CRM platforms are already firmly ensconced within the sales technology and strategies of most small and midsized businesses. Sales teams have been using their CRMs for basic, day-to-day-functions -- such as managing customer information and tracking purchase history -- for decades. In that time, CRMs have faithfully served as a place to store data, log notes, and manage contacts.
But while sales reps have long been using the platform’s core features, most aren’t getting as much out of their CRMs as they could be. Even more concerning, some businesses could be using the wrong CRM altogether.
Technology is helping CRM platforms become more sophisticated, and in order for businesses to remain competitive, they must keep pace with their new and emerging capabilities.
They can do so by utilizing the following features:
Work faster with voice activation
Voice-activated technology is reshaping the consumer universe. Though it was once cast aside as a trendy novelty feature, voice is now serving as an invaluable tool in the CRM space. The technology acts as a virtual assistant that helps sales and customer service teams access important customer data with a simple voice command.
This technology is crucial in the fast-paced and time-sensitive sales world, where a timely response to a customer inquiry can make or break a sale.
If you’re still hesitant to embrace voice-activated technology, consider this: by 2020, about 50 percent of searches will be voice searches. And even if you don’t capitalize on this revolutionary technology, your competitors will.
The power of predictive technology
Consider it a Magic 8 ball that actually works – predictive technology helps sales teams determine their next best moves. It maps out sales sequencing, customer behaviors, and buying trends.
Predictive analytics in a CRM benefit sales teams in a number of ways. The technology helps reps make educated predictions – thus minimizing risks – on which products to promote and which customers to target. Furthermore, it allows businesses to create more successful marketing campaigns through tailored content.
The number of businesses adopting predictive technology is fast growing; the global predictive analytics market is expected to reach $14.95 billion by 2023. It’s is a powerful tool, and one small and midsized businesses should utilize to position themselves for future success.
Track interactions with ease
You’re probably already using CRM to track customer interactions, and might think you’re up to speed on that front. But even if you’re using the platform as a tracking tool, you may not be taking the function as far as you could be.
CRMs can – and should – be used to log multiple elements of the customer experience. You should be using it to record response times, monitor retention rates and analyze buying patterns.
Customer interactions are incredibly valuable, and the more effectively sales teams track them, the more likely they are to forge strong relationships.
Go mobile or go home
CRM platforms have been offering mobile capabilities for the past decade, and most sales teams are already utilizing their platform’s on-the-go powers.
But just as you’ve ditched that Nokia flip phone, we hope you’ve become more sophisticated with your mobile CRM strategy, too. Today, the right mobile CRM solution is streamlined to make it easy for users to find the information they need remotely.
The latest cloud and mobile CRM technologies feature a user-friendly design that gives sales reps instant access to their most important data, even when they’re oceans away from the office. And as you probably already know, a business’s ability to instantly address customer needs puts it in a prime position to make a sale.
Mobile CRM advancements are paying off. Research from Innoppl Technologies reveals that about 65 percent of sales reps who’ve adopted mobile CRM are achieving their sales goals; conversely, just 22 percent of reps using non-mobile CRM met those same targets.
The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an issue small businesses can’t afford to ignore. The legislation, which took effect May 25, requires all businesses with customers in the EU to comply with a complex and exhaustive set of data laws.
Becoming – and remaining -- GDPR compliant can be challenging for resource-stretched small businesses. Fortunately, the right CRM can be of great assistance.
Businesses can use their CRM to keep tabs on its customers’ privacy preferences, and to monitor how employees are using customer data. The right CRM can also restrict access for specific users to ensure employees only have access to data that’s relevant to their roles.
A recent study revealed that only about half of surveyed businesses expected to be GDPR compliant by the deadline. If you’re among the many small businesses struggling to meet the new requirements, turn to your CRM for a little help.
Technology is continuing to reshape how businesses approach cultivating strong customer relationships. Sales reps must embrace these technological advancements to remain relevant in this competitive and ever-changing landscape. Embracing the latest features of your business’s CRM platform is a great way to do just that.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.