ZohoDay 2024 - how analytics helps organizations to boost their CRM results

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright March 12, 2024
A selection of customer stories at the recent ZohoDay analyst event demonstrated the difference that analytics can make in helping boost performance across sales and customer service.

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(© Warakorn - Adobe Stock)

It's a well-known maxim in business that if you want to improve performance, then first you have to measure it. The proof of this was borne out by several customer stories heard at business software vendor Zoho’s recent analyst event. These companies put in CRM software to streamline their sales processes, but they have found that it is the combination with analytics that really drives success.

Take Bergen Logistics, a third-party logistics firm based in North Bergen, New Jersey, which provides high-touch warehousing and shipment services to the luxury fashion and home goods sectors. There was no CRM software in place when Keith Cooper, VP of Customer Experience, first joined the company several years ago. Realizing that leads were not being followed up promptly — and sometimes not at all — he took on a project to implement a CRM system to track what happened to leads as they came in. He set the sales team a target of responding to incoming leads on the same working day, and this has since settled down to within two hours. But the impact of being able to measure performance has been much broader, as he explains:

That then allowed us to undergo a marketing journey where we started to put more money into digital spend, digital pay-per-click and SEO, where at that time, there was zero-to-none. Knowing that we could handle more leads, and we could measure them, and we could measure the volume and velocity of those leads through the funnel, led us on a growth journey where we tripled our annual sales production within two years.

It's now possible to track performance across a wide range of metrics and fine-tune performance accordingly. He goes on:

We have five years of model, so I know exactly how many leads I need to feed that machine with in order to get a result of a dollar sign coming out of the bottom. Along the way I've developed all of the KPIs and metrics that a world-class sales organization needs to have. I know what my cost of customer acquisition is, I know what my lifetime value of a customer is, what my ROI is for every dollar of marketing that I spend, and I know what the sales organization can create, and I can see what the average is. Then I can compare the team members within the organization to see, if somebody's metrics are missing somewhere, I can help identify what coaching or support they may need to bring their level up to performance.

The impact at Embracon, which provides consumer lending in Brazil through a nationwide network of 90 branches, was even more dramatic. Again, there was no CRM system before the company put in Zoho. Now leads come in via the website and are shared instantly with branches, leading to a big increase in conversions. Through an interpreter, Helder Oliveira, Martech Manager, says:

The timing of the sales process is very important. The faster the salesperson can convert the lead, the faster they can make the sale. That is an important metric ... If they call in the first four minutes, they are four times more likely to convert the sale.

Whereas previously it was only possible to see daily sales metrics when branches submitted their overnight reports, the organization can now continuously track sales at all of the branches and analyze conversion metrics in real time. This has helped standardize the sales process nationwide. The implementation started in 2 branches and 60 users, and then rolled out over a 15-month period to the whole branch network and 2,000 users. Having detailed metrics meant it was possible to look at the best-performing branches and understand what they were doing right, and pass on those techniques to other branches. This led to the creation of a company-wide selling guide which has set standard sales practices across the organization.

Customer service response times

At Bergen, the success of the CRM implementation led to a similar focus on metrics in the customer service team. After a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey threw up that customers were not hearing back consistently when they logged issues, it became evident that response times needed tracking and improving. Bergen serves brands whose customers expect a high-end experience, and that means its own customer service standards should be high. "My biggest pet peeve is, we follow up with our customers, our customers don't follow up with us," says Cooper. He takes up the story:

What has happened is, we've measured our time to respond. We set a metric of two hours — not initially, because you don't want to set the bar too high or too low, but you start and we graduated into that. So we have two hours now. And we're actually performing on average at about one hour, our first response time.

Now it's the journey of our time to resolve, because our issues may involve many different departments. We started with client services working and we got the time to resolve down. It's basically two days, it gets better when we're off season, it gets longer when we're on season. But now we're pushing the same solution to the rest of the organization, so that *their* time to respond and time to resolve issues, so that the client service team can close the issue for the client, is being measured.

It all comes down to having the data to hand. Cooper and his team have built all of their dashboards in-house so that they can quickly zoom out to look at trends over time, or drill down to more granular data. As well as measuring the performance of Bergen's own teams, it's also now possible to look at which customers are proving most costly to service. He goes on:

One of the beauties of the system is we're able to parse down by whatever parameters we want to look at it. However we want to slice or dice the data, it's there. Everything's time-stamped, everything's marked. I can see even how many tickets for a particular client, and how much time we're spending on them. So I can make sure that their pricing model is correct to how much service in addition to just the regular order flows in the system. So it really informs the business in many good ways.

Bergen became part of Sweden-based Elanders Group in 2021, and Zoho products are being rolled out to other parts of the larger organization. That will further help manage ad spend, as Cooper explains:

As a global organization, if I have each one of my regions competing for the digital spend to create leads for their region, then we're all bidding on basically the same keywords — 3PL, logistics, e-commerce — and we're driving the spend up against each other and trying to get the same leads. Where if we are truly global, we can centralize that function. But then we'd need a mechanism by which we can, once we receive the lead, we'd say, 'This belongs there, so I'm going to assign it there.' Having us all on the same platform is going to allow that.

Customizing processes

At Luxer One, which makes and operates automated self-service drop lockers for parcel deliveries, it was when it adopted Zoho Desk shortly after implementing CRM that "analytics became a need," says Matt Kuczka, Lead Applications Analyst at the company. The fast-growing company's 500 employees now use a range of Zoho products under its Zoho One subscription, also encompassing marketing, communications and workflow automation.

As well as manufacturing its lockers, which are installed at multi-family residential units, retail outlets and hotels, the company also creates and runs the software which operates them. Recipients receive a code that opens the locker so that they can collect their parcel, making it a safe, secure and touchless system. The company makes extensive use of the ability to customize Zoho. Kuczka says:

If you're not a developer, you don't know any code, there's a lot you can do. With the addition of Zoho Flow, we can start connecting to other systems, Google and other things we utilize. But also, since we have a development team, we can actually write code and we can use Deluge [Zoho's custom scripting language] and custom functions and that's allowed us to do a lot of other things.

An example would be, when we sell a locker system, there's a bunch of things that need to happen after that sale to create that record in our system, create a property, create a location, give it an ID and all this other stuff. So we have a whole flow and custom function that goes in and populates all this info, so the property's ready and deliveries can be made.

Clarence Rosario, Head of Product for BI at Zoho, says that the Business Analytics (BA) product is on a strong growth path, especially among larger enterprise customers, and product development continues apace. AI functionality will be added this year to help customers with data preparation and management. He adds:

Artificial intelligence is an important component that we are bringing more and more deeper into the platform, and embedding a spot of every layer of the BA stack, be it the data management and analytics layer, as well as collaboration, data storytelling.

My take

Putting in automation is just the first step when harnessing digital technology. Once you have the data about what's actually happening, there's much more that can be done to streamline processes and improve performance that previously was not evident.

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