Customer resource management (CRM) describes a type of software that focuses on collecting and utilizing customer data to improve all aspects of sales and support. The modern world is data-driven, and, today, even the simplest interactions can generate a wealth of lead and customer data – data that can be mined and used for everything from improving prospecting efficiency to shortening the sales process to improving customer loyalty and much more.

The power of CRM as both a sales and a productivity tool is universal across effectively all industries, including payments. Unsurprisingly, CRM adoption among ISOs and payment facilitators is accelerating as competition in the space gets tighter and companies look for new competitive advantages when recruiting and retaining merchants.

CRM in Theory and Practice 

As a theory, CRM is all about recognizing the value of information and finding ways to capture and use more of the data generated by every touch with a lead or existing customer – data that traditionally has evaporated into the ether, representing a huge missed opportunity. 

As a technology, CRM systems are software platforms designed to centralize all customer-facing aspects of a business and, in many cases, also improve organization-wide productivity using automation. By centralizing workflows, a good CRM system makes capturing, managing, and accessing customer data easier for agents working on sales; makes company-wide analytics available to management in seconds; improves productivity by minimizing platform-juggling and automating repetitive tasks; and much more. 


Applying Customer Resource Management for ISOs

Payments-specific CRM systems have been developed to cater to the unique needs of independent sales organizations. While even generic CRMs can bring a lot of value to an ISO, adopting a payments CRM extends capabilities beyond just sales to include things like onboarding and residuals management, as well. 

CRM Merchant Recruiting

The core of all CRMs is their lead databases, and a good payments CRM provides ISOs with a number of lead management and merchant recruiting benefits. 

First, lead collection can be automated so that whenever interested merchants fill out web forms, send inbound email, or even make contact via phone or SMS, the system will automatically create a lead account and begin logging each interaction. That ensures the top of the funnel is always as full as possible without breaking the bank. 

Once prospective merchants are in the system, each touch is automatically logged, and agents can access complete data on any lead in a matter of seconds from anywhere within the CRM. Having a more complete picture of each merchant ensures key information isn’t missed, enables better preparation, better understanding of merchant needs, and allows agents to deliver a more personalized sales process – an important factor in differentiation from the competition. 

CRM Merchant Onboarding

Some payments CRMs, like IRIS CRM, offer built-in automated onboarding tools that tie the CRM to processor boarding portals. In the case of IRIS CRM’s TurboApp, the system pulls the data from eSigned digital MPAs and uses it to automatically fill out a boarding application pre-configured to match the requirements of the selected processor. 

Rather than having to manually transfer data from an MPA line-by-line, agents or operations staff can automate data entry almost entirely, requiring only a review for accuracy prior to submission. Not only is the potential for costly human error drastically cut down, but the entire process is also reduced from 30 minutes or more to as little as five. That kind of boarding efficiency just isn’t possible without the data handling capabilities of a CRM. 

CRM Reporting and Residuals Management

Because CRM systems tie together everything from sales to support to marketing to communications to payments and more, they provide incredibly holistic reporting that can be consumed in as wide or as focused a scale as a user requires. In a matter of seconds, ISO managers can access easy-to-digest analytics on everything from merchant performance to portfolio composition to profitability to agent activities to open support tickets and much, much more. Reports are totally customizable and easily filterable, ensuring managers can quickly access the information they need without getting bogged down in the information they don’t. 

In addition to in-depth reporting on all aspects of ISO operations, a good CRM can save an enormous amount of time with monthly residuals management. When merchants are boarded through a system like IRIS CRM TurboApp, the agent splits are entered into the system upfront and stored for the life of the merchant’s processing relationship. As a result, when residuals numbers drop each month, the system automatically applies splits for all agents and provides an instant calculation of how much each agent is owed, without managers having to spend a single second manually crunching the numbers. Not only do managers save countless hours and avoid major headaches, but agents get paid out faster and with pinpoint accuracy every time, leading to better relationships, improved loyalty, and an advantage in recruiting top talent. 


The full list of benefits CRM systems can offer ISOs is far too long to address in any single article, because the right CRM goes far beyond sales and empowers all areas of an organization, at all levels, from the CEO to the front desk. 

To find out more about everything a top payments CRM can do for your independent sales organization, schedule a free guided demonstration of IRIS CRM today.