Nowadays, a CRM is the hub for all customer-facing activities, and solutions exist for every business regardless of size or industry. With the right CRM, your business can deliver timely, automated, targeted communications to customers to personalize the customer journey.
This is the final article in a 4-part guide on Business Process Automation and in this part, we take a look at customer relationship automation and CRM workflows.
Read the first part of our series here: Everything You Need to Know About Business Process Automation: What is It, Examples, and Benefits
What is CRM Workflow Automation?
CRM stands for customer relationship management and CRM workflow automation is an extension of business process automation wherein a series of tasks related to CRM are automated on the basis of pre-defined workflow rules. Workflow automation helps enterprises achieve greater efficiency and increase overall productivity by completing entire processes with minimal human input.
CRM automation is not marketing automation. CRM automation involves many of the same tasks as marketing automation, however, CRM automation is completely focused on managing existing customers’ relationship with the company and not general marketing efforts. Furthermore, CRM workflow automation deals with entire processes (strings of tasks) rather than automating individual tasks.
Benefits of CRM Workflow Automation
In order for companies to accurately measure their progress and improvements in CRM, they need to know what CRM workflow automation does and how it is advantageous to their company. To help you understand this, here are the top benefits of implementing CRM workflow automation in 2020:
Effective Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is one of the processes that is commonly found in both CRM workflow automation and marketing automation, and rightly so – it’s very important. In a recent report, 80% of companies involved reported an increase in lead generation and 77% reported an increase in conversions as well.
One of the reasons companies are able to significantly improve lead nurturing with CRM workflow automation is that sales teams can be surprisingly inefficient when it comes to timely responses and regular follow-ups.
When a Harvard Business Review research team tested 2,241 B2B sales teams, it found that the average response time was 48 hours. The ideal response time? Under 5 minutes, which was achieved by only 26% of sales teams. The issue here isn’t that humans are physically limited, it’s the lead nurturing systems (or lack thereof).
With CRM automation, companies don’t need to use its human resource to respond or follow-up but a smart CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 does the same thing but faster, with fewer mistakes, and costs far less.
- Sales Intelligence
Document automation workflows use business intelligence (BI) to accurately capture and process documents, CRM workflows use sales intelligence to improve lead nurturing and conversion by providing sales teams with structured data and insights that help them understand existing clientele and leads.
No company wants to be understaffed and lose potential clients after a marketing campaign goes viral but that happens quite often with companies that have limited scalability due to traditional sales teams (you can’t hire or fire employees all the time).
CRM workflow automation helps remove this limitation by taking over some of the most time-consuming workflows, therefore allowing a small sales team to efficiently handle more accounts.
- Effective Integration Between Departments
By automating CRM workflows, you’re helping not only your sales team but also other departments including manufacturing, marketing, and even accounting through more efficient and accurate record-keeping, generation and sharing of reports, as well as.
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Top Process to Automate with CRM Workflow Examples
Process automation is an indispensable tool for a modern enterprise and automating certain workflows can do wonders for your CRM strategy. But the results of automation are highly dependent on the workflows that you automate.
To help you begin your CRM digital transformation, we’ve listed the CRM workflows that should be automated first:
Sales Process Automation
The sales process includes various components including initial lead generation, tracking phone calls, meetings, and emails, creating customer profiles, notifying other members of customer needs, collaborating with the marketing department, and the list goes on. With the right tool and right setup, a business can automate all of these workflows, freeing up serious resources in the process.
One way of automating the sales workflow is through triggers. Here’s what a typical CRM workflow with triggers looks like:
- Someone interacts with the company (fills a form, for instance)
- The CRM software sends out a reply with information about the company and a CTA to get in touch with the company.
- If the system doesn’t receive a message from the email, it sends out an automatic follow-up.
- Sends out notifications to the sales team about engagements with leads.
- The system is also keeping track of all the emails, messages, and inquiries sent by the lead account and stores it as structured data for the sales team to access in the future.
Account Management Automation
Account management becomes increasingly important as the company grows but so do the number of accounts. A CRM workflow that automates processes in account management can help reduce workload as well as ensure accounts are being handled accurately.
Here’s a CRM workflow example for account management automation would look like (again with triggers):
- An account is generated and the details are entered into the system.
- The account is assigned to a member of the sales team.
- The member reports his progress with the account and all the details are shared with the reporting manager.
- CRM software continues to use sales intelligence (SI) to create accurate client profiles in the background.
- All the data is stored and sent to members and managers whenever a request is made.
Support automation does not refer to customer support – but rather support activities that are important for effective CRM. Some of these activities that can be automated with CRM automation include:
Automatically sharing customer feedback, complaints, and inquiries with the appropriate department.
Notifying account executives and managers of open support tickets.
Creating, storing, and sharing CRM reports (sales data, client profiles, performance evaluations, etc).
- Customer Service Automation
Customer service automation shares similarities with sales process automation but with one difference – customer service automation is more B2C centric. The perfect example of automating customer service in 2020 is a chatbot. Modern chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and are built upon complex workflows with the goal of providing customers with instant support and make the experience as close to human interaction as possible.
CRM Workflow Automation Tools
The right CRM workflow automation tools will allow you to program complex workflows with ease and manage customer relationships more efficiently.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the few solutions that offer both CRM automation and ERP automation making them the perfect choice for businesses that want to leverage business process management (BPA) in other areas of their business as well.
If you’d like to experiment with CRM workflow automation before making a big investment in it, you could use Hubspot’s CRM platform which is a free alternative to Microsoft Dynamite 365. It’s not the most feature-rich CRM software out there but that makes it easy to pick up and learn.
In terms of functionality and features, Salesforce is one of the few software that are in the same league as Microsoft Dynamics 365. Like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce too offers options to automate CRM and ERP processes with greatly increases its use cases.
- Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is another tried and tested CRM automation software with extra functionality for lead and contact management. If your business is struggling with converting leads or is only interested in contact management, Zoho CRM is certainly worth consideration.
Conclusion: Getting Started with CRM Workflow Automation
CRM workflows are on the trickier side of BPA because a single error in implementation could potentially lead to lost leads. But don’t let that scare you into. CRM workflow automation is one of the most worthwhile investments in 2020 – the only thing you need to do is get started correctly. In 2020, HR automation is no longer a luxury, reserved for the biggest enterprises – it is a necessity for every modern business.
One way of ensuring your implementation is flawless and effective is to work with an expert – like Master of Code. Master of Code helps businesses reach new levels of efficiency and productivity through custom CRM workflows including AI chatbots that ensure your customers never have to wait. Schedule a consultation with one of our experts to learn how you can get started with CRM workflows the right way.