CRM Automation – What is it and How do I do it?

CRM Automation – What is it and How do I do it?

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Automation is the magic word for businesses. And CRM automation? Even better! There are endless applications for marketing, sales, customer service, retention… 

All the good stuff basically. 

Here’s the deal. The purpose of a call center CRM is to consolidate a *lot* of data in one place. Great! Data is a good place to start. But data doesn’t mean much if you don’t use it to structure the way your business works. 

And there’s the catch – the more data you have, the harder it is to act on it. That’s why automation is the crucial missing ingredient; automation doesn’t care about scale! 

With automation, you can process all the sales, service and marketing actions you need to. 

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What is CRM automation?

CRM automation comes in two main flavors. 

First are the actions a CRM system takes to keep its own records in check – you can think of those as ‘internal’ automations. 

They could include:

  • Moving leads along a sales pipeline
  • Updating customer records based on new information
  • Tracking KPIs 

Second are the actions that have an impact outside of the CRM – we’ll think of those as ‘external’ actions. 

They could include:

  • Scheduling calls
  • Sending outbound messages 
  • Suggesting next actions

What are the benefits of CRM automation?

I could probably answer this question with a photo of some money… but let’s try to add more detail. 

It’s true that cost savings are a major driver for automation, but that’s not the end of the story. A little over half of contact centers identify a lack of automation as their biggest obstacle, for a variety of reasons. 

Such as… 

You’ll make more sales

Speed is an important factor in sales. Between one third and one half of sales go to the first vendor to respond to an expression of interest. 

Enter, CRM automation. An integrated CRM can schedule an outbound call the moment a lead appears. Next step? Your auto dialer places the call, connecting one of your genius sellers with your future customer. 

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Hey – how does the lead reach the CRM? There are a few ways a lead can reach your CRM system – it depends on your tools and your business model. The lead may have requested a quote via an online portal. They could have downloaded an eBook. 

Basically, once your systems are integrated with your CRM, any expression of interest can prompt a follow-up. 

(You can learn more about *how* to integrate a CRM in: What are APIs and how do they enhance contact center service?)

Your agents will have a better time

Let’s not forget the agents. One of the biggest challenges for contact centers everywhere is a staggering rate of staff attrition. Simply put, it’s bad for business. 

In the US, the typical retention rate for contact center agents is 25%

Which means: 

You lose institutional knowledge – bad!

You waste money training new starters – bad!

You have to learn everyone’s names again – really bad!

So what drives that high attrition? Well, agents are generally doing one of two kinds of work. They’re either interacting with customers and building relationships or… they’re copying data from one system to another and scrolling through records. 

Can you guess which of these they prefer? Which they’re better at? 

Agent retention is shocking and this is (partly) why – businesses employ a ‘people person’ but give them a data entry job! 

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You’ll retain more customers 

The big question – how do you retain more customers? 

  • More than half of customers will switch after a single bad experience
  • Around 70% will rethink their loyalty to a brand based on how the customer service team treats them
  • Acquiring new customers costs 5-30 times as much as retaining current customers

(Read: 34 key contact center stats for 2020)

CRM automation gives you the power to contact every single customer who wants to leave. To contact them – and to give them a reason to stay! 

In high-value cases that may mean a phone call from your dedicated customer retention pro’s. But a simple email (perhaps with a special offer) can do the job too. 

No, emails aren’t as effective as the pro agent. But then, it doesn’t have to be as effective… it’s cheap! You might send 1000 emails and retain just ten additional customers – it’s still worth doing.

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You’ll spread your marketing campaigns further

Is there really a difference between CRM automation and marketing automation?

The answer is… kind of. 

Most vendors talk about these as two different things because they want to sell you two pieces of software. One specializes in marketing – the other in service/sales. 

Fair enough then? Maybe – but here’s the problem. More and more marketing is coming out of  the contact center. The lines are blurring, and that’s great! Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing strategies have a 38% higher sales win rates. 

So that leaves us with two questions to answer:

  1. What kinds of marketing processes can you automate?
  2. Do you need a totally separate tool to automate them?

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You can automate processes like:

  • Email drip campaigns – keep customers informed, stay at the front of their mind
  • VIP comms – specialized messaging for your high-value customers
  • Re-engagement – bring in customers who’ve stopped purchasing or abandoned a basket
  • Reviews – feedback is gold dust! (It’s also a good cover for re-engagement)
  • Onboarding campaigns – it’s not enough to win customers… you need them to stay engaged!

Do you need a separate marketing automation tool?

Nope. 

Ok, let’s back up. Every business has its own structure, its own needs. Maybe that includes a shiny bespoke marketing automation tool. 

Other automation tools offer more flexibility though. No-Code automation platforms – like babelforce – don’t limit functionality to a set of predetermined processes. You build up whatever you need with simple components that you just clip together. 

And yes, you will cut your costs

Back to where we started! 

This is a simple one. When a human performs a task, they’re error-prone, slow and expensive. Automation almost always means a gigantic cost reduction. 

So are we hounding humans out of the contact center? Not at all. It’s a question of using each resource for the thing it’s best at. Humans handle service. Computers handle data entry.

So where do you start? How about some more reading – get Your (free) guide to contact center automation now!

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