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Unlocking the potential of digital agency CRM

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Updated on:
March 10, 2024
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Building and maintaining strong client relationships is the foundation of any successful agency. Yet, when dealing with more than one client, staying at the top of where your relationship is with each client can be challenging. That’s why agencies, small and large alike, rely on software and tech stacks to smoothen workflows and processes.

A digital agency CRM (client relationship management) is one of the tools that comes in handy in managing interactions and relationships with clients and prospects. It allows you to manage all clients on one platform, handle client data properly, and keep communication transparent.

Be that as it may, for anyone who’s not familiar with digital agency CRM, there’s a lot to learn. That’s where this guide comes in. It discusses everything you need to know about digital agency CRM.

What Is digital agency CRM?

At its core, digital agency CRM is a specialized software that offers more perks to improve the client-agency relationship. For the record, an agency has many moving parts from attracting new clients, retaining and upselling the existing ones, managing projects, to delivering outstanding results. With a manual approach, things can easily slip through the cracks, resulting in chaos. A digital agency CRM helps avoid that.

First, it brings all clients under one roof, making it easier to monitor their data, including:

  • Contact information
  • Organization details such as name, size, industry, and location
  • Log of all communications
  • Details about past and current projects
  • Client preferences
  • Sales opportunities, leads, and prospects associated with the client

Having this data in one place helps you understand your clients better and look for ways to improve their experience.

Second, a digital agency CRM offers refined project management features, facilitating task assignments, deadline management, resource allocation, and team collaboration. This way, it’s possible to meet customer’s needs and expectations and give them a reason to stick with the business.

Digital agency CRM types and how they work

Now that you know what a digital agency CRM is, let’s go deeper. Usually, CRM tools are not equal. They are specialized to meet the unique requirements and workflows of agencies. The various types available include:

Collaborative digital agency CRM

Every agency has teams that help to actualize the client’s marketing needs. To complete tasks within the set deadline, each team works on a different portion of the project. Without a proper flow of information from one team to the other, the project might take a different course other than the intended one.

Collaborative CRMs ensure various agency units have access to up-to-date customer data at any given point. With this integration, clients don’t have to repeat themselves each time they interact with a new contact.

In a nutshell, collaborative CRMs aim at uniting the whole agency to achieve common goals and to improve customer experience. Consequently, customers become more satisfied and loyal to the business. It also improves productivity in the agency. A study by Stanford University found that teams that collaborate well are 50% more productive.

The main features of a collaborative CRM are:

  • Channel management to track and have control of customer interactions across various platforms
  • Interaction management to centralize all interactions with new and existing customers
  • Document management to store all customer documents in one place for easier access

Operational digital agency CRM

The customer lifecycle involves a number of touchpoints, all of which are important to the success of your agency. However, while one client is in the decision stage, another will be in the consideration stage. As such, you have to be hands-on. Otherwise gaps might arise between you and the client and cause you to miss on opportunities.

An operation CRM is suitable in this case as it helps you to track and manage customer data throughout their purchase journey. Moreover, it ensures leads learn about your business and the steps to becoming customers fast.

To bring greater efficiency in client relationship management, lots of automation comes into play in operation CRM. You’ll mostly find service, marketing, and sales automation. Service automation ensures timely and efficient resolution of customer issues. It automates services such as case management, ticket routing, and retrieval of data relating to clients.

Marketing automation involves autogenerating personalized responses to customers regardless of their stage in their purchase cycle. For instance, if a prospect signs up, the tool sends them an automatic welcome message. This way, your team will save time for other creative activities.

Lastly, the sales automation tracks and manages leads to assign them a score. By looking at scores, you can determine which leads have a high potential of becoming customers to prioritize them.

Analytical digital agency CRM

Correct data helps agencies make informed decisions. Sadly, plenty of agencies will collect client data and end up not using it. The reason is that they lack analysis skills for turning data into useful insights. In fact, a survey shows that 68% of data in businesses remains unused.

However, with an analytical digital agency CRM, this will be a problem of the past. The tool has features that help you analyze data in an instant to make sense of it. As such, you can tell the processes that result in the most successful sales, customer retention, and what clients complain about the most.

Some digital agency CRM tools like Hello Bonsai combine collaborative, operational, and analytical aspects to help you manage all your processes in one tool.

Key components to look for in a digital CRM

There are numerous CRM options on the market today, which adds to some difficulty in choosing the right one for your business. However, each platform has specific features that make it stand out among others and help you select a CRM that most aligns with your needs.

Here are some key features to consider.

Contact management feature

To avoid confusion and chaos, the best CRMs collect, store, organize, and manage client information in a centralized database. Such data entails customer names, addresses, purchase histories, emails, and social media profiles.

It helps CRM teams access client data and builds personalized relationships. This feature also allows you to categorize contacts to allow for easier searching and connecting to target audiences.

Revenue tracking tools

Most small businesses don’t have revenue-tracking features and have a hard time narrowing down just how much revenue they reap. A good CRM has financial tracking tools that monitor sales and profitability, as well as bookkeeping.

These features also analyze and interpret financial data through reporting, indicating the performance of the business and helping you make better decisions.

Lead management

A worthwhile CRM should have a basic lead management feature to help your sales team identify and manage leads interested in your product. The team can then prioritize these leads based on their potential to convert to paying customers.

Such lead management tools can include lead scoring, automated follow-ups, and territory management to route leads to appropriate sales teams.

Document management components

Well-organized documents play a huge part in the success of businesses. A CRM’s document management system allows you to store your business and customer documents digitally, where they’re easy to retrieve.

Third-party integrations

CRMs now have integration capabilities that allow them to sync with other apps and features. Such integrations include email marketing, web analytics, accounting software, social media, and marketing automation.

As such, it’s a good idea to keep any apps or software that you have since CRM integrations allow you to connect and share data. You can also tailor them to suit your business’s needs and increase productivity.

Secure CRM systems

CRMs should feature tools that ensure the security and safety of your data. Any information that falls into the wrong hands can quickly become a liability to the business. As such, robust security components include cloud-based CRMs that have cloud encryption, role-based access control, and audit trails.

Furthermore, a CRM worth its salt should provide system backups in case of downtimes to prevent business disruptions. CRMs that also offer remote hosting greatly reduce your vulnerability to data breaches and cyber-attacks.

CRM forecasting tools

Forecasting features allow you to estimate business growth and profitability and compare it to your marketing strategies. A good digital agency CRM provides you with tools to analyze and evaluate your sales and performance and project how they affect your business.

Besides, these forecasting features should enable you to personalize your goals according to your needs, the nature of your business, and your target audience.

Customer support

The basis of any CRM is to manage and improve a business’s relationship with customers. In this case, the software that you choose should provide customer service features such as automated email, phone, or live chat support and customer tracking.

These tools allow you to handle customer issues individually and learn about their experience, including how to improve their satisfaction.

Implementation of a digital agency CRM

By now, you already know what a digital agency CRM is, its essential features, and the various types available. But you might be wondering how you can integrate such a tool into your business. For starters, the implementation process can make or break using a digital agency CRM effectively. Here are the steps to follow to get this tool up and running in your agency smoothly.

Step 1: Map out the goals you want to achieve with the CRM

Each digital marketing agency has a unique set of goals and needs. So, before even thinking of choosing a tool, define what you want to get out of the digital agency CRM. Don’t forget to involve your project managers because they have a better understanding of areas where your processes might be lacking.

Is your goal to eliminate repetitive tasks to save time? Or is it improving collaboration? The more a CRM tool fits your agency’s needs, the more value you’ll derive from it. Given that most CRM tools come at a fee, you should also set your budget at this stage.

Step 2: Searching for a digital agency CRM software

Searching for a digital agency CRM tool will require lots of input. This is because the market has many tools with varying capabilities. You’ll have to research and compare the tools that match your goals. Here, you might also want to take advantage of free trials to see the tools in action. Whatever software you choose, ensure that:

  • It integrates seamlessly with the rest of your system.
  • It’s customizable to tailor it perfectly to the business needs.
  • It’s scalable to accommodate your business growth.
  • Its user interface is simple.

Step 3: Create a CRM implementation team

Implementing a CRM system involves mapping agency processes onto the CRM platform, which can be complex and time-consuming, especially for a large organization. As such, you need to work with people experienced in CRM systems, project management, and relevant business processes for a smooth rollout.

This team will help you customize your digital agency CRM, migrate client data, train your team, set key performance indicators, and continuously improve the system.

Step 4: Migrate your client data

Your CRM won’t be of much use if it doesn’t have client data. First, you have to identify all sources that contain client data. These could be sales records, interaction channels, and surveys. What follows is cleaning and validating the data to ensure it’s well-mapped to the corresponding fields in the CRM.

Step 5: Automate process

Efficiency is the backbone of every successful CRM. In this step, you should identify all repetitive tasks and automate them. Doing so will offload a chunk of work from your team, and they can channel their time to other important tasks.

Step 6: Train your team

The success of a CRM implementation depends on user adoption. Your implementation team should familiarize your staff with the features, navigation, data entry procedures, and best practices for using CRM in their daily tasks. They should also answer user questions and deal with any resistance to change.

Once everyone is onboard, you can test it for a while to see if it works as expected. Afterward, gather feedback and make the necessary adjustments. At this stage, you can fully integrate it into your operations.

Step 7: Evaluate and improve your digital agency CRM

After every three to six months, evaluate your digital agency’s CRM performance. You can do so using key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. In addition, you can survey your staff to get feedback on what’s working and what needs enhancement.

Common implementation challenges and how to overcome them

Digital agency CRM implementation does not come without challenges. In fact, research by Harvard Business Review shows that although 91% of small businesses use CRM, 18 to 69% of CRM projects fail. This mainly happens because of problems that arise during implementation.

What are the common challenges, and how do you overcome them?

Going overboard with customization

It goes without saying that customization is paramount to ensuring a digital agency CRM tool works well with your business. However, a highly customized CRM gets cluttered. As a result, it becomes difficult for users to navigate and use the system effectively. Worse still, it becomes impossible to scale the system as the business grows. You can achieve a balanced CRM customization by defining the business needs that matter most.

Migrating inaccurate and outdated data

The accuracy and relevance of your data majorly depend on your existing system. If the system is unreliable, there’s a high chance of migrating inaccurate and outdated data or data with duplicates. Such data leads to poor decisions, undermining the purpose of the digital agency CRM. To avoid this, take time to check the correctness of the data and remove unnecessary entries.

Disruption of business processes as employees try to adapt

Despite convincing everyone on your team to embrace the new CRM culture, there remains the challenge of adapting. For example, veteran employees might worry about having to give up on the old tools they were using. As mentioned, most CRM tools allow integrations. As such, your team can continue using their favorite tools but within the CRM.

Understanding the benefits of a digital agency CRM

Digital agency CRMs have now become important tools for business management processes. Apart from providing insights into how customers interact with your business, they also personalize marketing campaigns to reach your target customers. Nonetheless, they have many more benefits to your business, including:

Upgrading internal communication

Other than enhancing customer engagement with your business, CRMs also improve communications between employees and teams. They enable sending messages, emails, and project tags to each other.

Analyzing and reporting performance

All owners want to know how their business is performing, which is crucial for decision-making. To aid this, CRMs have tools that collect data and analyze it before breaking it down into easily understood formats. They then report the results to help you gauge your performance and maximize profit.

Moreover, CRMs have features that enable collaboration and file sharing to help your team showcase a consistent brand voice.

Increasing business-customer engagement

CRMs increase your engagement with customers by collecting feedback and personal experience. At the same time, they help you come up with customized plans to meet individual demands and boost customer satisfaction.

Improving productivity and efficiency

Most CRMs have automated processes that free up your employees and allow them to focus on other tasks. This also helps to ensure the efficiency and accuracy of the work done, such as sending emails, creating content, and analyzing data.

Ways of measuring the success of a CRM tool

Generally, CRM tools should help improve your customer relationships. However, to gauge their success, there needs to be performance indicators that let you know whether your CRM is working.

Some of these indicators include:

Lead conversion rate

A CRM’s marketing intention is to turn prospective clients into paying customers. As such, the number of leads actualized into sales at the end of a marketing campaign can be used as a performance indicator.

Higher lead conversions indicate that your CRM is doing well in nurturing leads through the sales pipeline.

High return on investment

CRMs usually spend a lot of resources, such as money, time, and energy, on marketing activities and other initiatives. The revenue generated from these activities should be more than the investment, which indicates company growth. The increase and decrease of return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the CRM’s success.

Increased sales and revenue

Almost all businesses exist to make a profit. A successful CRM implementation should help your business convince customers to spend more or increase client traffic to generate more sales. More sales mean more revenue for the business.

Client retention rate

Recruiting a new customer is the easy part compared to retaining and building a relationship with them. The number of customers that stick with your business continually reflects the success of the CRM in ensuring client loyalty.

You can measure the customer retention rate by taking the number of new customers at the start of a set period. Then, compare it with the number of clients lost at the end of the same period to get a measure of retention success.

Improve your client-agency relationship

Thriving client relationships don’t just happen by chance, especially in the current fast-paced business world. However, one sure way of cultivating them is having the right tech stack by your side. If you understand how a digital agency CRM works, you can implement it successfully in your operations. With it, you’ll get to know your clients and engage with them better, as well as deliver personalized services.

If you’re ready to try out a digital agency CRM, Hello Bonsai is the right place to start. Sign up today for a free trial to see if it’ll work well for your agency.

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