Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Many of you may be asking, what is CRM? CRM is a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support (Wikipedia). CRM has been developed to better organize your business, which saves time and as we all know time is money.
The following research has been broken down into three main categories of benefits: administration, customer service, and sales improvements. This should take 10-minutes to read and afterwards you will have a grasp on what CRM technology brings to your business.
Data & Analytics
CRM allows you to track purchasing, find out where customers are purchasing from (website pages), measure how long the sales process takes, and see where each current project is throughout your sales and work pipeline. The information is visible throughout your entire organization. This allows you to break down each portion of your sales funnel, and track your strong points along with problem areas. Additionally, all of your current information regarding present and past clients can be added to the CRM (this includes their order history, contact info, relationships and all interactions with your business).
Based on the information that is tracked above, you as the business owner can immediately make updates to optimize each portion of your sales funnel. CRM delivers these results immediately, allowing no time to be wasted.
CRM tracking benefits allow you to see exactly what buying or non-buying inquires are doing. You can track the entire buying process; for example, how are customers finding you, what website pages are being viewed most prior to customers taking action; the list of possibilities is endless. This gives you cues as to whether a deal is likely to close, or how long until it does. All of this information can also be tracked on an individual basis, with personal updates for each interaction.
It is not uncommon to have a Rolodex or countless excel spreadsheets; containing information on customers, their orders, sales team efforts, etc. CRM allows all of this information to be stored in one place, which is accessible by any device connected to the Internet.
Information can easily be lost or misinterpreted through the sales and production processes. CRM ensures that all information is organized and tracked with reminders and notes are input at each point of customer contact, along with each step taken by employees.
Full Organization Insight
CRM promotes all divisions of your business to work together, since everyone is on the same page. You can see everything that your sales team is doing, and your sales team can see everything that your production is accomplishing. Allowing you to accurately relay this information to customers. As a business owner you can permit or limit individuals access to certain information within your organization.
All information is gathered and are input into the CRM, which allows for less time to be wasted during customer contact sessions, since all knowledge regarding that particular customer is in one place, at your fingertips.
The gathered information can help profile your most profitable customers, allowing you to target those similar. With all this information known it then becomes easier to cross-sell between like customers, and even up-sell, by utilizing the trends found in the collected data. This information works together to help you manage customer cycles as well.
More information allows you to deliver better customer service. Specifically, you can manage each customer on a case-by-case basis. The CRM allows you to deliver quality customer service from any location, since the information can be accessed digitally from any device connected to the Internet.
Keeping up with follow-ups in a timely manner can be a difficult task to manage. CRM provides automated notifications for all service calls and points of contact. After contacting customers this information is placed in the history of your CRM, providing you with a report of all interactions. Tracking also provides feedback on what email is being opened and even clicked.
Understanding what clients are doing with presented information can ease the creation of producing compelling content. A CRM collects this feedback. This allows you to manage your service goals, along with track your audits.
Centralizing all of the collected information saves you time. As stated before CRM provides easily accessible information for all of your client history, project management and order transactions. You no longer need to be at the office or in front of your computer.
Sales teams can overlap efforts by performing the same tasks as other team members; CRM corrects this. Salesmen have the ability to update accounts as they make contact with potential customers. These updates are then visible in real-time to your entire organization. A more in-depth analysis of visibility shows that CRM saves salesmen time through: territory management, calendar integration, assigning sales tasks and automatic notifications similar to those of administrative duties.
Increase Client Account Value
CRM increases account values by letting the sales team view similar accounts to compare cross-sales and potential up-sells.
On a personal level, since all information regarding customers has been tracked, salesmen can now create personalized messages to each client they seek to interact with.
Adding New Customers
Based on the information that can be collected mentioned in the above processes, CRM can help you create a customized deal stage list, informing you what actions to take that have previously yielded the best results with existing customers.
Reaching Growth Goals
CRM tracks where each lead is coming from, therefore, you now have a scoring system for each marketing/sales method. This allows for simplified management of your goals, since the data is being reported in an easy-to-follow manner. CRM analyzes which of those leads converts into a sale. This eases the job for you, when it comes time to make decisions regarding your budget.
Tools CRM provides promote effectiveness and efficiency for your sales team. Salesmen can now: track emails (when they are opened, how often they have been opened and whether the customer interacted with the email), easily manage quotes, share activity throughout the team openly, more accurately measure sales forecasts and access this information anywhere, even from their phone. Less time spent on the above, is more time spent selling.
Greater Lead Generation
CRM setup seems overwhelming. However, you now have the opportunity to import all of the data you have placed in various locations over a period of years all into one place. This alone shows enough value to get started.
Applying CRM To Your Business
Every business is different. Some may have a large sales team; others may rely on the owners to handle all of the sales. Sales are just one aspect where CRM can help your business grow, but the point is in order for CRM to be effective, you must have it tailored to your needs. There is not a one-size-fits-all CRM plan. Speaking with a business that implements and manages CRM, should help guide you in determining what is right for you. We offer these consultations for free.
We consider CRM to be back-end, while all marketing efforts are front-end. A properly set up CRM will capture all leads and information coming from your front-end efforts. This collected information will be organized, and provide measurable data.
This is full integration of your entire sales funnel and pipeline, all being tracked in one location, without any extra effort at all, and it happens automatically. This is the beauty of CRM working with your other efforts. Value of back-end and front-end alone can help your business, however, the value of each exponentially increases as they both work together.
Bringing CRM Together
Thank you for taking the time to read through this article. It was lengthy, but we wanted to ensure an understanding of what new technologies can bring to your business.
We encourage you to share this with other business owners, and welcome any comments or questions that you may have. If you are realizing it is time to explore options we encourage you to click here to begin our next article, or click here to set up a free consultation to uncover the best-suited options for your business.