Having a good CRM platform is crucial for any business to run as efficiently as possible. It enables you to keep all of your contacts’ information in one centralized location, gathers information so that you can provide personalized service, and helps you identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities as soon as they become apparent. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
But in order for this type of software to be as effective as possible, you want to make sure your team is trained well. Whether it’s marketing, sales, or customer service, all these departments can greatly benefit from knowing their way around each CRM feature.
A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is software where you store all information relating to your prospects, customers, and every type of contact. You can set it up to gather information from website users, email, callers, and social media, to create complete contact profiles.
As a result, you’re better positioned to provide an extraordinary customer experience. For example, you can use data in their file to send congratulatory emails (for birthdays or anniversary with your company, for example). You can also send them marketing emails that would be beneficial specifically for them.
And since all information is stored together in the same place, no matter who answers a phone call, email, live chat, or any other type of contact query, your team is able to see the contact’s full history with your company — previous communications, past purchases, and customer support tickets, to name a few.
A good CRM platform sets the stage for a better employee and customer experience. Some of the main benefits include:
Separating your contacts based on their categories — prospects, existing customers, former customers, their geographical location, job roles, the industry they work in, etc… This makes it a lot easier to keep your database organized and enables your teams to provide a better experience based on the contacts’ needs.
In every job, there are mundane tasks that have to be done. This can be gathering information, data entry, sending a Welcome or a Thank You email, etc… A CRM platform lets you automate all of these communications. You can predetermine a scheduled time to send them, or have them occur upon specific user behaviors, such as subscribing to your blog or downloading a lead magnet.
Features such as contact segmentation and data gathering enable you to provide communications that are specific to the receiver. This includes a lot more than just greeting them by name. You can send them marketing messages that are relevant to their stage on their buyer’s journey, appointment reminders, follow up emails, and/or suggestions based on their past purchases.
Not everyone who makes contact with your business is ready to make a purchase. That doesn’t mean you should prioritize other tasks over them. A CRM helps you provide them with valuable information that helps them at whichever stage they’re in. You can set up lead nurturing email campaigns with free information that’s relevant and useful to them.
All of the benefits above are fine and dandy, but in order to determine their effectiveness, you have to be able to track their progress. A CRM platform lets you customize dashboards so that you can track the KPIs that are relevant to your business goals. These can include marketing email open rates, click through rates, website visitors, conversions, customer retention, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
A CRM enables collaboration in many ways. All of your teams are able to see information pertinent to a contact in one location. There’s no need to go back and forth between departments to piece a puzzle together.
In addition, some platforms — such as HubSpot — allow you to tag specific coworkers in a contact’s file whenever you’re entering additional information. This ensures they are notified whenever there’s new data that’s relevant to their job roles.
Team members are also able to provide feedback, so that everyone who’s using the CRM has a well rounded idea of what is going on with each file and how to improve the customer experience.
Anything that’s going to be used successfully requires training. Even if a platform is user-friendly, it will still have a learning curve, and you want to ensure everyone who’s using it is aware of each features and functions, how to use them — and how to do so confidently. In addition:
You Learn About All the Features
Maybe you get a CRM because you want to keep your contacts organized; then feel over the moon when you learn how to automate workflows. Or maybe there’s an additional feature you had no idea you needed — until you find out it exists, like pipeline management.
Your Team Will Save Time
Providing adequate training ensures that a complex CRM feature doesn’t cause roadblocks. Nobody gets frustrated, or has to wait until someone else is available to do it. By the same token, features such as automation lets them focus on more complex tasks while the CRM takes care of the mundane, repetitive ones.
Optimize Their Use for Your Company
CRM training isn’t cookie cutter. Every business is different. They have different departments, quarterly goals, and custom objects, to name a few. Therefore, CRM training takes into account your specific needs to help you meet your goals.
It’s Cost Effective
CRM platforms often provide tired pricing. Which one would work best for you depends on the size of your company, your client base, and the features you need. Getting properly trained helps you identify the tools that are helpful — and the ones you can do without. So you’re not spending money on a subscription that doesn’t really fit your needs.
Alright. So now that you’re aware of the benefits of setting time aside to train your employees, let’s take a closer look at what the process entails:
1. Identify Job Roles That Require CRM Training
Make a list of the people who would benefit from using a CRM. Chances are it includes your sales team, several people from marketing, and customer support representatives. This is important to know, so that the training can be specifically tailored to their day-to-day needs.
2. Identify the Best Training Resources
Different people learn differently. While some are fine by reading a training manual, others may get bored out of their minds from that process. Others may be able to look up information in a Knowledge Base, take training courses, or hire a marketing agency to designate a consultant to do so.
3. Develop a Strategy
Developing a strategy will provide you with a roadmap on how to utilize your CRM. For example, you’ll want to write down in detail what are the steps in your buyer persona’s journey. How do they realize they’re facing a challenge you can resolve? What are they feeling? Do they have any apprehensions? Who are the decision makers in their company? How do they prefer to communicate? (Live chat, email, phone call, text, social media). Developing a customer journey map will help you answer all of these questions. And once you have identified each answer, you’ll be able to configure CRM tasks around them.
4. Designate a Project Manager
Having too many cooks in the kitchen is confusing and leads to conflict. Designate a specific person to set timelines, delegate tasks, and hold everyone accountable. This is essential, since the CRM onboarding and strategizing process can take multiple weeks — and sometimes even months — to complete. A project manager will ensure it all goes as smoothly as possible.
5. Set Standard Procedures
Nomenclature, formats, reasons to tag someone, ways to provide feedback, all these things will be more effective if they are conducted uniformly. This way, no matter who’s working on a contact’s file, everyone will be able to understand what’s going on. They’ll also know the best way to leave helpful information for the next person who works on the file.
6. Roll Out Features in Phases
As has become evident by now, CRM software comes with a lot of features. And while your entire company can read about them, they won’t really learn how to use them until they put them into practice. This has to be done in a cohesive and purposeful way. Doing it in phases ensures no one gets overwhelmed and that everyone can make sense of the process.
7. Establish a Timeline
Once you speak with an experienced CRM expert who can walk you through the process, you’ll have a better sense of how long it’ll take for the onboarding and training process to be completed. Set a timeline for each phase, and align it with your next marketing campaigns.
8. Evaluate Team Productivity
As part of the training, your team should be taught not only how to use the CRM features, but also how to interact with clients now that you have the software. This will help them boost productivity in a way you can measure — specifically whether tasks are now being completed more quickly.
9. Provide Ongoing Support
You can provide ongoing support by continuing to offer ongoing access to their training resources. Some of the courses are free, so that’s a given. But you may also need a certified specialist to be ready to provide consulting and/or guidance whenever your team needs it.
10. Ask for Anonymous Feedback
The best source of feedback is your team. However, if they are required to provide it in person or via email, they may feel intimidated or not free enough to be honest. By allowing them to provide anonymous feedback, they will be more genuine with their thoughts on whether certain features are helpful and/or whether they think the training was extensive enough to set them up for success. If you notice common concerns, address them by providing what they’re asking for. Remember, they have to feel comfortable with the CRM and the training for the CRM strategy to yield the best results.
Top CRM Courses and Classes
And now, without further ado, below are some of the top courses to train your team on how to best use all of your CRM’s features:
We always start with HubSpot because it’s so effective. The courses are taught over four videos, and they walk you through all the procedures — from initial setup through using all the tools you need. It also explains the migration process if you’re already using a different platform; as well as how to best implement an effective CRM strategy.
Zoho’s course is available for people with a subscription to their CRM. A standard subscription comes with most of the training videos. However, if you want to learn about more advanced ones, you would either need to purchase a Professional or Enterprise tier, or temporarily upgrade while you train your team.
Udemy offers The Complete CRM Course for Beginners, where users are trained about the different types of CRM softwares, customer management, establishing long-term relationships, and CRM implementation.
Coursera offers the course Salesforce Sales and CRM Overview, which provides guidance focused on entry-level sales roles. Therefore, it’s an excellent resource within the context of sales and how Salesforce features can help your company meet your quarterly goals.
The Knowledge Academy
The Knowledge Academy offers a one-day CRM Masterclass for Salesforce users. They go over integrations with third party applications and how to align your sales and marketing departments when using the software.
Narrowing down the CRM options to what best would fit your business needs is only a starting point. It’s when you provide your entire team with the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs effectively that you start seeing the results you’ve been hoping for.