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4 Unconventional Ways To Use Your CRM Software CRMs are capable of completing more tasks than most people may be aware of.

By Shaun Haase

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a vital tool for businesses to manage and evaluate customer interactions and data throughout the customer life cycle. By tracking communications at every touchpoint, CRMs have the functionality to manage contacts, analyze data, improve customer retention and drive sales growth.

As technology for business management has advanced, CRM has also evolved to effectively arm businesses with the tools to target their customers and vet other potential opportunities. However, CRMs are capable of completing more tasks than most people may be aware of.

Here, we'll take a look at unconventional four ways that businesses can utilize a CRM outside of sales and still extract value for your business:

1. Monitor Reputation to Improve Customer Service

Using CRM for customer service gives client service teams a fuller, more holistic view of their efforts with the ability to understand customers thoroughly. For businesses of any size, CRM should serve as a tool to view details of customer interactions, communications, and transactions. With this, customer service professionals should be quick to use CRM to log queries and unify customers in their brand journey and its reputation.

For instance, when customers have an issue that needs resolution, CRM platforms provide an opportunity to note any developments towards a resolution, as well as customer satisfaction ratings and the solutions your representatives are delivering.

Businesses can optimize the course of both the customer service and sales processes by utilizing critical feedback from customers, helping improve future sales cycles. For example, if customers often speak to customer service about a recurring issue that requires a supplementary add-on to fix, you may want to package that in with the core product to avoid the issue altogether.

2. Convert Relationships to Partnerships

CRM isn't designed solely for tracking sales but also for managing partner engagements and other relevant relationships that are vital to your company's short and long-term interests. Many CRMs offer features like spreadsheet exports and pipeline reporting which business development teams can leverage to identify potential partnerships or long-term relationships. When synced with marketing automation software, nurturing these relationships becomes much more simplified.

When building business development partnerships, using a CRM enables users to implement a transaction, track progress, and sort through different types of relationships. Users can also review direct and indirect channels, while channel managers can quickly respond to the everyday needs of their partners. This can turn customers into partners and followers into brand ambassadors because CRM isn't rooted strictly into the sales cycle.

3. Supplement the Marketing Process

As a crucial piece of the marketing strategy of any business, CRM can help organizations get sharp, thorough feedback on their performance by illustrating exactly how customers feel about their offerings. In this case, companies can pinpoint their most loyal customers and then treat those customers to a product promotion, participation in a beta testing phase or market research opportunities. By analyzing data and customer feedback on these initiatives, businesses can tackle future customer segments with improved insights and new strategies.

Targeted efforts aimed at your existing customers can remind them of upcoming events or alert them of news relevant to your business. These types of practices help build customer loyalty while increasing customer retention and lifetime value.

4. Talent Management

This may seem slightly unrelated, but there is a connection to workforce analytics and customer relationship management. As human resource professionals need a comprehensive understanding of the potential talent to their workforce, managing this data in a centralized location can help aid the process. Today's workforce analytics, much like CRM, are largely based on data housed in HR systems that manage performance, development, career data and connected actions.

Businesses can adopt a combination of forward-thinking technologies to build and maintain a candidate roster to communicate with potential hires throughout the interview and selection process. In this case, the candidate is your customer and the HR professional is the salesperson. Keeping applicant data in one place will aid potential hiring campaigns as well as in-house training, performance calculation, compensation and leave management.

Although the benefits of CRM solutions are far-reaching, the beauty is that many of its core tasks can be automated. This gives teams, not only salespeople, the necessary time and tools to effectively grow your business in the most efficient way possible.

Shaun Haase

Contributory Author

Shaun brings more than 12 years of business leadership and entrepreneurial experience to his role as CMO of ProsperWorks. He graduated from Standford, obtained various leadership positions and founded two highly successful companies: Bazaar Advertising Solutions (acquired by Epic Media Group), a performance marketing services platform and DNA Games (acquired by Zynga), a social game development company leveraging big data to structure optimized game experiences. Most recently, Shaun ran online revenue at DocuSign, the #1 SaaS eSignature platform in the world.
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