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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Best Practices in 2024

With the rise of digital transformation and the increasing demand for personalized experiences, businesses are seeking tools that can help them navigate these steps efficiently. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms have become indispensable for businesses aiming to strengthen customer relationships, streamline operations, and drive growth.

This article explains CRM best practices with some real-life examples.

Why should you invest in a Customer Relationship Management Software?

Figure 1. Customers’ reasons for using CRM technology

Research shows that 80% of industry leaders use a CRM system in their business operations, and more than 30% of CRM buyers state that they aim to attract new customers.1 CRM tools help companies improve their customer relationships, whether it is new or existing customers. Here are some compelling reasons to invest in a CRM solution:

Automate repetitive tasks

AI-powered CRM systems can automate tasks such as data entry, follow-ups, and lead tracking, allowing teams to focus on more strategic activities. For instance, a B2B software company’s CRM detects when a lead downloads a specific product whitepaper. Based on this action, the system auto-categorizes the lead’s interest and triggers a tailored email series about that product. If the lead engages further, the CRM prioritizes them for a specialized sales representative, streamlining the sales lifecycle with precision.

Those interested in AI-powered CRM systems can check out our article.

Reduce the risk of human errors

By automating data entry and other repetitive tasks, the chances of mistakes are significantly reduced. For instance, pharmaceutical companies receive orders from various hospitals. Manually entering these orders could lead to errors like shipping the wrong medications or incorrect quantities. 

With a CRM, when a hospital places an order through an online portal, the system auto-populates order details, cross-references with inventory, and schedules shipments. This automation ensures accurate deliveries, preventing potential medical mishaps due to human data entry errors.

For more on CRM in pharmaceutical industry, check out our article.

Omnichannel monitoring

CRM systems consolidate customer data and interactions from various channels, such as email, social media, and phone calls, into one platform. This provides a holistic view of the customer journey.

If you are looking for a CRM solution, check out our article on a comprehensive CRM vendor guide and top CRM software in the market.

> 8 CRM Best Practices and Real-life Examples

We’ve divided the best practices for using a CRM system into two categories: implementation and post-implementation. Each phase has its own set of best practices to ensure a smooth transition and effective use of the CRM system. To maximize the benefits of a CRM system, it’s essential to follow best practices during both the implementation and post-implementation phases.

CRM implementation

1- Provide a well-established training program for employees

A robust CRM platform is only as good as the people using it. Before rolling out the CRM system, ensure that all users are adequately trained. This will help them understand the system’s capabilities and how to use it effectively.

Example: A real estate agency, prior to launching its new CRM system, organizes a two-week training program for all agents and staff. The training includes hands-on workshops, role-playing scenarios, and Q&A sessions with CRM experts. This ensures that every team member knows how to input property listings, track client interactions, and utilize the system’s analytics to identify potential leads and opportunities.

2- Maintain data integrity

Remember that a CRM system produces consistent results as long as the data is consistent. As a result, clear and reliable data is the foundation of any CRM system. Clean your data on a regular basis to remove duplicates, adjust mistakes, and verify that the information is up to date.

Example: A hotel chain uses automated scripts within their CRM to scan for duplicate guest entries every week, merging records and correcting inconsistencies, ensuring its marketing campaigns target guests without redundancy.

3- Customize the dashboard based on the priorities

Every company has different requirements. Create a customized CRM dashboard that reflects the metrics and data that are most important to your business goals.

Example: A financial services organization, for instance, may modify the CRM dashboard to highlight important customer financial metrics and risk profiles while also incorporating regulatory compliance alerts and portfolio performance comparisons against key benchmarks.

For those interested in financial services CRM, check out our article.

Post-implementation

4- Make regular updates and audits

After implementing a CRM system, it’s essential to keep it updated and in line with the company’s changing needs. Regular audits ensure that the system remains efficient and relevant to the business’s goals.

Example: A software company can schedule quarterly CRM audits, checking for software updates and ensuring data fields align with its evolving product offerings.

5- Analyze customer sentiment from customer interactions

In any business, understanding customer sentiment is crucial. By analyzing feedback and interactions within a CRM system, companies can detect recurring themes, be it praise for a product’s quality or concerns about customer service responsiveness. Positive sentiments can guide marketing strategies, while negative feedback offers a roadmap for improvement. Through sentiment analysis, businesses gain a clearer picture of customer perceptions, enabling them to refine their offerings and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

Example: A car dealership, after reviewing feedback in their CRM, identifies that many customers appreciate its transparent pricing model and the no-pressure sales approach. Recognizing this positive sentiment, the dealership decides to emphasize these aspects while advertising campaigns.

6- Create a personalized experience tailored to each customer

Use the data in your CRM to understand each customer’s preferences, purchase history, and interactions. This will allow you to tailor your marketing and sales strategies to each individual, enhancing their experience.

Example: An online electronics retailer can leverage CRM to analyze a customer’s browsing and purchase history. Observing that the customer often looks at high-end headphones but hasn’t made a purchase, the retailer sends a personalized email offering a special discount on premium headphones.

If you are interested in retail CRM software, check out our benchmarking on the available vendors in the market.

7- Leverage CRM reports and analytics

Most CRM systems come with powerful analytics tools. Regularly review these reports to gain insights into sales performance, customer behavior, and other essential metrics.

Example: A restaurant chain can use CRM analytics to identify which menu items are most often discussed positively in customer feedback, influencing decisions for promotional offers.

8- Integrate third-party applications

CRM software can be integrated with various third-party applications, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SCM (Supply Chain Management), or marketing automation tools. This integration ensures seamless data flow across different departments, enhancing collaboration and operational efficiency.

Example: An e-commerce store can integrate CRM with inventory management and email marketing tools. When stock for a popular item is replenished, the CRM triggers an automated email to customers who had shown interest, driving sales.

If you need guidance in CRM systems, contact us:

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Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Begüm Yılmaz
Begüm is an Industry Analyst at AIMultiple. She holds a bachelor's degree from Bogazici University and specializes in sentiment analysis, survey research, content writing services and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

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