Written by   |   May 29 2020   |   Read 1787 times


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that we could never have imagined, including the way we do business. Many businesses have been forced to reinvent themselves and rethink the tools that they use. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are now more important than ever as they offer the functionality needed to survive a crisis. In this article, we'll discuss how you can make the most out of your CRM in order to stay competitive during these trying times. 

Optimise your CRM for remote operation

With the majority of employees working from home, it’s vital that your team has access to the data that they need and can operate productively. Using a Cloud CRM is ideal to enable the sharing of all your information and tools. However, you also need a good Internet connection. With seemingly everyone working remotely, you might be experiencing issues with your usual Internet speed. The great thing about Act! CRM is that you can configure your database so staff can work offline yet still share information by synching periodically. This also means that they can use the Desktop version of Act! which can be a preferable option if they are not used to using the cloud version. On the other hand, existing Act! Desktop users can easily and quickly convert to the cloud. In most cases, our customers choose a combination of both cloud and on-premise (desktop) configuration to provide access that best works for their staff. See the Act! configuration options for working remotely. 

Ensure you’re secure

Security of your data should always be a major consideration, however, during this time, if the majority of your workforce is currently switching to remote operation, you should pay special attention to information security in your CRM. Pay particular attention to passwords, user security roles and audit tracking. You want to ensure that each user has the right security level in order to perform the functions they require however you may not want to give them access to export all your customer data to a spreadsheet or the ability to delete contacts. While working in a shared office, you might be able to tell Sarah in accounts that you’ve updated a company name or customer status however without audit tracking, this won’t be as obvious when working remotely. In Act!, you can create a history item when contacts, fields, opportunities, activities etc. are updated so that there is an automatic audit trail for all important changes.

Share team calendars

The toughest part about working remotely is the lack of everyday communication. You miss out on being able to exchange information when talking in the tea room, at the water cooler or popping into the nearby cubicle. To ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your prospects and customers, encourage your team to schedule everything that they need to do for prospects/customers into the database including appointments and meetings. This will provide management with full visibility of the teams’ calendars and task lists to monitor performance. Additionally, the rest of the team will be able to see when colleagues are on conference calls or in Zoom meetings. Keeping all the necessary activities centralised and readily available to all remote team members won't just simplify their work, it will improve their output tremendously.

Update your CRM Data

Your CRM is only as good as the data in it. With your team working remotely, it is vital that all interactions such as phone calls, notes, tasks, sales opportunities, emails etc. are recorded in your CRM to provide full visibility for the team. It will waste time and make you look incompetent if two staff are calling the same customer, or even worse, no one calls them because a to-do wasn’t recorded! Data entry is not always fun however it will pay off in the form of improved productivity and customer service.

With Act!, most functions can be configured to automatically record a history to save time and ensure a trail is created. Incoming and outgoing emails can be automatically attached to history so that others can see the complete communication. With many employees working remotely and some workflow slowing down, your staff may have more free time on their hands. This is an excellent opportunity to clean up your CRM data. Consider reviewing all the contacts, cleaning email lists, updating client information, and doing whatever else you never have time for in the office. Once the pandemic subsides and work returns in full force, you'll thank yourself for cleaning up the CRM data to improve the company's efficiency.

Stay in touch with customers

With people saving time on transport to the office, they are finding more time to read emails, research blog content and view videos. So now is a great time to ensure that you are staying front of mind with your customers. Don’t bombard them with irrelevant information however sending periodic updates to let them know that you are still available to provide them with products or services is a good way to keep business flowing.

With Act! you can easily send professional-looking, mobile-friendly emails to groups of customers. You can also send bulk personalised emails that appear like they have been sent using Outlook (not the marketing type) so use this time to reach out to as many customers as you can with a tailored, personalised message based on who they are and what the relationship is with the company.

Set up simple Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation allows you to personalise your communications to your customers by creating buyer personas and customising sent emails depending on customer characteristics. Integrating a Marketing Automation system with your CRM will help to enhance your overall customer experience, which is highly important during a crisis. While Marketing Automation may seem like it’s expensive and only for the big guys, Act! Growth Suite offers Marketing Automation software that is seamlessly integrated with Act! CRM. It’s is perfectly suited for small business as it’s easy to learn and use and comes at budget price compared to its competitors. Spending a little time setting up some simple automated emails, to begin with, and you'll find that you will actually save you time as you won’t be manually sending each email. This will allow you to put more focus on your skills and expertise, the things that will earn you money.

The Takeaway

In the time of a crisis, the ability to adapt to new circumstances is priceless. With many competitors struggling, it's an excellent time to implement some simple strategies to ensure your business survives and potentially thrives. By adjusting your approach to using available tools, you are keeping your business afloat. At Act Today, we have years of experience working with CRM software for small businesses. We know how to help you get the most out of your CRM system during the pandemic and beyond. If you would like a Free Remote Work Consultation, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Cate Dempsey

As Marketing Manager, Cate Dempsey plans & delivers marketing campaigns & content, including regular email newsletters, promotions, blog posts, and other customer communication.

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