CRM best practices: Your implementation strategy for 2021 and beyond

CRM best practices: Your implementation strategy for 2021 and beyond

2020 is coming to an end (phew!), and EOY period is a good time to do some annual housecleaning in your CRM, and face some fundamental truths: Sales professionals have a love-hate relationship with CRM software.


With good reason. In fact, it's one of the reasons why we built Close in the first place: Because back in the day, when we were running sales for more than 200 venture-backed startups in the Bay Area, there was no sales tool our reps actually liked using.

But having a CRM is only part of the equation: how your reps actually use it in their day-to-day, how it's implemented into their sales workflow, that's really what matters.

When your CRM is properly implemented company-wide, the benefits will be clear...

A CRM is really a tool that helps you communicate better with prospects and customers. All interactions involving marketing and selling your products or services are done in an organized and transparent way.  

Using a CRM can be one of the most powerful tools to have in your back pocket.

But how do you get the most out of using a CRM for your small business?

If you want your CRM to be effective, you need to focus on it’s best practices. In this post, we’re outlining 4 tips to help you get the most out of your CRM.

Best practices to help get you the most out of your CRM

If you are currently using a CRM, it may not be a cakewalk.

There could be some aspects where the CRM is not being used to its full potential, or some bad choices are getting in the way of being successful. In fact, while CRM software is the biggest software market in the world, projected to reach $80 billion in revenue by 2025, CSO insights found that less than 40% of businesses have full end-user adoption.

So, we present 4 CRM best practices that will help you get the most out of your implementation strategy.

Use automation to reduce tedious work

The main reason you want to use a CRM is to save time and make your job easier.

This is where CRM workflow automation comes into the picture.

CRM automation allows you to streamline your sales processes like prospecting, lead generation, and follow-ups.

Take advantage of the automation features that come with a CRM. You can easily fire off an email or phone call, as well as set up reminders, through automation, to conduct tasks.

You want your salespeople to focus on engaging prospects and customers.

Utilize automation wherever and whenever. For example, if you are needing to follow up with five contacts, set up an email message and automate it to go out at a specific time without having to stress over manually doing it.

Do whatever you can to get your sales team on track and checking things off their lists.

Automate the heck out of sales and your CRM, so that you can focus on what matters: having conversations with prospects and customers. Stop grinding away at those mundane tasks and let the CRM take the wheel.

Not only will automation reduce the likelihood of a mistake, but it will give you and your staff more meaningful time on other priorities. You know, the things that neither automation nor AI can actually do: building relationships with other human beings.

Collaborate with your team in the same place

A perk that CRMs have is the ability to strengthen collaborative efforts amongst businesses and their employees. The goal of collaboration is to grow the quality of customer service and improve customer relationships.

Collaboration is a good method for boosting relationships with prospects and customers in various parts of a company, like sales and IT.

By having access to customer information and data, employees and departments can come together to deliver targeted and personalized content to prospects and leads. Selling can become more personalized when teams come together and work collaboratively.

With this, any communication or task executed by a team member should be shared with those involved in the deal.

A truly collaborative process will allow employees to share their thoughts, ideas, and tasks with each other. And to get more employees involved, you need to emphasize the value collaboration can bring to sales and that it opens up the opportunity for different perspectives. Encourage the notion that team building and a better understanding of different perspectives can bring new ideas.

By involving all team members in your CRM, you can collaborate to work towards better customer experience. In turn, this will help you get more deals closed and drive sales.

Train your team to set them up for success

Your team will need the right training and support. There are training courses, workshops, videos, and other resources out there to do that.

CRM training can boost an individual’s awareness of features, functionality, and usability to strengthen their familiarity and confidence in the tool.

CRM software should really be to a sales rep what a cockpit is to a pilot. It's where you should spend the majority of your work day if you want to be successful in your sales career, and run a top-notch sales team. And it is up to sales leaders to offer guidance and proper training to CRM.

Your company must utilize this during the learning process. Proper training allows users not only to know how to use the software but to understand how the tool will accelerate the sales process.

One of the things about CRM adoption is to ensure the sales team buys-into the software and understand the full benefits. You want to sell it to your team! Likewise, you want to have your team comfortable, and that all starts with the right training.

Keep track of your contacts & sales pipeline

The best companies not only focus on selling their products and services, but focus on their prospect. Understanding your ideal customer is key to giving them excellent service, which turns into good relationships and sales through positive recommendations.

You should be aware of their industry, name, email, company, phone number, and their role to take it to the next level when it comes to working towards a closed deal.

A lead list is nothing more than a list with the information of those with whom you will potentially close deals. Those that do business with you are those who can help get you additional business and offer referrals, so it’s imperative to have an overview of who they are.

You want to make sure that your CRM has a database that holds accurate and detailed contact information. However, the notion comes down to an easy to use and navigate CRM system.

By having your contacts in one place, it enables you to be organized and easily track who you’ve communicated with. As well as who needs to be followed up with and who needs a little more pushing to get that deal closed.

Now over to you—take these tactics and run with them

It’s important to know that before you implement a CRM and it’s best practices above, you must decide which CRM is right for you. You want to have a CRM that can grow your business and comes with capabilities like app integration and built-in calling.

And that’s why Close is the perfect CRM to take you to the next level.

Don’t waste your time using a CRM that won’t work. Implement these best practices into a CRM system, and you’ll be on your way to improve your sales funnel.

Automation, collaboration, providing training, and having a good overview of your contacts may seem natural to you. But together, these best practices show a roadmap for successful CRM implementation.

Sales leaders are busy enough—and taking care of the many aspects of managing a CRM and overall sales operations puts further demands on their already busy schedules. But the thing to know is that just like every tool, CRM requires active participation from all team members, no matter their position.

Start with one and work up to implementing them all. It will allow you to focus on one aspect and become comfortable with all of it over time.

Once you implement a new best practice, your work is not over. Evaluate and adjust the best practices to keep meeting the changing needs of your company and the sales industry.

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