The Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1700s, was a critical turning point for mankind because it allowed businesses to manufacture and produce items faster, cheaper and more efficiently by use of machines.
After reading this, you should find yourself seeking out automation technologies for an “Industrial Revolution” within your own business.
However, instead of helping you find technologies that will increase production of your merchandise, I’m going to educate you on one type of modern computer technology that will improve sales and efficiency while reducing costs and human error.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to the rescue
A CRM is a particular type of software that collects, stores and provides data about leads, customers and sales that can be used to manage, track, analyze and improve interactions with leads and customers.
CRM software uses automation to increase efficiency for a business’s sales team, ultimately with the goal to improve sales, marketing and customer support.
The keyword here is automation. CRM software allows users to setup automated processes that replace tedious tasks that an employee would otherwise have to do. This frees up time for your staff to focus on other important tasks to help boost sales.
No automation means more errors
A recent study by Wakefield Research and Concur surprisingly revealed that 69 percent of small businesses still use Microsoft Excel to track their financials and 60 percent still use filling cabinets for filing needs. These outdated systems are not preferable, because they leave room for human error while also taking up a lot of the staff’s time.
The study also showed that companies that do not use automated processes have more errors. For example, the study found that 42 percent of businesses relying on paper trails had invoice errors and 41 percent of businesses without automation received late fees due to missed payments.
Those problems would be easily avoided if those companies used automated processes.
Work smarter and more efficiently by utilizing core CRM automation functions. Here are five amazing automation features of CRMs you need to be using:
1) Lead generation:
Your website probably and hopefully has a lead capture form on its Contact page, a pivotal part of any business website.
However, for too many small businesses, when a lead fills out that contact form, the information gets emailed to an employee who then has to manually add that information to the business’s CRM or pass along the information to the appropriate sales person.
Those are antiquated examples of lead generation, and if your company conducts business like that, you must keep reading and then take advantage of automated processes as quickly as possible.
Using CRM software, your business can create automated processes where information from lead capture forms (contact forms) gets automatically put into the CRM.
Even better, this automated process can automatically assign each new lead with a sales representative, so that sales person will be notified immediately of new leads and begin the sales process as quickly as possible.
2) Opportunity management:
Your business misses out on striking while the iron’s hot if you fail to monitor and track leads (and sales stages) properly. Sophisticated CRM software can be used to generate reports or lists of hot leads who are regularly vising your website or clicking in marketing emails.
In the same sense, automated processes can be set up to nurture cold leads into hot leads (for example, drip campaigns).
3) Adding contacts to email lists:
A lead capture form or an email sign-up form should be connected with your CRM to automatically add email addresses to your email marketing list(s), as well as any physical mail lists.
Sophisticated email marketing software that lives inside CRMs can also be used to automatically put certain leads into certain marketing lists based on the information the person provides.
4) Automated sales reports:
No need to hire another employee or take up a current employee’s time to create various sales and financial reports.
A CRM can help your team easily access and analyze reports for long-time leads who have yet to purchase, customers who still need to pay, summaries of sales activities, total sales earnings for particular sales representatives, monthly revenue summaries and profit forecasting. These reports can be created to generate as often as you need them.
And another great feature of CRM software is you can trust that the information and calculations are accurate.
5) Auto-thank you emails:
This may seem like a small and unimportant gesture but it provides a lasting impression.
After someone fills out a lead capture form on your website or any type of form (email sign-up, employment opportunities, download a pdf or even just a standard email), you should have an automated process created in you CRM that will immediately send that person a simple Thank You email.
This email helps establish professionalism and reassurance that your business got the inquiry or submission. (It can also serve as a small reminder about your company and provide additional links to take the person somewhere you want them to go, for example, social media sites, an event sign-up page or a landing page on your website.)