CRM Systems

How CRMs can transform business performance, enhance customer relationships, and drive revenue growth


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1. What is a CRM and how does it work?

In today’s data-driven world, your CRM tells you everything you need to know about your customers and what they really want. In fact, research shows those companies that have CRM software implemented believe that the tool helps them to better understand their customers. As marketers and salespeople, what could be more important?

A CRM system automates and streamlines business processes. It does this by gathering and recording every interaction your prospects and customers have with you, which your whole business can use to identify who they are, what they want and why they purchased (or might be interested in purchasing) your product or service. All of this means your salespeople, marketers, and service reps can better anticipate and fulfil their needs. 

The right choice of CRM is a valuable asset to any business. It can literally transform your company, resulting in increased motivation and productivity, more customers, and tangible business growth.

For more on building a business case and introducing the idea of implementing a new CRM, check out our latest ebook ‘The SME’s Guide to Choosing, Migrating and Rolling out a New CRM’. 

2. How to introduce the idea of a new CRM

You’ve recognised how beneficial a fit-for-purpose CRM would be — but how do you persuade the rest of the business?

The first step is to make sure the different teams or departments are well represented in the decision-making process. Identify the key stakeholders from your company’s customer-facing business functions (typically marketing, sales, and service) and invite them to a proposal meeting.

In this meeting, position your proposal as a force for good. What are you expecting to achieve from the new CRM? Is it to increase efficiency and boost business functionality? Are you looking to improve internal alignment across the business? You likely have a clear revenue goal in mind. 

Speak the stakeholders’ language, aligning the shared company goals with those of the individual departments:

  • Marketing might be responsible for generating leads, but the business won’t grow if the leads are weak or the sales team can’t close them
  • Sales might be great at sealing the deal, but if marketing isn’t filling the pipeline with quality prospects, revenue is going to slump
  • Paint a picture in which all the business units and their goals are connected — because they are!

Establish a transparent migration process. Make sure everyone is aware of the change and give them the chance to provide their own thoughts and feedback. 

Pay particular attention to the CRM’s primary users — the sales team. Ask after the features they expect and require in a new CRM. It’s important to make sure everyone on the sales team has the opportunity to share their ideas and know they will be considered.

Find out more about successfully rolling out a CRM across your business.

3. How to successfully implement a new CRM

Today, sustainable business growth depends on an inbound approach to your sales and marketing.

There are plenty of reasons why your CRM implementation might not have gone as expected. Were your business objectives clear? Has the CRM been integrated with the rest of your systems? Is the rest of the business using it? Did you review your process ahead of the implementation? And was the sales team actually on board in the first place?

Implementing a CRM isn’t something you do on a whim. Executing it correctly takes careful consideration, planning, and training.

No CRM strategy: Having objectives that you can track and analyse will help you to measure revenue impact, calculate ROMI, and determine how your CRM is performing. 

Lack of user adoption: When there is an absence in user adoption, it often means people in your business haven’t been adequately trained and struggle to understand how the CRM is integrated with existing workflows and processes.

Integration failures: If the data related to your business is scattered and stored in multiple places (spreadsheets, notebooks, diaries etc.) and your technology isn’t speaking to each other, then it makes it difficult to draw any meaningful insights from the CRM.

Outdated business processes: Your CRM houses all your customer data — so keep it tidy. If you only update your business processes every four to five years, then you’ll most likely have a few errors in your CRM data. 

By being aware of the common ways a CRM can let you down, you can be better prepared when implementing your own CRM and ensure its success.

Why do so many CRM implementations fail? Read on for more!

Scope your HubSpot CRM system

Identify the business requirements that matter when scoping your new CRM.


4. Factors to consider before migrating CRM's

Before you embark on this journey, there are some important factors to consider. Paying these factors their due will lead to a much smoother and more successful migration:

Sales rep adoption: One of the biggest problems with CRM systems is getting the sales team to use it properly. This is why it’s essential to choose a CRM system that will alleviate the burden of admin on the salespeople.

Integrations: There are many advantages to making sure your technology talks. Choosing a joined-up software that tracks every touchpoint a visitor makes when visiting a website ensures full visibility over the way they interact, revealing actionable insights into their interests, aspirations, and pain points.

Pain points: What are the pain points driving the decision to implement a new CRM?

Team alignment: How can you make it a positive change for the whole business? Understanding all of the needs, obstacles, and wish-lists at this stage amongst your team will later save time and money. 

Design a solution to fit your needs: Designing the system from a single viewpoint, and then aiming to add in features for other people later, will lead to a never-ending CRM rollout. Make sure the CRM you choose will be configured to fit your needs as a business. 

As part of your methodology for designing a successful CRM implementation, you need to involve the right people, processes and technology.

Read more: Why people move from Salesforce to HubSpot CRM

5. How to prepare for your CRM migration

A solid and effective preparation process for the technical migration will keep everyone on the same page and make for a smoother integration. When we talk about preparation here, what we mean is mapping your existing data architecture, determining your team structure, and filling out a checklist to help you through the technical migration preparation process.

Don’t forget, not everyone speaks data! You might be reporting your analysis for others on the team to take action or you might even be taking action yourself. If others are going to be implementing your actions, you need to make sure they understand your analysis. 

One of the biggest CRM challenges many businesses face is around their internal alignment. Migrating to a new CRM is an ideal time to address this issue.

Bring your company’s key stakeholders back together to discuss how they use the CRM and what information they depend on it to provide. This will provide a solid framework for your new data architecture grounded in the information your business needs to tick.

“Preparing for the migration is an important step, so take your time with it.”

Once you’ve established the optimal data architecture, consult someone with experience migrating CRMs. If you’ve never done a migration project before, a nudge in the right direction can not only set you on the best path but really accelerate your timeline.

Need help migrating to HubSpot CRM? Drop us a line!


6. How to migrate from Salesforce to HubSpot

Hubspot CRM database

Easier to use than Salesforce, free (forever!), and designed to make your salespeople’s lives as quick and efficient as possible, HubSpot CRM is fast becoming the platform of choice for startups and enterprise businesses alike.

The good news is, migrating from Salesforce to HubSpot CRM is simple. In fact, there’s a native integration to make the whole process straightforward.

Read our article on how to migrate from Salesforce to HubSpot for the step-by-step guide.

7. Using data analysis in your CRM

When dealing with a CRM, one of the core skills every inbound marketing team needs is solid data analysis skills.

The value of your CRM, particularly an integrated one like HubSpot CRM, is in the comprehensive data it gathers on your prospects and customers. But it’s not enough just to collect that data — to draw meaningful insights from it, you need to understand it. 

Having clean, relevant and consistent data in your CRM depends on a team capable of building a consistent framework (standards, models, integrations etc.) for collecting, managing, and using data while the rest of the business is constantly evolving around them.

Technical data science skills allow you to accurately interpret, dissect, and comprehend the meaning behind the data you collect so you can take action accordingly.

Read more: 6 Core Skills Every Inbound Marketing Team Needs

8. A quick word on CRM data standards

Having incomplete, cluttered or invalid data is more than just a hassle. With so many of today’s data-driven marketing decisions grounded in your customer data, your contacts need to be consistently validated to make sure they’re up to date, accurate and error-free. This is where the important practice of data cleansing comes into play to track and maintain the health of your CRM data.

Simple steps like organising your contact records, sticking to a standard process, using structured data, performing a data audit, filling in the gaps, identifying duplicates and using an integrated platform can help you cleanse the data in your CRM and figure out the information that is useful to you and ignore all the rest.

Define what your CRM data should be, determine what the process should look like for collection and analysis, enrich the data wherever possible and remove anything that’s redundant. Everyone benefits from good, clean data.

Check out these 7 simple steps to cleaning your CRM data.

9. Ensuring the adoption of your CRM

Jumping in too quickly is one of the biggest mistakes companies tend to make when rolling out a new CRM. You can’t simply wing it, cross your fingers and hope for the best. Implementing a CRM and ensuring user adoption requires the right strategy and planning. 

With your company’s CRM forming the foundation for revenue growth, it’s more important than ever that you’re onboarded for success. In fact, much of your new CRM’s success hinges on the way you’re onboarded.

“Usability is key to getting internal buy-in and maximising the value you get from your CRM.”

Having a quick onboarding time and ease of use with customisation, creating dashboards and setting up reports are some of the factors which can influence adoption rates. A solid onboarding process will equip you with the ability to customise your CRM so that it meets the precise needs of its users and your business.

Establishing transparency and building trust and communication is key to attaining high adoption. Opening a strategic channel of communication between you and the sales team ensures that they have a voice. 

It’s important to review the CRM’s initial adoption as well as monitoring ongoing use and engagement. This makes sure that the CRM is not only being used by all members of the team but that it is being used properly and to its full value. 

10. Maintaining your CRM in the long term

Ensuring processes are followed in the long-term and the CRM stays in good shape with actionable data and insights is essential for proving the value of your hard work.

Establishing an internal architect, detailing an external consultant, following the right data strategy, and embedding the CRM in business processes can all lead to maintaining your CRM — and its business impacts — in the long-term.

The role of cleansing and collating data and maintaining the CRM would normally fall to the internal data architect. An external consultant would then help provide a helicopter view of your CRM processes and determine if the CRM is working well for everyone involved. These two roles are crucial in maintaining standard processes, ensuring your data stays clean and that your CRM remains both accurate and valuable.

For more on maintaining your CRM in the long term, read ‘The SMEs Guide to Choosing, Migrating and Rolling out a New CRM’.

11. Getting started with HubSpot CRM

hubspot crm babelquest

HubSpot CRM is free, easy to use and implement, and solves some of the biggest problems related to CRMs:

  • Salespeople don’t have the time to update the CRM
  • Sales managers have to spend a lot of time trying to get their teams to use it
  • It’s filled with outdated or inaccurate information

HubSpot enables you to see in real-time all of your customer interactions, focusing on revealing exactly what the buyer wants and provide insight into the buyer’s journey.

In short, HubSpot CRM is designed to help your salespeople and your marketers do their job better. It doesn’t require a massive amount of training nor does it need long implementation programmes and expensive consultants.

Intrigued? Read on for the overview of the HubSpot CRM you were hoping for.

12. HubSpot CRM best practices

To help you get the most value from your HubSpot CRM, there are a few best practices and tips you need in order to use the platform like a pro. 

  1. Get the most out of your contact records. Each contact record not only provides a complete history of what your contact has done on your website, but it also shows every interaction that marketing, sales, and service have had with them.
  2. Use email templates to save time and keep it personal. Sending the same generic email to hundreds of people isn’t the best way to sell more. Luckily, the HubSpot CRM includes email templates which allow you to structure the bare bones of your sales emails so you can specifically tailor them to each contact. 
  3. Call contacts from HubSpot CRM to record valuable conversations. If you don’t record your calls, you’re left with scribbled notes with a brief overview of what was discussed and a foggy memory. This isn’t ideal for future meetings you may have as it can be difficult to recall detailed information.

These are just a handful of the best practices to help you generate more leads that close in the HubSpot CRM. If you want to keep reading, check out some of our best practices and pro tips for more information.