6 Resolutions you can make to improve your business in the new year

Improve your business with help from Less Annoying CRM!
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Make the CRM a part of your business resolution this year!

The new year is almost here, and I’m sure you’re gearing up to make business-related resolutions. Do you want to grow your relationships with your existing customers? Close more deals? Generate more leads? The CRM can be a great tool for making and keeping your business resolutions. Not only can it hold you accountable (only 9% of people successfully keep their resolutions, after all) but it can help you track your progress, too. In this post, we’ll go through what your big goals might be, and give you specific, measurable steps that you can take to achieve them using the CRM.

1. Stop dropping the ball on your relationships.

When was the last time you talked to everyone in your CRM? When do you plan on checking in with them next? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you may want to resolve to keep your relationships in check next year.

  • Leave a note and schedule a task in the CRM after every touch. This is CRM Best Practices 101. If you talk to a lead or an existing customer, make sure to leave a note in the CRM immediately after your conversation while it’s still fresh in your mind. Then, schedule a task to follow up. Even if it’s a year from now, you don’t need to remember to check in with this person again — the CRM will remind you, and we’ll even have a history of your notes with this person so you remember what you’ve talked about.
  • Having trouble remembering to update your records? Review your Activity Report at the end of each day and make sure that for every scheduled meeting and call, you left a note as well as assigned yourself a task to follow up in the future.
  • Need help getting started? Pull a report from the Find a Contact page to show you contacts that haven’t been touched in awhile. Start following up with these contacts right away, or resolve to schedule 5 more follow up tasks a week going forward.
  • Treat your clients like VIPs. Use the new year as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with your best clients by creating an unforgettable VIP experience. Track your VIPs in a special group so that they are always top of mind. Create a new pipeline for tracking a customer loyalty program. Or schedule follow up tasks for sending handwritten thank-you notes or little gifts.

2. Close more deals.

If your sales are down or you didn’t grow as much as you wanted to last year, you probably want to win more deals in 2018. The CRM can help you figure out what went wrong and improve your sales process.

  • Find the bottlenecks in your sales process. Use your pipeline report to find out where your leads are dropping off. Are you getting a lot of prospects, but not closing enough of them? Or, are you closing plenty of deals, but you simply don’t have enough lead volume? Let your CRM data be your guide.
  • Calculate how many touches it takes to close a sale. If you know the average number of touches it takes to win someone over, you can tweak your sales process to include at least that many interactions with your prospect. Use this tutorial to calculate your average.
  • Schedule in time to make more calls every week. Sales is all about the follow up, and it can be easy to let phone time fall to the wayside when there’s so much else to do. Use your LACRM calendar to schedule in non-negotiable phone time and schedule follow up tasks after every interaction with a prospect. For inspiration, check out how one of LACRM’s users kept making calls to close more deals.
  • Test your sales process. Check out this webinar from CRM Coach Eunice on how LACRM’s sales team uses the CRM. We use our pipelines to let us know if what we are doing is working, and find the optimal sales process going forward.

3. Get more organized.

Organization is a big reason why you purchased a CRM, but sometimes putting out fires can get in the way of pulling your business together. Thankfully the CRM (and your CRM coach) can help you get on top of your to do list!

  • Move your entire business into the CRM. A CRM is only as helpful as the data inside it, so if you’re still juggling multiple spreadsheets, a paper agenda, and a filing cabinet, you might not be getting your maximum benefit possible from the CRM. Schedule a call with a CRM coach to see how you can fit every part of your business — from files to sales tracking to scheduling out your team — into the CRM. If you need inspiration, see how one of our customers made LACRM the hub of her business.
  • Use the CRM for customer service as well as sales. Empower your team to solve customer issues by tracking them in the CRM. Make sure your team knows to leave detailed notes, schedule follow up tasks, and upload any files related to issues (like a return receipt or a screen shot of an order error) to the client's record.
  • Pin LACRM to your smartphone’s home screen. You’ll thank me later. Having the CRM on the go will make it much easier to consistently enter data as soon as you have it, rather than planning to enter it later and never quite getting around to it. Here is a tutorial for iPhone and for Android.
  • Enter your contacts and notes in the CRM right away. Enter new contacts in from your smartphone and dictate notes on the go. Don’t write notes or info on paper first — get in the habit of immediately adding this info to the CRM.
  • Schedule CRM time into your calendar. If you schedule in CRM time first thing and last thing every day, you’ll have time to review your agenda at the beginning of your day and complete any follow ups that you forgot about at the end. If you need more tips, check out this article on turning CRM into a daily habit.

4. Collaborate better with your team.

Think back on your company’s big goofs over the past year. Were they caused by client error, bad timing, or (worst of all) a miscommunication on your end? If bad collaboration is affecting the customer experience, it’s time to get everyone to stop and listen! Here’s how the CRM can help.

  • Get everyone on the CRM. If someone isn’t on the CRM but needs the data inside, such as colleague’s schedules, access to contact data, or even files, they are missing out on valuable info. Same goes if they have data that could be added to the CRM. Every department — from marketing to sales to management — can use the CRM. If you’re interested in bringing more team members onto the CRM but aren’t sure how, schedule a call with us and we can explain the best way to get everyone on board. If you need inspiration, see how one of our users keeps her whole company (managers, service workers, and office workers) organized via the CRM.
  • Make the CRM a part of new hire onboarding. If everyone is onboarded into the CRM right away and knows that entering data is a part of their job, they are more likely to stick with the CRM and actually use it. Check out this step by step guide to onboarding new hires with the CRM.
  • Make sure everyone knows and follows CRM best practices. Feel free to email our post on CRM best practices to everyone around the office so that they understand the best way to use the CRM.
  • Messy data entry ruining your reports? Create CRM rules so that everyone understands how and where to enter data. This tutorial will walk you through the process of creating CRM rules and making sure your team sticks to them.
  • Motivate and incentivize your team to use the CRM. It’s not enough to just tell your team to use the CRM — you have to show them how it improves their job quality and makes their life easier, too. Here are our top tips for ensuring that your team actually wants to use the CRM every day.

5. Amp up your marketing.

You recently started your business and your sales are starting to grow. Horray! But your marketing is abysmal — you never remember to post on social and you have a lot of emails but nothing to do with them.  Check out how the CRM can help you take your marketing from 0 to hero.

  • Segment your contacts with groups. Use LACRM’s groups feature to tag your contacts into different categories. You can organize your groups by location, interest, lead source, or any other factor that you find important. Once your records are properly categorized, you’ll have an easy time pulling up records you want to contact with various marketing campaigns in the future.
  • Sync your groups to MailChimp. Now that your groups are set up, sync them to MailChimp so that you can start sending them email blasts! MailChimp is an email marketing program built specifically for small businesses, and LACRM integrates with them! Check out this tutorial to set up your sync with MailChimp.
  • Create (and stick to) an email marketing strategy. Now that your email lists are all ready to go, it’s time to build your email marketing strategy. Check out this webinar for a step-by-step how-to for sending your first email campaign and creating a simple emailing strategy. Check out our Youtube Channel for other marketing webinars!
  • Schedule marketing tasks in the CRM. Make a marketing subcalendar to make scheduling marketing related tasks and events easier! Create tasks to remind you to plan your social media posts and create events to block out chunks of content writing time during the day. If you put these tasks and events in your schedule, you’re less likely to let marketing-related to-do’s fall to the wayside.

6. Become a CRM expert.

Whether you’ve been using us for a while or just started and want to become the CRM evangelist at your company, here are our best tips for becoming an LACRM expert.

  • Get a CRM check up. Ask a CRM coach to take a look at your account and see if there are any red flags. In a follow up call, we can go over suggestions for how to maximize your benefit from the CRM and correct any issues we see. Just contact us, and we’d be happy to take a look at your account!
  • Sign up for our newsletter. Twice a month, we’ll send you new tips and tricks, and you’ll have first access to all of our webinars and beta tests. You can sign up for our newsletter below!
  • Brush up on CRM best practices. Sometimes, even long-time users fall into bad CRM habits. Challenge yourself to start following one of our best practices each week, and by the end of a month you’ll have supercharged your use of the CRM.
  • Bookmark reports that you frequently run. Take advantage of various LACRM reports with minimal effort by bookmarking your frequent reports. This way, when you want to run a report, you can immediately have the filters you need and easily edit them as necessary for the correct date or variable.
  • Know where to look when you have questions. Not sure how to pull a report or use a certain feature? Be sure to contact us, check out our help documentation, read our blog, or even search our Youtube Channel for past webinars and videos.

Do you have a business resolution not covered here? Let us know, and we’d be happy to show you how the CRM can help you achieve your goals!

This post was originally published on 12/18/17, but was updated on 12/11/18.  

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