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CRM best practices for customer success teams

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Author photo: Ashley Hall

Ashley Hall

Senior Account Manager

As a customer success professional, it’s important to remember that your CRM can only be as good as the information you put in it. Bad data in, bad data out, right?

The quality of your data is a huge factor in the overall performance of your CRM, but that’s far from the only thing. To make the most of your platform, your team’s time and resources, and the customer relationships that hang in the balance, you’ll also need to consider the way this data is organized and managed to determine customer satisfaction.

The most successful CRM experiences for customer loyalty are custom-built to cater to the company and their unique style and needs. As you build and develop your CRM platform, think of your current colleagues—and even your future colleagues who have yet to join.

How can you build and maintain a system that keeps everyone on the same page, while quickly bringing new teammates up to speed? How can you groom your CRM to highlight and showcase the most important and relevant information, while ensuring that a new team member can step in and easily start supporting a new customer?

In this post, we'll go over how to:

  1. Keep your CRM data clean and clutter-free.
  2. Invest in onboarding.
  3. Create filters to make daily workflows easier
  4. Make the system easy to use
  5. Automate as many tasks as possible

1. Keep your CRM data clean and clutter-free

It might seem like a good idea to include as much information as possible to make sure that you’re always covering all your bases to showcase a customer success process. But when it comes to your CRM for new customers and existing customers, this can backfire surprisingly quick.

At the end of the day, having a surplus of information is almost as tricky as having no information, such as customer feedback. Sometimes, when you look at a client record with years of intelligence about customer satisfaction and a lack of structure, it's hard to know where to begin.

Here are a few tips to help avoid and clean up CRM clutter.

Be a minimalist. Many users expect their CRM to contain everything from A to Z focusing on customer success strategies and be perfect from day one. But I recommend starting with a “less is more” mentality such as essential information about the customer journey. You can always layer in complexity after you’ve built a good foundation.

Make maintenance ongoing. As your teams, clients, and data mature, you’ll need to revisit your customer retention processes and look for opportunities to optimize and automate. When there’s harmony in the growing process and working with a strong customer success strategy, data entry and maintenance will stay efficient and streamlined.

Remove duplicates. If your CRM is more established, you have a lot of existing customers, and you need to declutter, you might find that removing duplicates can cut out a significant number of leads, people, or companies. In Copper, you just click the boxes next to the records you’d like to merge and click the “Merge” button. Simple as that.

2. Invest in user onboarding

To someone who isn’t familiar, CRM software can be confusing, making creating a customer success strategy difficult. This is especially true for software with advanced features and capabilities. Unfortunately, many teams fail to realize that improper or insufficient training can counteract those awesome capabilities.

When you invest in onboarding for new users—and ongoing training for existing users—you’re ensuring that everyone has the knowledge and skills to use the software to its maximum potential, which can lead to a wonderful customer success team.

Virtually any CRM on the market will offer tools and resources for onboarding and training that any customer success team can use. For example, Copper has a self-paced onboarding program for admins, an onboarding training video, and a series of onboarding and training webinars that your team can work through on their own schedules.

I recommend systematizing your onboarding process by having everyone watch the same training video(s) or conducting your own live group training, and creating a comprehensive resource database everyone can access at any time This will ensure that each new user has access to the same resources and receives the same level of attention to address any questions or issues they might encounter.

If you’re just starting out, group onboarding sessions can be a great way to foster collaboration and ensure that everyone is on the same page about customer success strategies.

3. Create filters to facilitate daily workflows

In addition to keeping your customer engagement data clean, streamlined, and relevant, it’s also important to structure it so that different teams and users can easily find the information that’s most important to them.

Field and data structure can help with this. Think about which data points are most important to your team, like customer loyalty and customer feedback, and where they’re stored. Additionally, think about how you can empower every team to customize their views so they’re only looking at what they need to do their job.

For example, a success professional will more than likely only be working with current customers. You can facilitate this by building filters for current customers.

If your goals and responsibilities are regionally assigned, you can go a step further by filtering the accounts by region. This way, instead of looking at all 5,000 records of current customers, someone only has to look at the 500 customers they’re assigned to.

In Copper, you can filter based on:

  • Leads
  • People
  • Opportunities
  • Companies
  • Projects
  • Tasks

You can even create custom filters that you can access instantly at any point throughout your workday to provide a positive customer experience. Once you filter, you can save your list to come back to, or export it to create more meaningful reporting.

4. Make the system easy to use

We all know those users who are resistant to change. Given an organization’s history of implementing new systems, they may feel CRM is just a trend that will slowly fade away. Making the system familiar and easy to use will instill some sense of ownership and drive interest across the board.

If some of your team members are particularly adept at using Gmail (and if they're not, here's how), see if your CRM allows you to embed some of its features in the email app so they can do contact management and communications from one place.

You’ll be glad to know that top CRMs integrate with all types of business applications, so all your workflows are streamlined throughout the different aspects of your business.

Copper, for example, offers a Chrome extension for Gmail and Inbox lets you share a single set of contacts, track your sales opportunities, and manage tasks right inside Gmail. You don’t need to go back to the CRM dashboard to check your in-app reports, visualize your pipeline or configure account settings.

You can also do things like attach presentations about customer engagement, contracts or reporting sheets to records for direct access to these materials. With just a few clicks, you and your team gain quick access to all the relevant information tied to an opportunity involving a customer success inside the platform.

Integrating customer journey tools that enable your team to continue working in the applications they are used to (like their contacts, tasks, calendar and email inbox) ensures they experience the least amount of disruption in the way they work—and increases the probability that they’ll embrace your CRM.

5. Automate as many tasks as possible

One major benefit of using a CRM instead of a spreadsheet is the ability to automate tasks o provide a flawless customer experience. Task completion can be encouraged through custom workflows, which keeps sales teams on track and allows them to focus on selling instead of entering and checking data. This is a blessing in disguise for sales teams, who spend 33% of their workday on data entry.

To address this and make customer success plan teams more efficient, configure your CRM to quickly present the information to them.

Many CRMs are capable of automating the data entry function by pulling in business descriptions from the web, scraping contact information from email footers, and auto-populating social profiles.

While you can build several types of automation triggers, I recommend you to create and use the following as a jumping off point:

  • If a contact is inactive for more than seven days, create a task for the responsible user to follow up to earn customer retention.
  • Send new customers a welcome message when their deal moves to the “closing stage,” and notify the relevant success manager internally.
  • If a customer has been active for two years, create a task to send them a loyalty appreciation present.

In Copper, you can create automated actions to assign tasks to record owners once the leads have been created. These enable you to create reminders for your reps to make sure they’re always following best practices when implementing a customer success plan.

When you associate the actions with opportunities, they can help you make critical decisions throughout the pipeline.

Done correctly, CRM automation puts parts of your success efforts on auto-pilot. Use automation to enhance the efficiency of your workflows and free up your team from wasting valuable hours on menial, repetitive tasks.

Ready to make your customers more successful with CRM?

Think back to a software when you kept looking for an excuse to delete it from your computer. What made you want to remove it as soon as possible?

Don’t let your teammates and future colleagues fall into the same trap. Consolidate your daily workflows in one place and implement CRM best practices to make sure your system is easy to use and adaptable.

If you’re in Customer Success and work closely with Sales and Marketing, why not give Copper a try? It’s beautiful, user-friendly, and customizable for your workflows and processes. Sign up for a 14-day free trial!

Curious about how our team approaches customer success? Watch this chat with Charles (now our Director of Strategic Customer Success):

Try Copper free

Instant activation, no credit card required. Give Copper a try today.

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