CRM, a system that many sales people (and quite a lot of marketers) saw as a 4-letter word, is not a big, scary monster any more. Today CRM is just that: a 3-letter word again. In this article, Trevor Van Rensburg, our Commercial Director, explains why we don’t have to be scared anymore by busting 10 common myths about CRM systems.
MYTH 1: CRMS ARE JUST FOR BIG COMPANIES
Back in the day when CRM platforms were first launched they were targeted at big companies to assist them in keeping a record of relevant client data, and ensuring it was accessible by multiple staff members.
That has changed a lot. Today, at Spitfire Inbound we have clients who are sole proprietors using the free HubSpot CRM and it’s working nicely for them. Yes, the entry level HubSpot CRM is free, and so are several great features like email templates, snippets and documents.
For example: five email templates are available free to small businesses. These templates include frequently used content like ‘please find your quote attached’, or ‘I was looking at your website and I wanted to get in touch’. The HubSpot CRM gives you access to these templates and it pre-populates this information with a personalisation token, so it includes your recipient’s name automatically.
You also get up to 5 free documents in a document library – so if you often send out company brochures or literature such as product overviews, instead of sending them as PDFs you can send them in your document library as trackable links. This means you will get an email alert when someone opens your document. It even tells you how long they were engaged with your content and alerts you every time they go back to that document.
MYTH 2: GETTING THE CRM UP AND RUNNING IS A TIME-CONSUMING, PAINFUL PROCESS
This might have been the case once upon a time but now we get our clients up and running in half a day. This means we get the platform set up and customised for you, and your users trained in less than five hours.
The intuitive user interface is very easy to understand and follow, and thanks to the administrative rights that we have access to, it’s very simple to change the settings behind the scenes as required.
It’s not complicated at all!
MYTH 3: USING A CRM MEANS DUPLICATING EFFORT
That’s not the case with the HubSpot CRM. Because it works the way you work, it actually guides what you’re doing. If anything, it’s a time-saver because it does a lot of what you need to do, in an automated way and it can even provide insights that help you become more rather than less productive.
For example: when you first send an email to a prospective client, because the CRM is integrated with your mailbox it creates a new contact if that contact isn’t already in your database. Then, based on the domain of that person – e.g. someone at Spitfireinbound.com – it finds as much publicly available information on that company as possible and pre-populates that information for you. It includes everything from the LinkedIn page, description of the company, their address, telephone number, approximately how many employees they have, their estimated annual revenue (if available), and so on. A lot of the information is from the company’s website and other publicly available sources that have referenced the company. All this information is then put directly into the system for you.
MYTH 4: THE CRM IS JUST THERE BECAUSE ‘BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU’
There’s a common misconception by salespeople that a CRM is put in place because senior management wants to keep tabs on what individuals are doing. They think it’s there to be a policeman in the background. While a CRM does give transparency to management, that’s not the point – it should be seen as a productivity tool for people who are at the coalface driving sales, rather than something to monitor what people are doing.
As a salesperson, if you’re using your CRM effectively you can monitor your own success as much, if not more than management. Suddenly you could find yourself being even more efficient – thanks to, not in spite of, your CRM! In turn, your team (the people working around you) are more productive because CRMs improve communication and keep everyone ‘in the know’. Everyone is in tune because all the information about your contacts, and each of the touch-point activities are stored as part of the CRM automatically.
MYTH 5: CRMS ARE EXPENSIVE
HubSpot uses a freemium model which adds functions and scales in price, as required. You can start with the free version which you can use forever. Some of our clients have never moved to a paid version because they don’t need the additional functionality. Be warned though, as soon as you start using this system you may want more. While it may make sense to pay for the additional features at some point, you don’t have to splash out money upfront to buy everything. You can add features when you need them.
You can also mix and match! Your power users can pay for the professional version and team members who only need the limited functionality that comes in the free version can use that too. The great thing is that you can still interact with each other without having to upgrade the whole system.
There’s a solution for everyone. At Enterprise level, far more functionality is available. Or you can use the full HubSpot Growth Suite to extract maximum value from the HubSpot sales, marketing and service hubs which all operate on one platform: their CRM.
MYTH 6: CRMS ARE SILOES
HubSpot has changed from being an application to being a platform. That platform has an ecosystem that allows people to easily integrate and add to what they’ve already got. More and more, people are using third party APIs and interfaces to enhance their HubSpot deployment.
In addition to the regularly used tools that integrate with it – like MailChimp, Twitter, Gmail, Outlook etc. – HubSpot CRM also allows salespeople to get access to really useful but unexpected tools that are featured as part of their ecosystem.
For example, we’ve recently found the organisation chart add-in (www.orgcharthub.com) to be very useful. It’s not built by HubSpot but it’s a partner product. As you interact with a prospective client you can build up a map of the stakeholders involved in the buying process at that company. The integration lets you link the individuals in the hierarchy to the records you have of them in HubSpot contact records. You can then see how people like influencers, gatekeepers and decision-makers fit together and impact the sale.
If you are an existing HubSpot user, take this opportunity to get a free portal health check.
MYTH 7: CRMS ARE JUST FOR SALES TEAMS
There is a perception that CRMs are only for sales teams. When it comes to choosing an appropriate CRM for marketing, sales or services, wars have been fought over which CRM to choose. The sales team often wants something different to the marketing team, who want something different from the client service team and sometimes they even store customer data in completely different places.
Your CRM can and should be at the heart of all your customer engagement. CRM’s are key to sales and marketing alignment. With an integrated CRM, everyone in touch with the customer can benefit.
As we’ve covered in previous blog posts, sales and marketing alignment benefits the whole company. HubSpot makes it not just easy, but actually slightly addictive, to get sales and marketing on the same page. In this way information about the entire buyers’ journey is stored in one place. As a result there are no more arguments since all of the data is there for everyone to see – and it’s easy to find!
MYTH 8: CLOUD-BASED CRM SYSTEMS LACK SECURITY
One of our clients was worried about data security when we first started working with them because the data is stored in the cloud, rather than on-premise. They were concerned that it’s somehow less secure than if it was in their data centre. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s a lot more secure because the real time monitoring at HubSpot meets all of the necessary international data storage regulations.
MYTH 9: YOU HAVE TO BE CHAINED TO YOUR DESK TO USE A CRM
While salespeople can give a million reasons why a CRM will make it difficult for them to sell stuff we can rebuff every single argument. Eventually they run out of excuses and objections, and making the decision to adopt the CRM comes down to effective change management. Eventually they realise that they should be using the system because it makes their tasks easier and helps them improve their selling skills and results.
Even though salespeople are often out on the road they can use the HubSpot app on their phone. This app means they can update almost anything, even if they’re offsite. They have all the information they need at their fingertips to help them do their job more thoroughly, and provide more convincing, consistent arguments to buy their solutions.
MYTH 10: REPORTING IS DIFFICULT
Historically, it was difficult and time-consuming to extract meaningful data from some CRMs. Now, it’s a cinch. The data can be exported in a variety of formats. We often work with clients who have set up advanced Excel Macros that allow them to then slice-and-dice information in a way that allows them to report to the board, management, other regions etc. There are also connectors to numerous reporting tools such as Databox, Microsoft Power BI and Tableau.
HubSpot itself offers so many out-of-the-box reports that custom reporting is often unnecessary. Once we show people how quickly the data can be filtered, and how easily you can export this to Excel or Google Sheets, that excuse also goes out the window.
You can still live in spreadsheets if you want to, but why would you if the data can be available in real-time?
CONCLUSION: WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO USE A CRM?
Too often, people immediately see big costs, huge implementations, and difficult adoptions when the think about a CRM.
HubSpot starts off free, it’s easy to use, it’s easy to install, it’s easy to report on, and it has huge integration possibilities. This only leaves me to wonder: why wouldn’t you want to know how long someone has engaged with your content? Why wouldn’t you want their company information to be updated automatically? Why wouldn’t you want to allow people to book a meeting with you at an available time? Is your current CRM really doing the job? And, lastly, if you’re not using a CRM, why haven’t you started yet?
Try it out!
To have a look at the free version, and see how quickly you can test drive it and start using it, share your details and get the free HubSpot CRM version now.