How to Optimize CRM

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Insight for Industrial and Capital Equipment Industries

How to Optimize CRM

Ross Conroy / Director of Digital Marketing | September 9, 2013


How to Optimize CRM Systems for Successful Customer Interactions

Salesperson Tom hasn’t talked with Customer Joe at XYZ Company since the time of sale. Recently, Marketing sends Joe an email describing maintenance schedules for the backhoe he bought 2 years ago. Customer service has logged a recent call from XYZ that was forwarded to technical support. Tech support scheduled an appointment. Would now be a good time for Tom in Sales to call Joe at XYZ? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the customer information Tom is able to find.

Every equipment dealer can optimize CRM systems for successful customers interactions: obtain, record and share customer information. The more you know, the better your interaction will be.

Why CRM?

The first place Tom looks for information is in his company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system. He is lucky to be working at a dealership where sales, marketing, customer service and technical support are all acting together to manage customer relationships through a CRM system. In so doing they are helping their company acquire, keep and grow customers.  

If you are not familiar with what a CRM system is, take a look at this EDA white paper: A Practical Overview of CRM Systems. Basically, a CRM is a repository of information on new leads and interactions with existing customers and former customers. The benefits are multiple.

Uses for CRM

Marketing uses the CRM system to generate leads and manage campaigns on various channels including email, direct mail, search, social media and telephone. Along with Sales, Marketing can track return on investment. Using information in the CRM they can decrease lead-to-sales conversion time and match sales to leads. Information from outside sources can be consolidated into one dashboard.

Looking at the information contained in the company’s CRM Tom may notice an upsell opportunity or a way to build customer loyalty.

Acting on Information

Tom reviews how Customer Service managed the request made by XYZ Company and what, if any, service issues technical support discovered. Timing is critical in sales and marketing. Tom knows not to push new sales until all issues are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. What he learns is that XYZ was responding to a marketing campaign that invited customers to review their maintenance schedules. Technical support reported that XYZ was using the equipment beyond the recommended logged hours. When Tom reads this he knows it’s time to give Joe a call.

This way of increasing sales productivity and effectiveness is why dealers are adopting CRM systems. An EDA Customer Survey shows dealers rely on different CRM systems with the top four being Sales Force 14.9%, Microsoft Dynamics 7.4%, ACT 6.4% and SAP 4.6%. Some use a customized CRM while 29% reported not using a CRM system.

Tips for CRM success for equipment dealers include:

  • Make the information easily accessible and shareable
  • Explore and use all or most of the system’s functionality
  • Make sure the CRM integrates with existing systems
  • Provide admin support so questions can be answered quickly
  • Encourage high adoption, especially by the Sales team
  • Provide one view where all data is seen together on one platform

The customer information obtained, recorded and synchronized within a CRM system is worthless if it is not reviewed and acted on regularly. Make sure it is all there, from point of contact, to sales, and beyond. Find out the length of time it takes for your company to respond to customers and other important interactions. All of this adds up to a good experience for your customers and employees.

When working with a CRM system, be a problem solver, not an accuser. Every company faces challenges when it comes to interactions with customers and system use. For better results, create a culture where managers face challenges together.



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