The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has introduced many unprecedented firsts to the working world-at-large. From social distancing becoming the new normal, to home quarantining, and up to 1/3rd of American workers suddenly finding themselves working remotely for extended periods. 

If you haven’t already been a part of the remote workforce, the change may come as jarring at first. The lack of a defined schedule can be disruptive. A new shared workspace with your spouse and children may be distracting. The looming threat of the virus and its impact on friends, family, and loved ones may mean work takes a backseat. And that’s entirely normal.

According to a Harvard Business Review study in 2019, when stress and anxiety are amplified, our body automatically triggers a “flight or fight” response, and that can lead to elevated stress levels and an inability to get things done. It’s critical during this time of sweeping change to focus less on all your to-do’s and use technology to your advantage and hone in on business-critical items. 

For many business owners and small teams, this time at home can be critical for getting things done, making sure our clients are safe and happy, and finding ways to keep the virtual doors open. We rounded up the seven best tips, tools, and ideas for how a CRM can help you make the most of working remotely during the coronavirus.

1. Assign leads with Shape CRM

Shape is a perfect tool for remote teams because of the robust tools already built into every system. Besides team chat, pipeline management, notes, to-do’s, and more, you can also assign new leads to your team with the click of the button (or automatically based on certain criteria). When you can’t be in the office, you can still be in sync and keep your deals moving forward.


2. Prioritize most critical business and processes with workflows

Working remotely for the first time can be jarring for a lot of folks—whether you’re a mortgage team or in higher education. You’re used to hammering out client needs and project details in person, and coronavirus will be a new and challenging time to learn how to reinvent your systems. One key area of focus many experts agree is to have a system or repeatable workflow in place for your client needs to reduce both errors and confusion. Using a CRM system is an excellent way to build workflows that uniformly apply the same standards to every new client or lead so you can continue to deliver top-notch customer service every time.


3. Try an integrated dialer

One thing telemarketers are learning during the coronavirus pandemic is that many people are home to field their phone calls; the same goes for your prospects. If your business is still operating during this time, it’s critical to use a tool like an integrated dialer to help you quickly connect with potential clients. Not only can you apply local presence, but integrated dialers will sync data with your CRM of choice, send SMS messages, and even do call forwarding—all critical components to keep your team’s pipeline active and converting.


4. Enable roles and permissions

With your team at home, everyone must have access to your customer and lead database with only the privileges you feel comfortable sharing. Using a CRM is a great way to establish user profiles for all of your employees and track their deal velocities and closing rates. CRMs also allow you to give employees access to only the critical info and tools they need to do their jobs while simultaneously gating off certain features, financial data, or other sensitive materials you don’t want them to see.


5. Pre-built marketing campaigns

If you’re in one of several “essential” businesses, the fact remains that you still need as many ways as possible to reach your core prospects or clients at this time. Since in-person events and meetings are out, now is a great time to leverage automated email marketing and SMS campaigns to make clients aware of what’s going on with your business, offer deals, and generally stay top of mind.


6. Use document sharing

Tools like Google Docs can be great for remote teams because they allow quick sharing, commenting, and iteration. But CRMs can add a layer of secure storage to your sensitive data and deal memos. With Shape, not only do you get secure document tools, it’s simple to share them out with your teams, clients, and prospects, attach documents to workflows, and allow customers to pay invoices or fill out inquiry forms online from the safety of their homes.


7. Try data reporting

We mentioned the psychological pitfalls of trying to be “over-productive” during this time. Instead, insist that your teams be more effective. One way to ensure this with minimal lift is to use your CRM’s data reporting tools. In Shape, this means leveraging the ability to run custom reports on every user of the system to see who is closing deals, fielding the most successful lead conversations, and getting tasks completed. It’s easy to create your custom reporting parameters and a great way to keep your team focused on the metrics that matter most to your business—not just busywork.  


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