value from it or are not using its features to their full potential

For either profile, it can be hard to identify if and when a CRM system is needed, or even which specific features and products are necessary for your company.

Step 1: Identifying indicators of needing a CRM

  • If anyone involved in customer interactions in your company is unable to name all of your prospects, does not respond to a customer query or forgets to follow up on a lead, a CRMs is needed.
  • A well-chosen system becomes increasingly more important when your clients have multiple points of contact, as it can be difficult to keep track of what has been discussed within a sales cycle and leads can fall through the cracks. A CRM will help you and your team stay updated with historical and current information.
  • Last but not least, if it is challenging to get a clear view of how your sales team is performing and what value they bring in, a CRM system becomes justified.

Step 2: Which CRM is right for me - based on company size?

It is a good rule of thumb and a simple starting point for this decision to consider your team’s size. While there is a bit of wiggle room in most cases, generally speaking here is an overview of what size of companies the most well-known CRM players serve best:

For companies starting out, it may be worthwhile to look at offerings, specialising in the SMB market. Applications like Zoho CRM or Hubspot offer low-cost models with quick implementation times, as well as a wide range of complementary services.

A company that is scaling quickly, would do well to look at solutions that are catering to both the SMB and the Enterprise markets. 

These applications in general have more flexibility to tailor the applications to the needs of the business, as well as a larger feature set. They have also, generally speaking, expanded their offerings beyond the traditional Sales, Marketing, and Service functionality available in most CRM applications, supporting longer-term goals.

In this space Salesforce is the largest player, with an estimated 33% of the market share, followed by Microsoft Dynamics CRM at 29%.

Step 3:  Which features do I need?

Most of our customers focus on the benefits of CRM when it comes to Customer Management, Sales automation, and CRM Statistics and Marketing automation.

One key part that is often overlooked, but largely used in the industry is Customer Service. Although start-up and scale-up businesses often focus on attracting new customers, it is worth considering the value of retaining customers and servicing their needs, by tying service into your overall customer experience.

Another often overlooked feature set is Social Media Monitoring. This feature set is becoming more prevalent, especially in the B2C markets where it allows you to quickly interact with your customer base, right from within your CRM.

The most important factor to consider when it comes to what features you really need is the customer journey. Each company’s lead path has its unique twists and turns and each customer has their own non-linear journey toward a final decision.

Most B2B cycles are around four months long and customers have many touch points within that cycle - During the purchase and after the purchase stage. A CRM system can help you understand these points, but if you are yet to implement one, then Google Analytics, site mapping tools, customer interviews as well as your sales team's anecdotal knowledge can illuminate a lot.

Some typical touch points before a purchase can be: 

  • Search engines
  • How-to videos
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Case studies
  • Testimonials from other industry representatives

Identifying these touchpoints will inform a good customer experience strategy, can help you shape the journey and will help you determine which features you need to support your integrated marketing and sales processes.

Technical factors and numbers are important, but understanding your customer journeys is crucial, within any business. And not only before you choose your tool. A CRM system is brilliant at gathering data to help streamline journeys. However, employees still need to fully understand human factors and customer cycles to implement that data.

Step 4:  What type of system?

When thinking about CRM, you can broadly divide the functionality into three types - Collaborative, Operational, and Analytical. Most CRM systems have features from all three of these categories, but some excel more in certain features than others.

Collaborative features ensure all teams have access to the same up-to-date customer data, no matter which department or channel they work in. That integration between departments saves customers from repeating themselves each time they talk to a new contact. Additionally, there are tools available to the employees to share information about prospective customers as it comes up, like sticky notes on client records, or chat channels right within the CRM.

Analytical features help you use the data you have to see trends in how your customers behave through data visualisation and reporting capabilities. With that, you can better understand what steps lead to successful sales. 

Depending on what stage your company is in, the importance of these feature sets can vary. If your company is relatively new and doesn’t yet have much customer data collected, a focus on analytical features could be excessive. The need for a collaborative feature set comes most into play when you have a lot of departments and/or different business locations that need an efficient way to stay on the same page. Operational features are most important for businesses seeking to improve the processes related to customer cycles.

The implementation of a CRM system can be incredibly complex, but an effectively executed CRM strategy can contribute immensely to the growth of a business. It is for the same reason that CRM has become one of the most sought-after tools in efficient business management and data-driven decision-making.

It is crucial for your company to have the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from the very beginning. If your business does not have a suitable CRM, it is highly likely money will be left on the table, exclusive opportunities will be missed, and leads or data will be lost.

Al Ramich

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

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