10 Ways CRM can help with ROI Calculation

22 Jul 2020

Everyone wants their business to be successful. However, most will also have a different interpretation of what that success actually is. It could be financial – to be as profitable as possible. Another business may want to assist as many people as they can. For any metrics that you want to track, you need to check that the results you are getting correlate with the effort you are putting in. Therefore, you will use some kind of ROI calculation to put your figures together.  

Some simple metrics are easy to calculate – number of clients, volume of units sold etc. You could do that ROI calculation on a basic spreadsheet or even a white board. In this post we are going to look at some of the different ways in which a CRM solution can help. 

Getting the Whole Team on Board

Your CRM is a great place to start with your ROI calculation, as you can collate an endless combination of metrics. In order to be able to do that tracking, you need your team to use the system. Sales, marketing, project management, support or customer success departments – their statistics can all be recorded once they start to use their CRM. With multiple departments on board you can also compare performance across different areas of the business. There is less danger of duplication, or information falling through the cracks than if your teams each had their own data store. 

Let’s break our ROI calculation down into areas of the business to see how you this can be done on a departmental basis. 

Seal The Deal

The sales department is usually the first place people think of when working out success benchmarks. After all, the amount that your team sells equates directly to new or recurring revenue coming in. Clearly therefore a very important metric. That actual sales journey will differ massively from business to business, and the costs and profit margins are also different. If you sell physical goods then you also need to either buy them, or manufacture them. If you deal in services then you will also have supply chains, partners and software costs to factor in. With those thoughts in mind, here are some suggested metrics for you to calculate.

1. Opportunity Duration

Your pipeline is where you have all those potential pieces of business lined up. Hopefully lots on the boil, but also some other prospects that you need to nurture longer term. But at some point, if the opportunity drags on then the return starts to diminish. If a sales person travels to multiple meetings to see a potential client and the result is a sale that is worth less than all those journeys, then it may not have been a worthwhile exercise. If you compare that with another sale that was concluded with zero travel and a couple of phone calls, you can see how Opportunity reporting is essential for your ROI calculation.

2. One-Off vs Recurring Sales Orders

If your business is based on subscriptions, then you will want to keep a close eye on your recurring sales orders. One-off sales might be good short-term cash injections, but those monthly recurring orders are evidence of how many subscribers you have. If the volume of recurring orders goes up, then you are heading in the right direction. But should you notice a drop in orders going out, then you will need to intervene.

Spread the Word

You might have lots of different types of marketing campaigns. For today’s blog post I am going to focus on two scenarios. Firstly, emails where you are targeting new and existing customers to drum up some new sales. Secondly, you may want to send out some messages covering product or brand awareness. Here the principal goal is more about relationship-building rather than with a straightforward financial target. 

3. Sales Campaigns

Within campaigns, you can set yourself a budget, where you can track expenditure. From the campaign, you can also associate any sales records – opportunities, quotes, sales orders or invoices. For a very simple ROI calculation of a particular campaign, you can compare the two figures to see if the income outweighs expenses. 

4. Building Relationships

If the sole purpose of your campaign is to share information or promote brand awareness, you can track statistics such as opens, clicks and unsubscribes. Maybe you will be surprised at which links people are clicking most on. If you are getting a high unsubscribe rate you may want to review either the information you’re including in the newsletter, or the frequency at which you are sending it.


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Delivering the Goods

A Project in your CRM system is where you can track the delivery of what was promised by the sales team to a client. If your sales team sold 10 hours to carry out a piece of work, then in an ideal world your projects team will take 10 hours to complete the task. You can lot the time spent on Activities against a project total, giving you an easy way of calculating a total Project Time. That’s where your project management metrics come into play.

5. Project Time

Some of that time might be spent on internal tasks, which you may consider to be non-chargeable. Factors such as staff training or documentation will not necessarily be billed back to the client. By breaking the time spent on a Project into chargeable and non-chargeable components you can carry out your ROI calculation to ensure that the sales and projects teams are working hand in hand.

6. Project Cost

Projects can also incur expenses. You may need to hire meeting rooms, pay for travel, food or accommodation. Whether this is a project related to a client, or an internal job, you will want to see how much it has cost. As with the time fields, you can calculate the costs relating to individual activities and compile them against the project.

We’ve got a Tuesday Tip all about managing Project time and costs if this is something you’re interested in.

A Helping Hand

Even with the best training and documentation, your clients will still get stuck here and there. Anyone who has worked in a support environment will know that whilst there are common topics that appear time and time again, no two days are ever the same. The following ROI calculations are designed to help with the management for your Helpdesk.

7. Number of Tickets Overall

In an ideal world, the number of tickets appearing in a given period should be fairly consistent Those day-to-day “how-to” type questions will always be around, as some customers may prefer getting a direct answer rather than relying on a user guide (which may not be written in their native language). If you notice a spike in the volume of tickets, this may be an indication that something is amiss.

8. Nature of Tickets

This works hand in hand with the above ROI calculation, but allows you to drill into the issues in more detail. If you notice that you are getting a lot of tickets about a particular feature, then this could be down to something not quite working as anticipated. The feature itself may be fine, but you might want to revisit your documentation to make things more self-explanatory. 

9. Number of Tickets per Client

Although this metric is more closely related to the idea of customer success and satisfaction, it also has a bearing on your ROI calculation, as you may find some clients are heavily reliant on support. Rather than firefighting these issues, it may be more worthwhile to take a step back and address the root cause, which could be a lack of training. This leads onto the final subject on the list…

Customer Success and Satisfaction

Customer Success (CS) is a relatively new role that can act as a conduit between the other teams. If a department such as Support tends to be reactive then CS can be more proactive. Support might recognise that recurring problems are due to misuse of a product or service. CS can then get involved and address that root cause, rather than papering over cracks. Similarly, when a Project is concluded, CS may want to get involved. Typically this will be to see if the client has planned their next steps. It really makes sense to keep in touch – after having established a relationship with your client, why would you stop communicating with them? Customer retention is cheaper and easier than new customer acquisition, so you should make the most of your existing client base.

10. Tracking Customer Lifetime Value

For those subscription-based products and services, you need to factor in how long you need to retain a client, for there to be a positive ROI. I’m sure you’ve all seen the ads for magazines where the first issue in the subscription is an artificially low sum? This offer draws you in. Thereafter you rely on the quality of your product being high enough to retain the client long enough to make them profitable.

Given that your sales team will be selling different types of subscription and other bolt-ons, you are unlikely to have a one-size-fits-all statistic you can use to calculate the lifetime value but there are various models out there to help you with this. When you factor in other elements mentioned above such as number of tickets raised of if they have an ongoing project, then you start to get a more rounded picture of how your client feels about you. Therefore your CS team can get actively involved. Keeping customers happy, minimising frustration, and ultimately increasing the lifetime value of that client.

You’ve got the data, now put it to work!

As mentioned at the start, each business will define success in their own terms (including the return on their own CRM system). In order to ensure you are on track to reach those goals, you need to get your ROI calculations configured in all the right places – starting right in the heart of your CRM system.