Chances are you’ve devoted considerable time and money to selecting and setting up a customer relationship management (CRM) system. But, with onboarding being completed, have you gone back and taken a look at how thoroughly you’ve implemented the system?

Among all companies in North America with 10 or more employees, 91 percent say they have CRM systems in place, according to the E Squared management consulting firm. But less than 30 percent of them say the tools are fully executing on missions, strategies, and tactics.

What’s more, a 2018 study by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), which surveyed more than 250 B2B professionals in businesses of all sizes across numerous industries, showed that many are not sure how to use their CRMs to advance marketing and sales.

The study notes that, despite massive CRM investments, “nearly two-thirds of responders claim to be novice or intermediate at integrating data with their CRM. A mere 13 percent claimed to be advanced.”

A related issue is that sales teams often use a CRM system that’s different from that used by the marketing team.

“This siloed nature of enterprise-wide data management can often foul up operations and decision-making,” D&B observes, “so much so that data is not always trusted to be the guiding factor in business decisions.”

Using unconnected technologies makes an organization less efficient and also compromises intelligence. Relying on different databases in different systems opens the potential for failing to share updated information. For example, sales and marketing may unknowingly send duplicate messages and materials to the same contacts. Or companies may target the wrong individuals if they’re missing the data indicating one or more people recently left a company and have been replaced.

Do You Trust Your Sales and Marketing Data?

Trustworthy data is a key issue. The D&B research found that confidence in data has dropped to a new low. Just 51 percent of B2B professionals were confident in the current quality of their sales and marketing data. While learning that half of the users were confident in their data may seem like progress, it’s not. The previous year that figure was 75 percent.

If marketers are not sure of their data — because of misalignment with sales, slow or sporadic updating, or unreliable semi-manual processes — they are likely to be reluctant to build out their CRM system beyond the basics.

Although they may frequently question their data, 62 percent of those surveyed said they were confident of their ability to create a list that accurately reflects their target audience, and half were confident in their ability to segment that list — numbers that still are discouraging, considering that CRM is all about segmenting customers while ensuring data about those customers is accurate.

Another issue is a reluctance among many organizations to adopt the automation capabilities built into most CRMs. A 2018 roundup of CRM statistics from Introhive found that the biggest barrier to achieving full CRM adoption is a dependence on manual data entry. In addition, only 45 percent of businesses say they’re using CRM to store and manage customer data. The rest rely on Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Google Docs, or physical files.

Benefits of CRM: CRM Features and Statistics

The customer advantages of CRM go up when companies put their automation functions to work: CRMs can automatically email whitepapers or case studies to targeted lists of contacts, display immediate thank-you’s for responding, send follow-up emails to those who downloaded resources, and notify sales teams to contact specific leads. Just think about how much time that could save.

Last year, HubSpot reported that 27 percent of salespeople spent an hour or more on data entry every day. Automated CRM functions can gather and enter all the information from emails, notes, calendars, social sites, and other sources, freeing up marketers and sales staff from administrative tasks and also preventing many errors.

The value of these new capabilities is also relatively easy to quantify: Companies automating lead management boost revenue by 10 percent or more within six to nine months, HubSpot says.

Beyond the time savings, automation can bolster segmentation by using all the power of a CRM platform to find, deliver, and respond to the right prospects and customers with the right information at the right moment for the right reasons. Manual methodologies and efforts based only on the marketer’s experience and history with each client simply can’t keep up.

There are other benefits and features of CRM to consider too. An upcoming Point To Point whitepaper lays out the value of adopting an advanced CRM system for personalized segmentation, rather than relying on manual techniques or CRMs that are under-deployed. The paper is scheduled for publication in April 2019. You can receive a copy upon request.

In addition, Point To Point can help you navigate through the ins and outs of CRM implementation to optimize your digital marketing efforts. We’re happy to talk with you and answer other questions you may have about adopting a CRM. Just contact us and let us know how we can help.