5 Tips and Tricks for Each of the Top CRM Suites

Get more bang for your buck


There is a ton of information and tools on the web to help you be great at sales, one of the new buzzwords and growing industries is the world of CRM’s. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be a powerful tool. Properly configured, it can help you organize your sales, marketing, and support teams into one well-oiled machine.

I have had the chance to work with different clients using some of the more popular options, as well as utilizing other less well known platforms. These 5 tips and tricks for each of the best CRM suites on the market will help you boost productivity, convert interested customers, and better manage the customers you already have.


Make Use of Apps

When possible, make use of the mobile apps that Zoho publishes alongside their CRM suite. Your salesforce in the field will be able to remotely update your database, as well as pull down important information right from their smartphone.

Import Your Data

It’s much easier to clean up your existing spreadsheets or Access database than it is to manually re-enter all of your customer information. Zoho is very flexible when it comes to importing data, so make the most of it.

Cut Down on the Number of Fields in Your Forms

The fewer fields on your forms, the easier it will be to import information, and the smaller your database will be. Do your best to minimize the number of fields in your form, and Zoho’s database will be cleaner and faster. Only keep the information that you’re sure your company will need.

Use Zoho Calendar to Keep Your Employees in Sync

Zoho has a very flexible calendar app packaged as part of the CRM suite. Use the Zoho calendar to keep your team in sync, whether they’re in the office or in the field. This app also runs on smartphones, so your field team will be able to carry their schedule with them anywhere.

Make Use of Dynamic Social Media Links

Using Zoho CRM, you can create and deploy dynamic links to your social media page. These can be as customized as you want, and they’re used to micro-target your customers and funnel them to the correct landing page, among other things. Spend some time learning about Zoho’s support for dynamic links, and you’ll increase your social conversions.


Duplicates Won’t Import

One of the tricks that you need to know for Insightly is the fact that it won’t import duplicate entries at all. If you’re stuck and can’t figure out why a customer hasn’t made their way into your database, double-check and make sure there isn’t a duplicate.

Map Your Data Properly

This is the biggest tip their is for any CRM suite, but especially one as customizable as Insightly. Make sure, when you import customer data, that the fields are mapped properly. If you mess this step up, you’ll end up with a database that doesn’t make much sense - to you, or to the software.

Manage Your Mailing Lists with MailChimp

Insightly and MailChimp, the popular bulk mailing list manager, are tightly integrated. It’s possible to use data from Insightly to create a mail merge and send out your message. If you haven’t already give it a look, check out MailChimp for mailing list management.

A Complete Address Is Needed to Import Contacts

If you’re stuck with contacts that won’t copy themselves into Insightly, and you’re sure that you aren’t dealing with duplicates, take a look at the address field. If it’s not filled in entirely, with the city, state, zip code, and country, then the data will refuse to import.

Create Custom Fields Before You Import

It’s important to have all of your custom fields in place before you import customer data. Otherwise you’ll end up losing important information that your business is using to track your clients. Custom fields can be anything from the customer’s last date of purchase to the size of their shoes.


Automatically De-Duplicate Your Database

If your database is cluttered up with duplicate entries, you don’t need to remove them by hand. There are a lot of apps on the market that will go through your Salesforce CRM database and remove any duplicate entries that they find. Usually they notify you in the process, so that you can be the one to make the final decision.

Secret Admin Tab Trick

You can modify the homepage URL for Salesforce and access a secret admin panel. Just add “a0N” to the end of the path string. For instance, “http://cs1.salesforce.com/” becomes “http://cs1.salesforce.com/a0N” if you want to unlock the hidden page. This secret will let you modify custom objects in bulk, so it’s worth a try if you use a lot of them.

Use Salesforce’s Tip Page

Salesforce CRM is one of the best CRM software suites in the business, and they got that way by knowing what their customers want. Salesforce maintains a tips and tricks page of their own at: https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=quic...

Maintain Your Branding with a Custom Logout Page

An administrator can change the page that all users are redirected to after they logout. Usually companies set up a page like this with their brand on it, or even link back to their intranet portal. In the menu Setup -> Administer -> Security Controls -> Session settings, Salesforce added a new option at the bottom to change Logout Settings -- that’s where you’ll find it.

Import From Other CRM Suites

Salesforce has a great reputation for being flexible, and one of the reasons why is that you can import entire databases from other CRM suites. Not ever CRM on the market has the capability to do this, and it makes switching to Salesforce from another suite extremely simple. If you’re thinking about migrating to Salesforce, it’s something to keep in mind.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Dynamics Supports HTML in the Fields

Dynamics CRM not only supports the use of HTML in text fields, but it will display it properly on reports. If you want to underline a point, bring out the bold for an important line, or change the font and size of some lettering, you can do it with HTML in Dynamics. This trick also works great for bulk mailings.


It might be a silly word, but Dynamics supports mapylitics with Bing! Maps. You can plot the location of all of your customers on a map, then use the information for micro-targeting or just to determine which salesman goes where.


If your company is using Microsoft Surface tablets in the field or the office, you can try out the new OneNote integration. Using this trick, you can add handwritten or OCR notes into your customer records quickly and easily.

Export to Excel

Dynamics CRM has support for an export to Excel feature that can make generating reports with visual elements even easier. It’s possible to control which fields you export, so if you[‘re interested in finding the quarterly sales for each customer, then plotting it on a chart, it’s as easy as hitting export and working on the data in Excel.

Customize ‘Quick Create Form’

It takes a little bit of programming know-how, but ‘Quick Create Form’ has support for incredible amounts of customization. If you're willing to get your hands dirty and do a little bit of programming -- or hire someone to do it for you -- you can quickly create forms with any fields and layouts that you like.

Get The Most Out Of Your CRM

Whatever CRM suite you decide to use for your business, remember that it’s only as effective as you are. Even the most expensive software is useless unless it’s setup and configured properly. Don’t throw your money at a huge software package and skimp on the training. The best CRM suite for your business is the one that you know how to use.

Growth hacking small

Read next:

Growth Hacking