Many view their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a kind of digital address book – a place to store commercial data and client information. But to view this valuable piece of technology in such a way is highly limiting, in reality a CRM’s capabilities exceed far beyond that.
by Matthew Harrison, Sales Director (Broker Channel), finova
Your CRM should be a dynamic feature of your business that saves you time and actually makes you money, for example in the retention of clients and by freeing up your diary of manual tasks so you can focus your efforts elsewhere. Ultimately, if you are spending more money on the system than you are earning from it, then you are probably not using it to its full potential.
A source of profitability
So, how can your CRM enhance profitability? Firstly, the way CRM software organises individuals’ records should give you a more accurate understanding of the client relationship, equipping you with important information to improve the productivity of conversations. But it can also work in more advanced ways. CRMs can analyse swathes of data, gathered from a wide range of sources, to give you an insight into how a client is feeling about your company. That can make it easier to anticipate potential issues and solve them before they arise. The data presented to you in digestible reports should help increase customer satisfaction, retention and, ultimately, profits.
Features within the CRM system, like management information, can also offer you more sales opportunities. The software can identify clients who may benefit from remortgaging, for example, or automatically send clients emails when their deals are about to come to an end. CRMs are excellent for spotting cross-sale opportunities too. This is because the technology can sift through client data to highlight those who may require further coverage. Who, for example, has taken out a mortgage but not protection? Who has both a mortgage and protection, but not general insurance? Your CRM can answer these questions for you, and help you improve your marketing and customer outreach. This is just one example of how automated processes within your CRM can open up new business opportunities.
Leads and referrals
CRMs are also a valuable tool for managing leads and referrals. There are tools that make it easier for introducers to refer new clients to you, while automatic commission notifications or updates regarding the status of introducers’ leads can help build a positive relationship. This software makes the referral process smoother and more profitable for introducers, improving general productivity. And better management of introducers equals more leads and higher profits.
Furthermore, CRMs are crucial if you wish to integrate referral programmes into your sales systems. Built-in referral options mean generated leads are sent directly to your CRM for servicing and management, and notifications are automatically sent to both the person referring and the person who has been invited. CRMs can also quote potential clients automatically so that they know how competitive your price is from the start. In this capacity, these tools can assist not only in generating more leads but in capitalising on leads too.
Choosing the right CRM, however, is significant. It is especially important that due diligence is adhered to when picking a CRM. After all, it’s your data and your client’s data, so it needs to be secure. It is essential that you ensure the software is GDPR compliant, and that you understand where the data will be stored and how it will be secured. You should also determine how viable the CRM provider is: are they likely to go bust? If they do, what happens to your data? While company longevity is important, these worst-case scenarios should be accommodated.
Furthermore, the CRM should be the hub of your business, so choosing software which is easy to use is crucial. Especially for smaller firms, the CRM should be running much of the business for you and speeding up processes dramatically. Those which offer integrated third-party sourcing, for example, help cut down on re-keying. Automation within certain CRMs can ensure cases progress and prompt the sales team on crucial chase dates or events. Choosing the right CRM – with the automated features most appropriate for your business – will free up more time for you to focus on what matters to your business, such as giving great advice to clients.
CRMs are a vital tool that should be playing a central role in your business. If the right CRM is chosen, and if its features are deployed to maximum effect, then profitability will be demonstrably improved. To only use a CRM as an address book and not utilise its functions across your entire business is an extremely costly mistake to make. When used correctly, a CRM is an investment which not only pays for itself but unlocks additional channels of income for your business.