Series Posts: CRM

CRM vs. Spreadsheets

CRM vs. Spreadsheets

CRM • August 6, 2018

In this episode, we tell you why it\'s time to get off of your spreadsheets and into a CRM. Paul breaks it down on the advantages of using a CRM over spreadsheets and why your business will benefit from it. 00:22 Andy Shore: Welcome back to another episode of Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. Today we\'re gonna start talking about spreadsheets and our ill-fated catchphrase: \"Are you spreadsheet too thin?\" Which grammar Nazis across the globe have told us makes no sense to them. And, I guess I\'m too clever for my own good sometimes, but the concept of it is that CRM is just a better alternative to spreadsheets, right? 00:53 Paul Rijnders: Yeah, definitely. In both ways, there\'s nothing wrong with spreadsheets. I mean, who hasn\'t used a spreadsheet before and had success with it? And it\'s easy to put data... Well, let\'s talk about what\'s right about spreadsheets. They\'re accessible, everyone\'s got some kind of spreadsheet program, whether it be Excel or maybe they\'ve got Google Sheets, etcetera, and it\'s really easy to understand. You put something in a grid... Oh, Numbers, gotta give Apple a shoutout there too. [chuckle] I don\'t use Numbers but I do love Apple. Okay, so anyway, this isn\'t supposed to be... 01:25 AS: We\'re accepting sponsorships. [chuckle] 01:27 PR: There you go. I use this little note spreadsheet program called... Okay, so anyway, [laughter] what I\'m saying is that spreadsheets are great because you can put in a row of data, and let\'s say that they might be your contacts and you have the different columns, which would be the information you wanna record about them. Those would be the fields that you want information on. It\'s very structured, and it\'s quick to enter in this information, but where do they fail? Well, they fail for a number of reasons. Number one, not everyone has access to it, unless it\'s shared in the cloud. That\'s a great thing that your spreadsheet\'s in the cloud and you can give other people access to it. That\'s awesome, but now what happens to the spreadsheet? Well, maybe it\'s not dynamic, meaning this, maybe you can be in the spreadsheet updating it and someone else can be updating the spreadsheet and that\'s fantastic if the spreadsheet doesn\'t crash. And I think those online cloud-based spreadsheets have gotten better at that, which is nice. But do you wanna be staring at a spreadsheet instead of doing your contact management, etcetera? 02:27 PR: But I would say the biggest weakness with spreadsheets is this, is that they don\'t relate to one another. So what I mean is this: Let\'s say that there\'s a person named Cindy and she\'s managing her business and on one spreadsheet, she\'s got all her contacts and the other spreadsheet, she\'s got a list of to-dos, and those contacts are referenced in those to-dos. Maybe on another spreadsheet, she\'s got a list of sales opportunities that might be happening. Well, guess what? Those spreadsheets are probably not in relation to each other, because that\'s not a relational database. And that\'s where CRM comes in handy is because tables of contacts or tables of activities or tables of opportunities, although they don\'t look that way in the CRM to you, they just look like a record that you enter, they\'re basically related spreadsheets, I guess, so to speak. You\'re not gonna think of a spreadsheets, the programmer\'s not gonna think of a spreadsheets. But what I\'m trying to say is this: If you have a contact, you could say, \"Okay well, I wanted to see which contact has an open activity,\" and then you can pull up a report that crosses those tables and instantly you can kind of parse those together. 03:35 PR: For instance, Robert, one of our sales people, was just saying this today, he\'s like, he was saying, \"Hey, you know what? I have a list of activities that I\'ve gotta do every single day.\" But guess what? Sometimes those activities are on accounts that are no longer active because maybe they\'ve gotten suspended. And guess what? Benchmark email will suspend accounts if they\'re spammers. We don\'t wanna have spamming people that ruin the reputations of all our really good and honest clients. I don\'t wanna look at activities if the contact is already been canceled or if the contact\'s been suspended. It\'s a waste of my time, or I don\'t wanna look at opportunities. So, where CRM comes in handy is that you can instantly... Well, with a few clicks, put together a report that says, \"Okay well, show me contacts that have this condition, and the activities that are related to them that have this condition,\" or you can see them all and separate them by group, or you can just see the ones that have the exact condition you want. Long story short, the reason that a CRM is gonna be better than your spreadsheet is could be because you can have related records all show up in one place as a single run. 04:45 AS: Yeah, definitely. As you\'re saying that, it clicked that a few years ago, I had my insurance company come give me an estimate because a neighbor of mine moving out of my building dropped a couch on the hood of my car as they were moving out, because my car was in the parking lot and the dumpster was on the other side of it. And it put a huge dent to the car, and I wanted to have them come out and give me an estimate to see how much they\'d cover of it, and luckily, my alley backed to a body shop and the guy saw it and he was like, \"Hey, if you pay me cash I\'ll fix it for this much,\" and it was lower than my deductible. And so I canceled the insurance claim because they were only gonna cover a small amount. They were like, \"We\'re not responsible for this or for some reason.\" Or because it was two separate dents because it hit and rolled, they tried to say it was two separate claims. So I\'d have to pay twice the deductible, so I ended up cancelling the insurance claim and just giving the guy cash to fix it for me, and a few weeks later, I got a follow-up email from them. 05:48 AS: It was like, \"Hey, we see you\'re happy that your claim was closed and that you\'re happy with your service.\" [chuckle] And I was just like, \"No, I was unhappy with what you had to say and canceled it.\" But I think because they kept me on one list rather than moving me to a different one, or that they didn\'t have maybe those relational databases that you\'re talking about, they didn\'t know where I was at with them and gave me the wrong communication and it pissed me off. 06:15 PR: Yeah, that\'s an excellent point and that\'s that sometimes the information exists in one place, and then, the other place where that information is is completely unaware of that change over in this place. So with CRM, you can achieve that and you can pull up information and say, \"Okay, well you know what? I just wanna see that this satisfies this.\" So, what you\'re also kind of leading into is how maybe some kind of an automation could help out. So for instance, what if when that person closed out your claim, they could close it out and when they close it out, you cancel that task for someone to follow up. Or when they closed it out there was a reason for the close-out. You\'re closing this out. Okay well, why are you closing this out? Well, because the person said the claim was not gonna be right for them so they would close it out because they were unhappy. 07:08 PR: Well, you should be able to pull up some kind of report that says, \"Show me all the tasks that are open or closed and that satisfy this condition.\" And so the more information you have, the better you can act. A lot of times, the machines kinda go wild. And people just have these automations that are set up, but then the automations are not set up to stop by a certain condition, or it\'s not checking that the original condition is still true and it fires off that automated message and that can kinda create havoc for not only for you and your company but ultimately, it\'s the customer that receives that automation. And your whole automation was written for two reasons: Number one, you wanted to save time, and number two, you wanted to send something personal to that person. Because you don\'t want the automation to say, \"Hey, guess what? I am the robot system and the robot system says this and this and this.\" [chuckle] Your client doesn\'t wanna see that. Maybe some do, I kind of would like to see that. 08:03 PR: But really, I think your client wants to say, if it has your name on the bottom of it, if you\'re Bill Smith and you\'re sending something, it better look personal and the information better be right and it better be topical. And that customer that gets it better say, \"Oh okay, cool, Bill knows me.\" And Bill can just keep on golfing. [chuckle] Whatever he\'s doing that day or meeting customers or attending to important matters or whatever it is. So the system can kind of do all that stuff, so Bill\'s not caught up doing that. But he needs faith in the system, that the system\'s acting on good information and that it\'s checking that information is still true before it does that automated action. 08:35 AS: Yep, that all makes sense to me and I think we\'ll wrap this episode up there. Thanks, everyone for listening and we\'ll catch you next time. 08:42 AS: Thanks for listening to Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer, brought to you by Benchmark. Tune in next time. Until then, you can get clued in by connecting with us on social media, the Benchmark blog, or by going to benchmarkcrm.com. Bye.


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The Customer Support Side of CRM

The Customer Support Side of CRM

CRM • August 3, 2018

CRM can be a lot of things for a lot of people in your company. This episode focuses on the customer support side of things. Because after all, an important part of fostering strong relationships with your customers is making sure that you\'re solving any issues that may arise. 00:22 Andy Shore: Thank you, everybody, for tuning in once again to Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. And I\'m sure before this is all said and done, I will call this Clues for the Clueless Email Marketer, and I may have already, and I apologize in advance. But if you\'re into email marketing, check out our version of that, where we\'re doing minisodes on email marketing. And now I\'m ranting and mumbling and wasting time, so we\'ll get into it. And whereas last time we talked about transactions in CRM, today we\'re gonna talk a little bit about the support side of things. 00:58 Paul Rijnders: Yeah, support is very important because I think when people come to CRM, they\'re really focused on sales. How can I convert this lead? How can I convert this lead to a contact and an opportunity? How can I track this opportunity through the sales process till it means money in our company\'s pockets? But support tickets are important because after the sale, somebody might have a problem, and how you address that really makes a big impact as to whether that customer is gonna feel comfortable calling you up again and purchasing something. Or the fact that the next time you try to sell someone, that you even acknowledge that they had an issue and then you give them some reassurances that that thing was taken care of and that it won\'t happen again. Or if it does happen again, that you\'re ready for it. 01:44 PR: So what are you looking for in a support ticket? And by the way, there\'s different ways that CRMs handle it. So some CRMs, you might see something called Support Case, and then you might have some types of SaaS products that are really ticket-focused. So I won\'t say the big one, but their name rhymes with Hendesk... [chuckle] 02:09 PR: And you\'re not gonna find cases there, you\'re gonna find tickets there. But they\'ve got a fantastic... I think they\'ve got a fantastic angle. Why? Because when you were a kid, did anyone ever say, \"Don\'t make a big federal case out of it?\" 02:23 AS: No. 02:24 PR: Probably not. 02:25 AS: No. 02:25 PR: Maybe that\'s because I\'m older, or maybe because I was the kind of kid who always made a federal case out of everything, [chuckle] but it was the same, \"Don\'t make a big federal case out of it.\" But the idea was this, why are you making a mountain into a molehill? So when someone\'s got an issue, is it really a case? You\'re calling for the detectives where they\'re saying, \"Okay, I got this case open. It\'s gonna take me a couple weeks to close this.\" No, is this something... Your customer doesn\'t want a case. If I call up AT&T and I got an issue with my phone not connecting, I don\'t want them to open up a case, I want them to open up a ticket. I want them to say, \"Yeah, you know what? We\'re on it.\" I want them to open that ticket and close it before I hang up. Or, if they can\'t solve it, I wanna know that ticket is somewhere popping up on someone\'s screen with a big red button that\'s saying, \"Alert! Alert! Solve! Solve! Solve!\" [chuckle] until somebody fixes this. That\'s a ticket. 03:12 PR: So maybe it\'s semantics. To me, a ticket is a little bit lighter than a case. And guess what? Your support staff can probably handle 100 tickets a day; they can\'t handle 100 cases a day. So that said, what is it? They\'re basically the same type of thing. You got a record that has some fields, and the fields say what the problem is, what\'s its priority, when is it due, when are you trying to solve it, and by the way, the most important thing, with whom is this case with, or this ticket with? So who do you got to solve this for? And then who are you gonna assign it to? The person that created that ticket might not be the person that\'s actually assigned the ticket. So for instance, let\'s say I open up a support ticket and it\'s for a customer named Wendy Smith. Well, Wendy Smith can\'t get her TV remote to work. Well, I\'m gonna make a ticket real quick for it. If I can\'t solve it really quickly, maybe I\'m gonna bump it up to Miguel. And I\'m gonna assign this ticket to Miguel so that Miguel can either contact her or do whatever he\'s gotta do to solve that thing. And then bam, that thing is solved. 04:17 PR: So what should these support tickets have? Well, they should be related to the contact that we just talked about. And then also, they should have a unique number. That way, if someone\'s looking it up later on, that there\'s not like five tickets that all say, \"Broken remote.\" If there is, you might wanna check your remotes, by the way. [chuckle] But these tickets should have unique numbers. That way, someone just looks at that number and goes, \"Okay, guy, I know what this is.\" The tickets should have a priority, we talked about this, the ticket should have a due date. And then I think you\'re golden. 04:46 PR: And then some companies maybe have stages for their tickets. For a lot of companies, maybe the ticket being open and closed is good enough. And rather than closed, we like the term solved, that sounds better. You can close their ticket. You close their ticket, what did you do? You don\'t close that thing, you solve that thing. And then some people have a middle stage, which is like pending or it just means you\'re waiting on something else. And maybe there\'s a way for you to put even your own custom stages in there. But I\'m here to say that the more stages you put in your ticket, the less likely it is to get solved. Does it have to be bumped up to Level 2 support, Level 3 support, Level 4 support? I guess, maybe, if that\'s the way your company solves things that\'s great, but I think to the customers, there\'s only two stages, \"It\'s open,\" and, \"It\'s solved.\" That\'s it. 05:31 AS: Yeah, it\'s kind of like your support is on a compound board. Sounds like that\'s what you\'re talking about. 05:35 PR: There you go. Yeah, it is. Yeah, it is. The more places you have for that ticket to go besides solved, it\'s human nature that they\'re gonna end up in those places. Someone\'s gonna say, \"Oh, okay, I gotta put it in a category. I can\'t solve this right now, so I\'m gonna put it right here.\" It should be painful that that ticket is open, for everyone in your company, especially the person that\'s assigned to it, and then it should be solved as quickly as possible. 05:56 AS: Definitely. And a good point of why Paul\'s the one giving the expert advice and not me is, as he\'s explaining, it shouldn\'t be a case. Case doesn\'t sound like a thing you wanna be involved in. Me, who has binged countless Law and Order marathons, is like, \"Yup, give me all the cases, I want the cases.\" [laughter] But that\'s just nonsense in... 06:17 PR: It is. 06:17 AS: My TV-addled brain. So that\'s why Paul\'s in charge of the knowing things. 06:21 PR: Can you imagine, \"Hey, can you go to lunch right now?\" \"Ah, I can\'t. I\'ve got five open cases.\" Well, you\'re not gonna eat this month, are you? [laughter] [vocalization] 06:32 PR: Is that the... [laughter] [vocalization] 06:33 PR: Is that the CS-whatever music, or... 06:34 AS: Law and Order. 06:35 PR: Law and Order. 06:35 AS: [06:35] ____ OG Law and Order. But before we devolve into that tangent, we\'ll say goodbye for today and we\'ll catch you guys next time.


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The Sales Side of CRM

The Sales Side of CRM

CRM • August 2, 2018

In this episode, we discuss the sales aspect of CRM. We cover tracking opportunities and the way it\'s done with CRM. 00:22 Andy Shore: Welcome back everybody to Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. And we\'re gonna continue our deep dive into all things CRM and we\'ve talked about a ton of stuff so far and had our tangents here and there, but we have mentioned there is a sales side of CRM and it might not be the primary use for your business, but it does exist, and with sales comes transactions, right? 00:47 Paul Rijnders: Yeah, and there\'s gonna be CRMs that are going to be better suited to your type of business. So I think that whoever you\'re auditioning to be your CRM or whatever product you\'re looking at you should, where possible, where applicable, look for specialization. And so let me kind of unpack that a bit. The most traditional CRMs are gonna have kind of a process that goes like this. Okay, well, I\'ve got leads, so let me upload a list of leads and I\'ll have my people work \'em either on the phones or through email or through whatever means that is. At a certain point we\'re gonna qualify that lead and we\'re gonna say, \"Wow, that person really, I think we can sell them something. Let\'s create an opportunity for them.\" So you got this little button that says convert. You convert that lead to a contact, at the same time you create the opportunity. And so here\'s where that little line of distinction goes where you say, \"Well, is that opportunity gonna be with that contact or is it gonna be with that organization?\" 01:49 PR: Some CRMs are co-organizations accounts. For me the way I like to explain it, \"Well, who\'s paying for it? Does John work for Acme and is Acme actually paying for it and this product\'s for the benefit of Acme?\" Well, that opportunity that you\'re tracking, that should be with Acme. Or is it, Wendy that\'s buying this and Wendy\'s actually buying it for herself and the fact that she works for IBM is inconsequential because this is actually for Wendy\'s household. Well, then IBM is out of there, don\'t track it for IBM, \'cause they are not your customer. That opportunity should be with Wendy. That said, now you have this converted lead record that\'s a contact, and now you have this new record that\'s an opportunity and you\'re actually creating follow-up tasks on the opportunity, because you want to do everything you can to actually close that opportunity. If it\'s something you got to personally do for Cindy or whoever it is, Wendy or John, that has nothing to do with the sales you\'re trying to close, then you can make that task and relate it to them, right? And this might sound complicated, but it\'s just this, it\'s when you create that task, what does this relate to? 02:57 PR: Well, this relates to Wendy, or this relates to to this opportunity. That way down the line, when you\'re looking at the tasks that you gotta do for the day, you may not be looking at a task of 100 of \'em, you can start doing your accomplishments for the day and you know to what that relates to. So that said, that transaction now becomes this opportunity you\'re trying to close. Well, these are for big-ticket items. I think that if you\'re selling something big, like you\'re selling helicopters at the Catalina Mixer that yes, you really wanna have an opportunity because you\'re trying to close something that someone\'s spending $1,000, $2,000, $10,000 on, right? Or even if you\'re a music shop, and you\'re selling $400 or $500 items, these are opportunities and you wanna kind of track those. Or you\'re selling a contract or subscription, those are opportunities. You\'re selling a house. What if you\'re a food truck or you\'re an ice cream shop or you\'re a flower shop? I don\'t think that you wanna have an opportunity open for every single bouquet of roses that you\'re trying to close, although you might. Some of them are expensive, I bought those edible arrangements, and those could be like 100 bucks. 04:02 AS: Wow. 04:03 PR: For fruits! For fruits. But they\'re good. [chuckle] Whoever you\'re sending to, they feel a little special because someone cut all the little watermelon and tangerines in these little stars and stuff. So I\'m going on record and saying, edible arrangements, probably those are opportunities. [chuckle] \'Cause you might... You\'re gonna take a couple of tasks to close me on buying [chuckle] another one of those things. 04:23 AS: I just had a flashback to my grandparents telling me about traveling somewhere in Asia and trying to get a melon and it being so expensive, \'cause that\'s not where they\'re growing so they\'re having it sent there. And them being like, \"Oh, this is something we get for a couple bucks at home.\" And it\'s just like $50 at this place. 04:41 PR: Somewhere in the cloud is an open... 04:44 AS: This is like where edible arrangements were born. [chuckle] 04:45 PR: Maybe. But somewhere in the cloud somewhere, is an open opportunity that says, \"Melon.\" [chuckle] And someone is trying to close that deal \'cause it\'s so expensive. Okay, so anyway, sorry about that. So I was trying to say that CRMs are specialized, I guess, for different kinds of businesses. So that traditional business model, if you\'re selling something big, I\'m gonna say that most CRMs off the shelf are going to be good for that, because that\'s the traditional kind of model a lot of them follow. But data\'s getting smarter, how data gets to you is getting a lot easier and if you\'re selling things on an online shop then you\'re probably gonna look for a CRM that\'s got... It\'s a bit more hooked in with e-commerce APIs. The API is kind of a scary term, but basically it makes it so that one program can talk to another, I guess, right? Or one application can talk to another without any kind of... And they could be written in two different kind of languages, so to speak, computer languages. That said, if you... It\'s getting a lot easier and some CRMs do this even if you don\'t have any kind of development experience, you can just say, \"Okay, well, I\'m using CRM X and CRM X says I can bring it on all my transactions from Shopify, Etsy or whatever.\" 06:02 PR: And then now you\'re not necessarily looking to track these opportunities you\'re trying to close, maybe you just wanna see all the things someone has bought and you wanna bring that in so that you can sell them more of that. And then maybe your whole business model\'s not calling them up on the phone, it\'s they go to your shopping cart, they buy something or they go to your shopping cart or your website, go to shopping cart and abandon it. You kick off an email that says, \"Hey, you know what, you left something in your cart.\" Right? Or maybe they didn\'t even get to the cart, maybe they just visited this URL and this URL, so you know, \"Oh, wow. So that person is very interested in ceramic mugs.\" So then you start sending out the emails for the ceramic mugs and as they purchase those, you open up the record the next time, and you see those purchases because all that comes in from API, and I\'ll close it out and say this, what you really don\'t wanna get in a habit of doing is, say, looking at one program, because we see lots of customers that do this, that they\'ll look in one program and they\'ll say, \"Oh, that person bought this, this and that.\" And then they\'ll go in the CRM and they\'ll type in that the person bought this, this, and that. 07:00 PR: Does that work? Yes. Does it scale well? No. Well, if your program that you\'re using or your CRM that you\'re using, can interface with whatever it is that you\'re tracking your sales through, that information should come in and it shouldn\'t be even stored at your CRM, it should be pulling in live. You open up that customer, a little call goes out to wherever that information is housed, whatever your e-commerce retailer is, and now that pings back, \"Oh, these are the five or six things they bought.\" So, you get up-to-date accurate information and you don\'t have data that\'s redundantly stored in a number of places. And that allows you to be actionable and if you can trigger certain automations based on those actions, where you can create views of customers that meet certain criteria based on what those transactions were, all the better. So I\'ll close this out by saying that if you were an e-commerce-type seller and you\'re not doing a lot of face-to-face selling or you\'re not even doing hot calls, [chuckle] cold calls, medium calls and everything is solely based on transactions, then you really want a CRM that\'s really hooked in with your e-commerce site and allows you to do these transactional types of follow-ups. 08:08 AS: Yeah, for those of you that don\'t know, Paul\'s saying, I\'m gonna close this out twice as he\'s trying to close it out as peak Paul, [chuckle] I say. 08:16 PR: That is a perfect example. 08:19 AS: And for listeners, that user-facing side of what he was just talking about, is think about if you\'ve ever been on Amazon and you look at a product and even if you don\'t put in your cart, you better believe you\'re gonna get follow-up emails like, \"Hey, still interested in this?\" Or, \"The price just dropped,\" or whatever that is, that\'s just their CRM, tracking where their users are on the page and following up to make that sale. And so I think that\'s all Paul was talking about. 08:43 PR: So now I can\'t close out \'cause I gotta tell you the story about my dad and the first time we had GPS installed. 08:48 AS: Go for it. 08:49 PR: Okay, so, I guess, like a decade ago, I got this 4x4 type thing and I put GPS in there. My dad and I followed this car club out and we went to a four [09:00] ____ over in kinda like the hills over there by the border of California and Mexico. And my dad was kind of marveling at the GPS and it showed where we were at, and he\'s like, \"How is this working?\" And I said, \"Well, it just kind of triangulates based, I think.\" I guess I was explaining the way I understood it, which wasn\'t very well, but... Or very good. But I did know that it was automatic and it was based on satellites and that they were finding your position based on that, right? Or not they, it. But my dad was hung up on they. [chuckle] He\'s like, \"Well, how does it know where you\'re at?\" And I\'m like, \"Well, you know the satellites and this or that, it\'s detecting.\" And he\'s like, \"No, there\'s gotta be a guy up there.\" [chuckle] 09:38 PR: And I\'m like, \"Wait, wait. There\'s no guy up there.\" And he\'s like, \"No, [chuckle] there\'s gotta be a guy.\" And I was trying to explain there\'s no guy up there that\'s doing it and he\'s like, \"No, this is too accurate.\" And then I was like, \"Well, Dad, I bought this thing for $100. There\'s no way that my $100 purchase gets me a guy up there [laughter] dedicated to telling me where this is at all times.\" So to hook this back to the Amazon thing, right? I bet there\'s a few listeners out there, hopefully, most people are more sophisticated than that, right, that thinks that you need to have a person that\'s going to kinda look at what that person puts into that shopping cart and say, \"Oh, wow. Okay, they need this email. Okay, fire,\" and they send it off. There\'s no guy, there\'s no girl up there. Those are all this automations based on things that happen within the app itself. 10:25 AS: Yeah, but everyone thinks they\'re on their own stage, they\'re in their own movie and they have that dedicated person to shine the spotlight on them, right? That\'s what that is. 10:34 PR: I wish I had that person. [chuckle] And this is before Siri, right? I can imagine how much worse it would have been if there was a Siri or a Hey, Google. \"But I hear her voice.\" [laughter] Anyway, I love you, Dad. 10:45 AS: And for you, Siri users, check out of the Heart of Business episode with Susan Bennett, the voice of Siri. She\'s a hoot. I really enjoy talking to her, it\'s one of our best episode. 10:55 PR: She\'s the woman up there. 10:57 AS: She is, maybe, but we\'re way over our time for this episode. So, thanks everyone for listening and we\'ll catch you next time. Bye-bye.


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CRM Interactions and Touchpoints

CRM Interactions and Touchpoints

CRM • August 1, 2018

We discuss who in your company can and should be using CRM and the touchpoints with your customers and prospects where they might be interacting with your CRM or you may be collecting data for it. These two points are important for gaining an understanding of how CRM plays into your workflows. Check it out! 00:22 Andy Shore: Welcome back everybody to another episode of \"Clues for the clueless CRM Marketer\", and today, we\'re gonna continue kinda getting into CRM and how you interact with it and who interacts with it and on that note, we kinda wanted to talk through the different interactions, and touch points where a CRM comes into play both from the customer\'s side, and of the employees side I think and so where does that start it? I mean, like let\'s say from the workforce side, who all is using that CRM in the company and how are they doing that? 00:55 Paul Rijnders: Got it, okay. So there\'s what the workforce is doing and what the CRM calls those things, right? So there is a little bit of an adoption and it\'s not a heavy curvy... So you just gotta know where to put it, because as we talked about in our last few episodes, you could just make everything a note. But now some insufferable person gotta go through all those notes and pull out all those touch points, right? Or, you have some kind of program that does that or maybe the thing actually does it for you. It pulls out those important words that you\'re looking for. Better yet, why doesn\'t everyone in the company decide that what they\'re doing is all activities centered around this client? So what these activities are, at least in our CRM, is their tasks or events or calls. So, is your company making outbound calls to your customers or are the inbound calls? 01:47 PR: Well those be noted as a particular record type? And the reason that\'s very helpful is if you note that call, as an activity and for us they\'re all the same kind of record activities call center task but now, someone can, later on, say, \"Okay, how many calls did we make today? How many calls came in today? What was the outcome of that call? How many minutes did we spend on that call?\" And you could do the same thing for events, which is basically like a meeting. So if you\'re gonna have lunch with somebody or you\'re doing a demo, something that has a beginning time and an end-time, that\'s probably more of an event-type activity. The final thing is task which is everything else. It might be the thing you\'re doing, mostly. So, are you sending something to the client? Are you doing something on behalf of the client? If that particular task resulted in some kind of action for the client, the client\'s aware of, or that the client responded to you, or that you talked to the client, then that very well could be a task, but if you\'ve put in those three buckets, then those could be measurable. 02:52 PR: It does matter what CRM we use. Maybe we have a CRM that only has tasks, and tasks is all of those things. But the point is, that since a CRM is a relational database, it\'s great to be able to pull report later on and say, \"Okay well, the contacts that are related to the companies and the activities are either related to the contacts or they are related directly to the companies.\" Let me see if I can do report and say \"What activities that I do for what companies? What companies did I do the most activities for? What activities did I do that resulted in the most sales?\" So when you say touch points, yes, they are interactions. Even a support ticket, I guess, you could consider a touch point, right? But the end point of getting all that information into a structured kind of record which is one of those that we just talked about, is that somebody, somewhere down the line, even if it\'s you and you\'re a whole one person show, you can say, \"Oh wow, this is how I spent my time. And these were the results.\" 03:51 AS: You can even get that several thousand high view whatever, totally vouching what that says... [chuckle] 04:00 PR: 30,000-foot view maybe, I don\'t know. 04:02 AS: That is what I was going for but just as I was trying to say it my mind was just like, \"Nope, we got nothing to say right now, sorry.\" There is no recall there when I went to reach for it, but it makes sense that, it\'s really like anyone from the CEO down to sales support, marketing people, those guys you got in your trenches, that are using that CRM for all the different reasons and kind of touch points that you might have with a customer. 04:29 PR: Yeah, because what happens when you don\'t have this, you have a bunch of sales people and support people that are kinda just doing things on their own, solving their problems because they need something to solve their problem, they\'re not like gonna... You\'ve done due diligence, you\'ve hired quality people, but maybe people are writing down these things in notepads or maybe they\'re tracking this all on a spreadsheet. What if you got four or five spreadsheets in several places? What if you don\'t have the spreadsheet in a cloud, like a Google spreadsheet, which is maybe a better way to go on that, but how is all that information shared? How is that actionable? How is it measured? How are you measuring those results? So, it needs to be in that simple spot. 05:06 AS: And you mentioned that it\'s even things like scheduling lunch meetings or those sorts of things that you never think like, \"Oh, my lunch for today, that goes in the CRM, but... \" 05:15 PR: Yeah. 05:15 AS: What are some other of those touch points that someone might not expect, is really a CRM task or activity? 05:23 PRAS: Oh, got it, yeah. Well, some of the more innocuous type things and I guess it\'s gonna be specific to your business, I think that\'s the most important thing. You never want to record things just for the sake of recording them, but I would say anything that you do that involves the customer, that is a pathway to them either buying more stuff or just keeping them as a customer. For instance, a lot of our businesses don\'t have something where they sell every day, they sell a subscription, right? Maybe, what if you\'re a health club... The health club. Yeah, it\'s great to do add-ons, your main goal with the health club is so that that person, when they see their monthly bill, that they don\'t say, \"Well, I only worked out twice this year, maybe I should cancel it.\" Right? You want to retain that customer. 06:12 PR: So what are you doing to make that customer feel loved, right? Are you sending out email marketing to that customer? Guess what? What if that customer is only not coming to your gym, but they are getting your monthly newsletter, your weekly newsletter about eating healthy, or things they can do at home, meditating, etc. This is getting kinda out there, but if that customer sees value in that, then guess what? Those email marketing pieces are a touch point. If your email once every month, week, just say, \"Hey, I\'m checking out on you. Just want to make that everything\'s okay.\" If they respond to that and you can see that they opened it, then that would be a touch point. So how do you know that that little personal email that you sent is a touch point? 06:57 PR: Well, with your email you can do some tracking and you can see whether that\'s been opened or not. And if it\'s been opened, then you can say, \"Well at least that person clicked on that and they\'re engaging with it.\" Did they do a click? That\'s even better. They clicked on my link, that\'s an engagement too. So back to your question, maybe things do transcend that, I saw that person face-to-face, or I did a call for X-amount of minutes, or I did task X, Y, and Z. 07:23 AS: Yeah. Where that opens thing falls short, is if you\'re a person like me who is so neurotic that you have to zero-out your inbox all the time, so there\'s no push notifications looking at you. So I open everything, but I look at 10% of it. I\'m the one skewing the data, I guess, is what I\'m trying to say. I\'m sorry to all the marketers out there. 07:46 PR: That\'s okay. Then it goes to the next level, right? So as a CRM marketer, what you should be looking at is not just your opens rate, because if your opens rates... If you can\'t see a correlation between awesome open rates and an uptick in sales, then there\'s a disconnect there. So then you go next level, and you say, \"All right, well, you know what? Maybe they\'re interacting if they\'re actually clicking on this stuff, right?\" Now you got quality interactions. Oh sorry, go ahead. 08:17 AS: Now, it\'s just \'cause... See everybody. Paul just took my throwaway joke and turned it into another teachable moment. 08:22 PR: That\'s what you get. 08:23 AS: That\'s why he\'s the perfect co-host... 08:25 PR: That\'s what you get with CRM soda. That has no context [08:30] ____ the five-minute episodes. I joked with Andy that we should rename the podcast CRM soda. 08:37 AS: Yeah. And we\'re still not gonna do it, but we will see you guys next time. Thanks for tuning in. Bye.


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What is CRM?

What is CRM?

CRM • July 31, 2018

In the first episode of Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer, we introduced the podcast and then went on a long tangent that confirmed what all of us here at Benchmark already knew: Paul can talk. Since we never even got to the first talking point in our outline last episode, we resume our conversation on \"What is CRM?\" 00:21 Andy Shore: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. We\'re gonna get back into it with what is CRM. Because Paul was so excited to talk here, and we didn\'t even get to the first talking point, we had plans, so we\'ll get into that today and make sure we\'re teaching you everything we have planned. 00:42 Paul Rijnders: Yeah, sometimes I get very excited and I\'m kind of just... You take off the lid and it\'s like someone had shaken a soda, CRM soda. [chuckle] 00:51 AS: Exactly. We tapped the can a little bit so it calmed down and... 00:56 PR: We should ought to rename the podcast to CRM soda \'cause I like that. [chuckle] It feels very effervescent. [chuckle] 01:04 AS: People are moving away from soda, it\'s all about the La Croix now, we\'re not gonna switch name, we\'re committed. 01:12 PR: Yeah, I think. Okay. 01:15 AS: But thanks, everyone, for tuning in and I hope you\'re finding this useful so far. We got a lot more great information for you, so we\'ll get into it. And we just touched on it a little bit, even though we didn\'t directly say it, but what you were saying in that customer-centric focus is, CRM\'s about building relationships. I mean, relationships are in the name. 01:35 PR: It definitely is, and that\'s the key there. The key is, is that you really want to get as much information as possible either at your computer or if you\'re at some place out in the field, does your CRM allow you to do this mobile-ly and can you type that in really quickly as a note or whatever? One thing that\'s nice in our CRM is we\'ve got this feature, if you\'re in Chrome, where you just click Record, and then that\'ll record the note, and you can just talk. And that\'s really convenient. I like to use that a lot myself, \'cause sometimes it just gets hard typing, right? So anyway, the idea is, is that is that you just wanna get as much information as possible so that you can know that customer the next time you talk to them, however that is. 02:21 AS: I just had the thought of, you know those people who walk around with voice recorders they\'re leaving themselves memos to plan for their memoir at some point or whatever it may be, either like whether it\'s a grandparent or something like setting in the benchmark CRM and being like, \"Here\'s this cool feature where you can leave yourselves notes,\" and I was just tracking just like all the inner thoughts of this person. I don\'t know, I think that\'d be really funny. Probably inconsequential to what we\'re talking about, but amusing to me nonetheless. You\'re talking about you can access anywhere to get that information. And I think, thinking about it in the context of our company, we use CRM and we\'re also a worldwide company, we have offices across the globe. 03:08 AS: And one of the advantages of that is our 24-hour support doesn\'t all have to be out of our US headquarters because then they can just do it on their time zones and lets us have 24/7 support. And thinking about how you\'re saying that anyone could access it, it goes into this database that if you can do that and have one central place or a worldwide workforce to work together and store all that information and be able to... It\'s consistency. It\'s like when you go to a chain restaurant, and you know that one dish you like is gonna be the same anywhere you get it across the world because that\'s how it\'s set up. 03:46 PR: Yeah, it\'s really important that all your team is not only strong, but they\'re all rowing in the same direction, right? I mean, can you imagine if you had five people on a boat and they\'re all rowing five different ways, you wouldn\'t get anywhere very fast. 04:00 AS: Yeah, it works good for comedies and cartoons but probably not business. 04:04 PR: Not business, right? So that means that if you got three or four people that are interacting with that person, they should have a common place where they look at and they say, \"Okay, cool, these are my touch points. These are the interactions that I had with this customer. This is what\'s important to this customer.\" Now, there\'s a couple ways to think about doing it. If you just pull out all your information and you just dump it into notes everywhere, sure, there\'s ways to extract all that, but that\'s on a little bit higher order, but it\'s possible. But you probably should have at least a little bit of discipline. Maybe you as a team should decide, \"Okay, what\'s important and what\'s not important?\" That way, when you talk to your customers, you kind of decide as a team what we wanna put down there. 04:49 PR: And by the way, there\'s a few ways of doing that. There\'s, you can put down that data in fields that you make ahead of time, like what\'s their favorite soda or what\'s their favorite non-soda beverage. Or you could do it by the way of notes, what we\'ve just talked about or you can even do a tag. And tags are nice because those are things you just put down that are maybe something that identifies that customer at that moment and it could be deleted, but you can sort by those things too, and then you kinda see patterns that come up with that. 05:18 AS: Yeah, I think tags is a good point, \'cause sometimes you may wanna run a specific campaign or something, it\'s like I wanna talk to all customers who like this or use this product or some sort of thing that lets you just sort it out. From the email marketing side, that\'s segmentation, that\'s what makes sense to me. I think I\'m gonna keep finding my way into CRM, understanding through the lens of email marketing. 05:47 PR: It\'s interesting how you bring that up too, because there\'s what the marketer needs, right? And there\'s what the sales person is facing the customer can get. For many of our customers, they might be the same person, and that\'s a tough spot to be in anyway. And there\'s a lot of work for that person. If you are lucky enough to have a team where at least one person is front-facing your customers, and then you have someone else actually doing the marketing, the marketer is gonna be like, \"Okay, well, you know what? This is important to me. I need these five questions answered, that way I can set up something very targeted and very specific. And bam! Everything is just gonna be so perfect.\" Well, guess what? It\'s not perfect for that person facing the customer. 06:27 PR: If a customer walks in, you know they\'re out in the field with their phone, the CRM\'s open on their phone, they\'re not gonna say, \"Hey, you know what? Before we get started, Bob; before we get started, Cindy, I gotta answer this question.\" Right? And so, are they gonna read off five questions? That person, that customer\'s gonna feel like they\'ve been completely, just either have been sold to or that they\'re just some kind of piece of meat and their best need isn\'t addressed. Or maybe the person is just talking to the customer naturally, and then they\'re saying, \"Hey, wait, hold on. You said this? Okay, I gotta find that. Okay, that must be field number 21. Okay, I gotta get that. Okay, go on.\" You know? 07:02 PR: So this is where tags can help out. So what you could do is that you can mentally just jot these four or five things down, just note them, or just write them down on a pad of paper. Or even if you\'re at your computer, you just type that message. If that tag already came up before, it\'ll automatically suggest that, then you just hit Enter and go, \"Oh, yeah, that\'s the one.\" And it\'s all a very natural process. You get those four or five bits of information, and now they\'re in there, the conversation could go on, and you don\'t have to stop to say, \"Hey, you know what? Let me fill out this form.\" 07:30 AS: Yeah. That makes sense. That\'s how you foster that relationship and build those relationships is knowing the way to sort and organize it so that you\'re not harming that relationship. But I wanna thank everyone for tuning in. I think we\'ve exhausted our time for today, and before we get caught on another tangent, we\'ll say goodbye and we\'ll catch you next time. Bye, everybody.


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Introducing Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer

Introducing Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer

CRM • July 27, 2018

Welcome to Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer! Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a must for a business of any size. There\'s also no one right way to do CRM. In this podcast, we\'re here for the Clueless CRM Marketer, which all of us were at one point (or still are). With each daily mini-episode (minisode), we\'ll aim to clue you in a bit more on CRM. 00:20 Andy Shore: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the first ever episode of Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. It\'s going to be daily mini-sodes, Monday through Friday, and we\'re gonna get to the bottom of what is CRM? How can you use CRM? How can you manage your contacts with it and keep track of all your tasks? All that good stuff, in this subject, unlike the email version, I\'m much more of a novice, but that\'s why I have my co-host here with me, Paul Rijnders. 00:54 Paul Rijnders: Hello. 00:55 AS: Who is our director of product development for the CRM tool. I\'ll let him say hi in a second, but I just want to encourage everybody, check out the Heart of Business episode with Paul. We really get into the whole background on development of Benchmark CRM. It\'s an awesome listen, it talks a little more about CRM too, but that\'s what this podcast is for is really to get into the nitty-gritty of CRM. How you doing today, Paul? 01:17 PR: I am doing fabulous, and you? 01:19 AS: I\'m great. I\'m great. I\'m excited to do this. 01:21 PR: I am too. 01:22 AS: I think it\'s gonna be really good. I figure like we were talking before we started recording, it\'s gonna be a new dynamic Dana and I have been hosting podcasts for a while. So, we\'re excited to get you into the mix and podding with the rest of us. 01:35 PR: And now I\'m excited because I get to listen to Abba at least once per day, because that\'s what I\'m listening to, to kinda cleanse my mind before the podcast starts. 01:43 AS: Yeah, I don\'t think we have the budget to secure the rights for Dancing Queen, but that was our pre-show music, for all of you wondering what Paul was just talking about. So, maybe just before our intro music kicks in you can... Next time you listen to the next episode get that in your head to really set the mood and feel like you\'re in the room here with Paul and I. 02:03 PR: Yeah, we\'re not gonna play you the song, we\'re just gonna tell you what song it was. You\'re on your own, but YouTube and Spotify are close at hand. [laughter] 02:12 AS: Oh, that is like the worst version of a game show. [laughter] We\'re gonna talk about a song to you, and you have to guess what that song is. 02:19 PR: Yeah. No worse than talking about a movie, I guess. I guess that would be worse. 02:25 AS: That\'s funny. So, we\'re gonna start off with really the most basic question there is, and that\'s what is CRM? 02:32 PR: Awesome. Okay, well, CRM is customer relationship management. But it isn\'t so much what the thing is, it\'s what you do. And what I mean by that is, what you\'re trying to get to with CRM is you\'re trying to get to a better understanding of your customer. So, are you trying to sell more? Are you trying to market, so that you can sell more? Are you trying to provide a better experience for your customer, every time they come in to contact with you? All of those things can be solved with CRM. So, maybe the old model of business might be, well, the customer walks in and let\'s see what we can learn about them real quick and what their need is, immediately, so that we can sell them something. But these days, the tools that we have at hand are a lot more proactive and a lot more targeted. So, what you want to do is, you want to be able to assemble as much on your customer as you possibly can. That doesn\'t mean you want to compile a big old dossier or a spy brief on every single customer. It just means that when your customer... 03:35 PR: And by the way, let\'s be really clear about this here now that this has kind of come up, because the whole kind of ickiness of wow, do I have too much data on my customer or does this company have too much data on me? That definitely comes up and I guess you could go crazy and some companies already do it for you, and they\'re pretty big where they\'ve got profiles of a lot of people that are out there, that\'s not what we\'re trying to do with CRM. What we\'re trying to do is, we want you to be able to say, \"Hey, customer, I know you, I know what you want out of my business.\" So, what are you trying to record? Are you try to record all the incidental things in their life? No, you\'re trying to notate their needs, when they come to you. So, what is that? Well, there\'s the structured data that we talked about, I guess, in that opening intro, way back when. And that might be things like, okay, well, who do they work for, and what is their job title? Why is that significant? Well, if you\'re doing a one-to-one kind of conversation with your customer, it helps to know that person was the Human Resources Manager or helps to know that that person is the lead of this particular department. 04:44 PR: Or if you do mass emailing, like we do with our Benchmark email product, which by the way is integrated very finely with Benchmark CRM, that you might say, \"Okay, well, you know what, it\'s time to drum up some business because we just came out with this awesome product,\" or we have this great deal on this product and guess what? All the people who manage automotive shops, they probably wanna know this. Okay, CRM, tell me who are all the people that own automotive shops? And then, bam, here that is, comes up. Hey, let\'s push an email list over to Benchmark email and send out this great piece that tells them why they need this product. So, that\'s the structure kind of data, right? But then also there\'s all the times that you talk to your customer that becomes important. So, let\'s say that you had an interaction with your customer either on the phone or by email or maybe even in person. As soon as you can, you should probably get in there and notate the stuff that\'s important. So, for instance, did your customer have a problem, well, that should be a support ticket. And that support ticket should have all the data in that ticket so that if that gets handed off to somebody else, they know exactly what to do and how to take that up. Or is that a follow-up task, where your customer says, \"Hey, you know what, I need you to send me that price quote,\" okay, well, you need to make a to do. 06:00 PR: So, you put that in the CRM, and now that\'s attached to your customer record, so to speak. So, the next person that picks that customer\'s file up says, \"Oh, wow, okay, cool. You know what? This person had a problem with this and we solved it, and they had a problem with this and it\'s still ongoing. So, before I even talk to them, I\'m gonna make sure that\'s done. Oh, and by the way, we\'re supposed to send out a price quote, that\'s gonna be sent out tomorrow. You know what? Since I already see that that\'s a to-do, and I\'m gonna talk to that person today, why don\'t I just be proactive and send that to them ahead of time.\" 06:28 AS: Yeah, that all makes sense and kind of gives me a little more understanding of what goes into what a CRM is. And one thing I can connect to, that you were talking about, is just understanding who your customer is and as a member of the marketing team, customer-centric marketing is the most important thing. It\'s not trying to sell, that\'ll happen when you\'re understanding your customers and delivering what they need and just hearing what you\'re saying, and that was a very good description, was just kind of helping me see that it\'s just a tool that\'s gonna help you do better customer-centric marketing, interactions, communication because you\'re doing it for them to provide value. You\'re solving problems for your customer. Selling is the by-product, and sure, it\'s what you\'re in the business for ultimately. Everyone wants to make money, but solving problems for people and delivering your goods and service or whatever that is, and doing it in a way that is focused on their needs is the way you\'re gonna succeed in business. 07:33 PR: Yeah, definitely. For instance, if your customer has... Let\'s say your customer has a dog and a cat. You have a pet store. Well, it\'d be helpful to know the name of that dog and cat. Next time they come in, \"Hey, how is Sparky doing?\", or \"How is Roscoe doing?\" [chuckle] That\'s a great name for a cat, by the way, Roscoe. But it helps to establish that personal touch. Or there might be more important information like, \"Hey, this dog\'s got an allergy to this thing,\" so that someone doesn\'t accidentally sell the wrong dog food to that person when they call in. Every business is unique, and every business has their own unique challenges, but it\'s all... Obviously, I think the most overriding concern is, is the data that you\'re collecting about your customer is not icky if it\'s data that\'s helping them out, in a way that you\'re giving them better service, better products, and you\'re not making mistakes with them. Customers demand that you know them. And if you don\'t know them when they walk in your store, they\'re gonna go to the next place that does know them because they\'re gonna feel more comfortable because they\'re gonna get better service. 08:37 AS: Definitely. That all makes perfect sense to me. I think we\'re gonna wrap up this first episode. Thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Catch us tomorrow when our next episode goes live and we\'ll continue digging into what is CRM, how do you use it, where do you use it, who in your company should be using it. We\'re gonna answer all those questions as we continue. So, thanks again for listening, and we\'ll catch you next time.


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Infographic: Why Adopt CRM

Infographic: Why Adopt CRM

CRM • July 23, 2018

There are many advantages to using CRM. CRM is the best solution to manage the contacts in your list. It’s also the most efficient way to track the interactions with your customers and leads to foster stronger relationships. The numbers in favor of using a CRM are getting harder and harder to ignore. In fact, by the end of 2017, the revenues from CRM were the largest of all software markets. That number is expected to reach $40 billion in 2018. No wonder it’s the fastest growing software market! A look back 10 years will show that a mere 12% of businesses were using a cloud-based CRM. Traveling back to the present day sees 87% usage rates. If your business has more than 10 employees, and you’re not already using CRM, you’re about to get some serious FOMO. That’s because 91% of companies with 10 or more employees have a CRM. While that is a very impressive number, just because businesses have a CRM doesn’t mean they’re actually using them. 22% of salespeople don’t even know what a CRM is and fewer than 40% of businesses have a CRM Adoption Rate greater than 90%. However, the majority of companies who have put CRM to use see it’s benefits. 64.2% say that CRM has been either impactful or very impactful for their businesses. The need for CRM is real. In 2017, 70% of business leads failed to make it to conversion without the use of CRM. Here are some more impressive stats: 50% of teams saw productivity increase 5% rise in sales productivity 10% reduction in consultation time 2% revenue growth 40% reduced labor costs on Customer Service 20% reduction in overall labor costs A whopping $75,000 saved on marketing budgets If you haven’t already, signup free for Benchmark CRM.


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How To Eliminate Old CRM Data That Will Put You In Danger

How To Eliminate Old CRM Data That Will Put You In Danger

CRM • June 4, 2018

Maintaining relationships with your customers is an essential part of your business. That is why you chose a CRM to log crucial data and learn more about your customer\'s needs. CRM’s can be very powerful tools to help you gain the upper hand with your marketing efforts, and lead to more sales. But, what happens over time when your CRM data becomes old? Think about it. You are not mailing every contact in your database warehouse every day. There are probably contact records in there you have not had a touch point with since 2015, so how do you know if these users are even still valid? Chances are you probably will have no idea until you attempt to send them an email or give them a call. Old data merely is just taking up space and not being valuable to you. Old data could end up landing you in hot water. Why Is Old CRM Data Dangerous? Hard Bounces: If you are doing any email marketing to your database you are going to run into hard bounces. Bouncing occurs when the email accounts no longer exist, or perhaps the data you initially collected was never valid. Hard bounces may not seem like such a big deal but can lead to deliverability problems or cause you to get suspended from your mailing platform. You want to aim for a hard bounce rate of 5% or less. Soft Bounces: A soft bounce is when you send off an email, and it gets bounced back. They are not as dangerous as a hard bounce, but they are essential to remove from your list. Soft bounces typically occur when a user’s mailbox is full. This is an initial indication that the user has not been checking their inbox or using that email account. Blacklisting and Blocks: Once you start sending emails and getting hard bounces, this could lead to blacklisting. If the email server sees you are mailing to multiple users that are hard bouncing that server might consider you as a spammer. If the server thinks you are spamming you will become blocked. Once you are blacklisted, it\'s going to impact the success of your email campaign significantly. Here is what you can do if you become blacklisted. It’s also important to monitor your IPs for blacklisting’s as it is important to not send off any campaigns while listed. Unengaged Users: Unengaged users, are the accounts in your database that have not been opening or clicking emails that you send. This may not sound like such a big deal, but it can cause a lot of damage. Unengaged users will eventually turn into spam complaints against you. Or, they might have abandoned their email account and will sooner or later turn into hard bounces. Poor Deliverability: As we just discussed both hard bounces and black-listings will lead to poor deliverability. ISPs want to see that users are engaging with your mail, not marking it as spam. Whenever you send emails to outdated information, you are damaging your sender score and hurting your own performance. Therefore, you are encouraged to regularly sift through your data and remove contact data which is no longer being used. Spam Traps: Spam traps are a way ISPs attempt to combat spammers. They are email addresses that have been set up and designed to be a trap. Spam traps are not owned by users, but instead by ISPs. They can identify spammers because that email address should never receive any emails since it never officially opt-ed into anything. Therefore, if it starts getting messages, it knows that you must have purchased data or scraped data from the web.  The last thing you want for your business is to be labeled as a spammer. How Can You Identify Which Contacts Are Not Valuable? To keep your CRM in tip-top shape, you are going to want to go in and delete contact data of email addresses that have previously bounced. If you know of companies who have been in your database that have gone out of business, make sure you remove them. This way you don’t accidentally send them an email which creates extra hard bounces for you. The idea is to eliminate as many poor-quality data points as possible before you send out your next digital campaign. Manually Identify and Unsubscribe Contacts Another method of removing inactive contacts is to analyze your email campaign history. Look at email addresses that have not been engaging for months. Find users who have no opened ANY of your last ten emails sent. Once you have identified those recipients, unsubscribe them from your list. Downsizing your list can be a battle, but once you do you will see astonishing results. Your open rates will improve because you are sending emails only to engaged subscribers. This means your sender score will gradually improve and you will get better rates of inbox placement because a more significant percentage of your users are actually reading your message. ISPs like to see that their users have an interest in what you send. 

Learn how Hubspot benefited from unsubscribing over 250k contacts. Using An Email Verification Service You can also skip the manual work and use an email verification tool like XVerify. If you are also using Benchmark for your email marketing, you can directly connect your account and pull in data from the lists you already have. The cleaning process will scan through your subscribers and identify which email addresses are invalid, or a risk. It’s even able to automatically update the lists you have with Benchmark making the process even more simplified. Email verification works by checking the username and making sure it is currently active and registered at the domain level. If the account is good, this will result in a valid email response. If the email account is old or the user has not logged into their account, then the account would likely yield an invalid answer. The email addresses that come back as invalid is what you want to remove from your CRM. Sometimes accounts are real and active but not safe to communicate with via email. As earlier we mentioned traps, those are not accounts you want to mail to. One pattern that could red flag an account as a trap is that the email account was once valid, then went inactive, then became active again. It’s not in all cases that it has turned into a trap but yes, a good reason to omit signups into your funnel with that behavior. Keep your data clean and pristine As a recommendation, it is a good idea to clean your lists every three months. Remember over time data does become obsolete. If your business is B2B, then remember that employees leave companies, or change positions causing the email ID to no longer be legit. Even if you are a B2C business, users still abandon their accounts. Scrubbing your data consistently is going to be the best method of remaining in good standing. Don’t get discouraged if you find a significant portion of your data is invalid. It’s quite common for this to happen. As you start taking a more detailed approach to evaluating your data quality, you will see how much your quality improves. Have you ever experienced problems with old data sitting in your CRM? We would love to hear about your unique experience. Feel free to comment on your situation and what you did to improve it.


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Spreadsheets Aren’t Efficient for Customer Relationship Management

CRM • April 17, 2018

Are you currently managing your business\'s contacts with spreadsheets? Maybe you\'re like one of my two friends here: Friend 1 is the spreadsheet hoarder Friend 1 feels like he\'s on top of his business because his whole day is spreadsheets. He has: One sheet for his contacts from his old store One for contacts in his new store He even has one sheet with still even more contacts because the old one got too long and was outdated! One sheet where he tracks big sales opportunities he\'s currently working One sheet for following up on the ones he won It works because he\'s used to it. But it\'s not very efficient and kind of messy if he takes on a partner. Friend 2 maintains multiple spreadsheets with the same information in slightly different formats I have another friend who has a spreadsheet of support cases he tracks for his company. He has what amounts to five bosses in a non-linear company. Guess what? They all want his spreadsheet at the end of the week with the columns and formats catered to their liking. So each Friday he copies this sheet several times, omitting some columns, reordering and filtering data for each boss and ends up sending out five spreadsheets. That\'s 5 x 52 spreadsheets of data that will never be reconciled at the end of the year. He\'s not even sure if everyone reads the data, but they want it made every week in their various preferences in case they need to look something up. What a colossal waste of my friend\'s time!!! Problem: Spreadsheets are often local to one computer and not updated frequently Both of these friends above might think they are working contacts, deals and support cases, but what they are really doing is collecting data and shifting it around.  Instead of having a relationship with their customers, they have a relationship with their spreadsheets. That data shouldn\'t live on one person\'s computer. That data needs to live in one place, a place that\'s easily accessed by any user who needs the data. Time to get the data online. If you\'re willing to give up the power of Excel for spreadsheets that live in a cloud application, like google sheets, then you can easily share your data. But as much as even we here at Benchmark love google sheets, it\'s not the best CRM for small business because it\'s not a CRM solution. It\'s a good spreadsheet solution. Problem: Spreadsheets - even online ones - don\'t relate information between sheets as efficiently as a CRM If you need information from two sheets, you either have to be very diligent at always linking cells between sheets (face it, who does this?) or you\'re constantly hunting for data in two unrelated sheets: scrolling, searching, hunting, pecking & wasting time. Solution: CRM is shareable online and your various records are related to each other The true power of the Benchmark CRM is that it’s a Relational Database. Rather than having a large spreadsheet of customers and infinitely adding columns for each sale and each problem, the important information is logically separated into different record types in different modules. The input of new information fast and easy. Also, since each module is related to another, it’s very fast to recall, via report or record, all the information that might be critical to support or the sale. Can your spreadsheet(s) do this? Open a contact and see all of his/her support tickets and email messages with your company. Look up an organization and see all their past and present sales opportunities. Follow up on a sales opportunity and see all of the email messages and replies related to the opportunity. Create to do tasks for a lunch event and easily see your contact’s information, including past and future planned activities. Get reminders by email and in your browser. Craft a report that shows all your open sales tickets based on criteria you set. See the related contacts and their contact information on the same row in the report as the ticket information. Create Custom Views with specific criteria that help you work on a small subset of your lead records. Filter out what you don\'t need to see. See the actionable information in a new table right on your lead dashboard. If you answered no to any of the above, but you wish it was yes, you\'re ready for online CRM software. If you need help getting started, start a free trial with the link below. Once your account is created, please feel free to click the help button in the header and we\'ll help you get started with your workflows. We\'re sincerely looking forward to it! Ready to Change Your World? Great. You can sign up for a 30-day Benchmark CRM free trial now. All the pro features are there and we\'ll guide you to the contact import page after you sign up. Want to see how to do it, from custom fields to preparing your CSV/XLS to uploading your contacts? Check out our spreadsheets importing workflow page. It\'ll show you really quick how easy it all is. Also, we can walk you through this and other CRM implementation tips with free group and personal CRM webinars. Get real coaching from the team that builds the CRM.


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Great News: Updates to Your CRM Email Editor

CRM • April 16, 2018

The team has been hard at work to improve the CRM\'s email editor and it\'s been upgraded for all users this past week. So what\'s new? Better formatting We feature the Froala Email Editor and we\'ve upgraded to the latest version. This makes for smoother editing and fewer surprises when copying in text from other sources. Note: if you\'re copying in text from another source for your emails, please be aware that copying in text from Word, Text or Notepad is much cleaner than copying from a webpage (and yes, Google Docs is a webpage). Text from the latter often contains html markup and may do funny things to your email. Thought the clear formatting button is supercharged and should do a much better job of clearing away formatting you don\'t want, try to remember to copy in the text without formatting (PC: control + shift + v, Mac: command + shift + v). Emoticons Yay! The new editor is stocked with emojis.  This might make you :) if you\'re the type that likes to use them. Or :( if you\'re against emojis. Special Characters Don\'t want to hunt for special characters on your keyboard or deep in your OS? Now you can find common math, punctuation and arrow symbols by clicking the new special character button. Colors The color palette is improved and you can name custom hex values for your favorite hues. Font Sizes In addition to the already existing paragraph controls (heading 1, heading 2, paragraph, etc.), it\'s now possible to pick a particular font size in your email text. Tables and Horizontal Lines Organize your information for your clients in simple rows and columns. Separate sections of your emails by dropping in a quick horizontal line. Code View The latest email editor gives a better experience for those of you that like to flip that code switch and hack your emails to your liking. You can do this anywhere the email editor is, but it\'s most useful in the email template editor so you can save your code. Note: We are beyond thrilled to give you the option to do this code customization (many Benchmark Email users do this in our email marketing product), but we always encourage you to test send these emails to yourself first, especially if you\'re going far off the grid. Need more controls? Let us know what options you\'d like to see in the next version of the email editor. Just email us at support@benchmarkcrm.com with your suggestions. Thanks!!


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