How to use CRM systems: the ultimate user guide

How to use CRM systems: the ultimate user guide

If you’ve had to search for a Post-It note in the last week. Or you have been stumped trying to find an email address. It’s time to invest in a CRM solution. As your business grows, there is a critical mass of spreadsheets and scribbled notes. When this point is reached, you can be sure leads are slipping through the cracks. The inevitable outcome is disappointed customers and burnt-out staff. CRM is the lifebelt for you and your company. Learn how to use a CRM system below.

What you will learn in this article

  • What is CRM, and the top 4 benefits
  • CRM terms you need to understand
  • CRM strategy
  • How to use CRM
  • How to get started with CRM

What is CRM, and what’s in it for you

CRM means Customer Relationship Management. It is a system that allows you to store and comprehend all your interactions with leads and customers. Cloud-based CRM systems – the best option for small businesses – follow everything a person does from their website arrival until the deal is closed. There are four main benefits of CRM. These are:

Improved customer experience

Learning as much as possible about your prospect significantly improves the customer experience. A CRM system creates a profile that catalogs everything a prospect does on your website. And critical details like company size, industry niche, location, etc. You can create tailor-made messaging that provides added value.

Better productivity

CRM allows you to automate various tasks, from call logging to reports, forecasts, and more. The less time spent on routine admin work, the more hours sales staff have to engage with prospects and leads. As a result, revenue will increase.

Better collaboration

A CRM boosts collaboration between and within teams. For example, a sales manager can instantly see when the team reaches out and follows up with people. Cross-team work is also enhanced as coordination is significantly easier to maintain through a central information hub.

Greater insights

CRM provides you with meaningful insights on company and staff performance. The overview and ability to zoom into granular details like individual conversion rates, average deal size, velocity, etc., is a process tweaker’s dream.

CRM glossary

  • Contact: Anyone you interact with and require to capture their details.
  • Lead: Slightly warmer than a prospect. A person that has voiced interest in your product or service. Qualified leads are people or companies that have been IDd as a good fit by your sales team.
  • Deal: An opportunity or potential sale. A deal moves through your sales funnel.
  • Source: Where a lead was acquired, e.g., from a trade show, online web form, and so on.
  • Activity: Any action by a prospect or salesperson, such as a phone call, email, updated field in a customer profile, etc.

CRM strategy 101

A CRM strategy is how you and your company intend to use CRM to grow the business and delight customers. It’s critical to keeping everyone in the organization focussed on the goals. CRM systems often come with a ton of features, some of which you don’t immediately need. A CRM strategy will stop a business from becoming overwhelmed by technology. Or losing sight of the ultimate goals.

First, along with your team, determine the goals. You should consider what’s most important in terms of customer behavior and interactions. The next step is to sketch out personas for each buyer type. These personas are valuable to marketing and sales and help inform how you organize your CRM system later on. The final step is to map out the entire customer journey. You need to understand how customers progress through the sales funnel and how many touchpoints are required.

How to use CRM

Once you develop your strategy, you need to put your CRM to work. Here are the 6 steps involved.

  1. Add your users – The sooner you can onboard your staff, the better. When CRM is first being talked about, ensure staff buy-in. They need to understand the benefits. Appointing CRM champions is a smart move.
  1. Customize your settings – Fine-tune the CRM to match your sales process as closely as possible. There are default settings but be sure to customize to give the CRM a more bespoke feel.
  1. Import your data – Get as much of your existing data uploaded as possible. You typically do this with a CSV file. Each spreadsheet column should match a contact value in the CRM.
  1. Integrate – CRMs integrate with a wide range of marketing, sales, and business tools. Linking up your other platforms eliminates the need for manual data entry.
  1. Customize your dashboard – Dashboard defaults may not provide everything you need. Customize them to obtain the clearest possible overview. Choose the data you wish to appear so you can access crucial real-time info at a glance.
  1. Enable reports – Set up daily/weekly/monthly reports to be delivered to your inbox. This is the secret to staying on top of business developments. These can act as essential digests of what you need to know.

How to get started with CRM

You could read a thousand books about swimming and never really understand it until you get in the water. The same holds for CRM. However, you don’t need to jump into the deep end on day one. What you do is bag a free trial to evaluate CRM.

But be aware there is over-choice. There are hundreds of CRM providers out there. So, to save time, small businesses are highly advised to concentrate on cloud-based CRM providers. Everything is based online. The technical stuff gets taken care of by the CRM company. For small businesses, this is infinitely better than an on-site solution. For starters, it’s way cheaper, and you can scale it up as you go along.


Be assured being a small business is no barrier to accessing the power of CRM. Contact us today. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small businesses and are dedicated to ensuring your success with the technology.

May 23, 2022

Team Samdock

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