Maximising your customer relationship management (CRM) potential has never been more important. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted the business landscape and sparked new consumer expectations. Global quarantine and social distancing efforts have caused more consumers to shop on the Internet, rather than in-person. As a result, a majority of businesses moved their services online, streamlining the world’s digital transformation.

In fact, digital transformation and CRM systems are revolutionising the way that companies and consumers connect and build relationships.

In order to find out how users can get the most out of their CRM and maximise their potential, we commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the use of CRM systems across a range of various industries. Here are some key findings:

  • 57% reported that CRMs are at least somewhat fragmented across their organisations, with some departments having their own CRM.

  • Four out of five businesses are investing in CRM to support customer-focused strategies.

  • 90% of respondents believe that their CRM system is an important (or very important) component in their strategies for improving customer experiences.


While the importance of CRM seems to be widely understood, CRM systems are often not used to the maximum of their capabilities. So, what are some common CRM mistakes, and how can they be addressed?


CRM is still used in silos

Many traditional companies still operate with a product-first mindset, with CRM deployed tactically in individual departments. Business leaders understand that CRMs are critical to the success of their marketing, sales, and customer service teams, but those teams are often operating in their own silos and not getting a 360 view of the customer.

This leads to limited CRM during customer lifecycles: CRM usage is spread across teams during the discovery phase. Meaning, when sales teams are reaching out to customers, marketers are logging info from new campaigns, and IT and finance are also inputting fresh customer data. But CRM usage often becomes siloed by marketing, sales, and customer service teams during the explore, buy, use, ask, and engage phases.



CRM systems are underutilised

When one company has multiple CRMs, the system cannot be a single source of truth. The data entered is often incomplete and can be structured in a way that’s confusing to all customer-facing personnel, creating a fractured and untrustworthy portrait.

This leads to teams wasting valuable time trying to make sense of data from disparate sources, and struggling to produce anything insightful, despite having analytical tools at their disposal. For instance, marketers need help targeting the right people with the right offers at the right time. Sellers need to be able to focus on the most promising deals. They both need trustworthy and actionable info. As a matter of fact, 80% of respondents say that a single source of truth for customer data would provide significant value or indispensable value.


AI and automation functions are being overlooked

AI and automation are driving much of the customer-first revolution, and these technologies are crucial to CRM and the Customer 360 Transformation. Not only do these technologies help customer-facing personnel streamline their operations and reduce their administrative duties, but they also provide businesses with the content, data, and insights needed to personalise engagement and optimise their products and services, helping to retain customers and boost revenue.


Actionable info is needed to strengthen customer profiles

When using your CRM efficiently, you can gather unstructured interaction data and use it to form actionable intelligence, and then build a consolidated view of the customer. This will allow for one-to-one conversations and help create the personal touch that today’s customer expects.

Here are a few examples of data that fuels intelligence:

  • Broader demographic and firmographic data

  • Conversational styles

  • Buying indicators

  • Social data

  • Relationship graphs

  • Influencer relationships


Expand your horizons beyond CRM

The CRM ecosystem is a powerful part of your tool kit, so make sure to explore all of the integrated applications that support end-to-end customer engagement processes. Don’t overlook tools like eSignature, contract management applications, diallers, and schedulers, which can help provide a smooth customer experience.


What results can be expected with a well-integrated CRM?

A well-integrated CRM will boost customer satisfaction and align departments. Customers will notice, too: 80% of well-integrated businesses, when rating their overall experience for customers, reported an eight or higher on a 10-point scale, as opposed to only 57% of organisations whose technologies were not well-integrated with their CRM platform.

Most important of all, a well-integrated CRM will offer a single source of truth: 87% of businesses that have integrated their customer-facing technologies with their CRM platform stated that their CRM system is mostly or completely able to provide a single source of truth, in contrast to 67% of businesses that are not well-integrated.

Optimising your CRM is the key to gathering intelligent, actionable info, and building a 360 view of your customer. To find out more about getting the most out of your CRM, download our Forrester CRM Report today.

As businesses around the world start reopening, we understand that returning to work safely is a top priority. To help business owners during this time, we've created to prepare them with essential solutions, guidance from our ecosystem, access to the latest COVID-19 data, and more.