Running a business? You will need a CRM software
CRM software is an approach to 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.
Characteristics of a CRM software
Relationship management is a customer-oriented feature with service response based on customer input, one-to-one solutions to customers’ requirements, direct online communications with customer and customer service centres that help customers solve their issues.
Sales force automation.
This function can implement sales promotion analysis, automate tracking of a client’s account history for repeated sales or future sales, and also coordinate sales, marketing, call centres, and retail outlets in order to realise the salesforce automation.
Use of technology.
This feature is about following the technology trends and skills of value delivering using technology to make “up-to-the-second” customer data available.
It applies data warehouse technology in order to aggregate transaction information, to merge the information with CRM products, and to provide KPI (key performance indicators).
This feature helps the company to manage unpredictable growth and demand and implement a good forecasting model to integrate sales history with sales projections.
CRM software in developing and maintaining client relationships.
Increasingly CRM software is expanding outside of the core sales and marketing areas and systems are available that incorporate support and finance data also into the CRM view that a user gets, enabling a wider holistic view of a customer from one screen for a user.
Customer relationship management systems track and measure marketing campaigns over multiple networks. These systems can track customer analysis by customer clicks and sales.
The benefits of implementing a CRM software are many, for example,
- Increased customer loyalty may increase usage levels
- Secure future revenues
- Minimize the likelihood of customer defection.
CRM software in customer contact centres
CRM systems are customer relationship management platforms. The goal of the system is to track, record, store in databases, and then determine the information in a way that increases customer relations.
The CRM software codifies the interactions between you and your customers so that you can maximize sales and profit using analytics and KPIs to give the users as much information on where to focus their marketing and customer service to maximize revenue and decrease idle and unproductive contact with your customers.
Growing in popularity is the idea of gamifying customer service environments. The repetitive and tedious act of answering support calls all day can be draining, even for the most enthusiastic customer service representative.
When agents are bored with their work, they become less engaged and less motivated to do their jobs well. They are also prone to make mistakes.
Gamification tools can motivate agents by tapping into their visceral need for reward, status, achievement, and competition.
CRM software in Business-to-Business (B2B) market
The modern environment requires one business to interact with another via the web.
According to a Sweeney Group definition, CRM software is “all the tools, technologies and procedures to manage, improve, or facilitate sales, support and related interactions with customers, prospects, and business partners throughout the enterprise”.
It assumes that CRM is involved in every B2B transaction.
Despite the general notion that CRM systems were created for the customer-centric businesses, they can also be applied to B2B environments to streamline and improve customer management conditions.
B2C andB2B CRM systems are not created equally and different CRM software applies to B2B and Business-to-Customer (B2C) conditions.
B2B relationships usually have longer maturity times than B2C relationships. For the best level of CRM operation in a B2B environment, the software must be personalized and delivered at individual levels.
Differences between CRM software for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customers (B2C)
B2B and B2C marketing operate differently, and that is why they cannot use the same software. All the differences are focused on the approach of these two types of businesses:
B2B companies have smaller contact databases than B2C.
The amount of sales in B2B is relatively small.
Relationships in B2B environment are built over a longer period of time.
B2B CRM must be easily integrated with products from other companies. Such integration enables the creation of forecasts about customer behaviour based on their buying history, bills, business success, etc.
An application for a B2B company must have a function to connect all the contacts, processes and deals among the customers segment and then prepare a paper.
Automation of sales process is an important requirement for B2B products. It should effectively manage the deal and progress it through all the phases towards signing.
A crucial point is personalization. It helps the B2B company to create and maintain a strong and long-lasting relationship with the customer.
To help the company communicate with their clients more effectively, there should be integration with the company’s email system.
What are some characteristics of a good CRM software?
Ease of integration
Avoid replacing these support systems, companies need their CRM systems to integrate seamlessly. A lack of proper integration can lead to longer project timelines and increased costs.
Compliance with standards-based architecture
Open architectures make it far easier to develop interfaces to the many legacy and operational systems that may be required for an implementation, and make it easier to maintain.
Ease of customization
CRM software should be easily customized to meet specific business needs. Upgradability is also a key consideration.
To deliver ease of customization, CRM systems must exemplify the following characteristics: system extensibility, including database, user interface and business logic; ease of end-user reconfigurability; an integrated development environment; support for industry-standard customization tools; upgradability of all customizations; and extendable and modular architecture.
Many companies say that mapping their business rules to software is one of the biggest “pain points” of implementing a CRM system.
CRM software has changed management capabilities that allow IT departments, customer care executives and marketing departments to quickly and easily query and modify systems to accommodate the fast-changing needs of the marketplace. In any implementation, the biggest mistake is to let the technology features drive CRM functionality.
CRM means changing your focus and the business processes to support it and then applying technology to automate those new processes. This is why CRM software needs to be customized.
Ease of Scalability
Scalability is important because it addresses business needs into the future. For CRM software to be successful, it must be able to handle the volume of customer inquiries, orders and other information it receives daily.
Scalability means not only adding new users and application modules, but also supporting real-time distributed databases, wireless and disconnected users, and multiple interaction channels.
An open, standards-based architecture is vital for delivering CRM scalability. Software is needed that will grow with the business as it adds modules, features, users, customers and Web users.
Rich Out-of-the-Box Functionality
The depth and robustness of a CRM software vendor’s out-of-the-box functionality are critical to a successful implementation.
The greater the functionality, the less customization is required. While it’s true that there is no such thing as off-the-shelf CRM, quick and easy functionality enables implementation, supports the organization’s business processes and delivers faster return on investment.
Business Process Integration
Process flows determine the course of the customer life cycle and the manner in which it’s managed, ensuring repeatability, consistency and efficiency.
With business processes running through multiple fronts- and back-office systems, it’s imperative to be able to manage and display these processes through a single, unified front end — both to improve call centre effectiveness and customer satisfaction.
Out-of-the-box process flows and management tools deliver all of these benefits, as well as cutting the amount of customization required — shortening the time to production and lowering implementation costs.
Actionable Customer Data
A CRM system can enable companies to cut costs and increase efficiencies in business processes that touch every facet of an organization.
In the contact centre, agents require more than just data; they need information upon which they can act quickly and confidently to maximize every customer interaction.
Troubleshooting groups resolve problems more efficiently and ensure that issues need be resolved only once.
Sales are provided greater insight into customers so it can anticipate their needs and offer valuable solutions proactively, and analytics capabilities ensure that marketing campaigns always have the highest possible success rate.
Particularly in high-volume contact centres, the total emphasis on the creation of a 360-degree view of a customer leads to a flawed CRM strategy and doesn’t necessarily lead to more profitable customer relationships.
Agents require information that clearly directs them to the desired outcome. Insights gleaned from customer analytics may not be presented in an appropriate form for the agent.
A better use of 360-degree knowledge of the customer is to present this knowledge to the agent as actionable data. These prompts can occur as a flash on the agent’s desktop or as an automatic trigger of relevant scripts.
But the key is to focus on providing actionable information that will achieve the desired result.
In addition to all of the above issues, it’s critical to monitor and measure the success of the CRM software implementation on an ongoing basis.
This isn’t a one-time event, but an ongoing process, from presales through the many phases of the CRM software implementation.
Measuring ROI is crucial in times of tight IT budgets. All business units must be a part of the assessment in order to present an accurate picture of the ROI achieved. In today’s increasingly competitive market, companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need for CRM to focus on individual relationships and maximize profitability.
Keeping all of these important factors in mind will ensure a successful execution of a CRM strategy.
1. Save Time
A CRM software automates a lot of the usual time-devouring tasks, giving salespeople more time to do what they are actually paid to do: namely, sell to prospects.
More time spent in front of potential customers (instead of shuffling paper) means more sales, which makes everyone happy.
2. Look Professional
Which do you think looks better to a prospect: a salesperson who keeps all their information in a computer database and can pull up vital details immediately, or one who keeps their information on Post-It notes and has to scramble for ten minutes just to find the scheduled appointment time?
3. Save Money
Sure, the more impressively arrayed CRMs can cost a lot of money. But if you don’t need quite that much technology working for you, it’s easy to find less expensive or even free alternatives.
And just think how much you’ll save on Post-It notes if you’re putting all that information into the computer instead.
If the whole sales team is using the same CRM software, then it’s easy to share that information as needed.
Most CRMs allow you to develop templates for phone scripts or frequently used emails, and the team can share these templates.
Many CRMs even support mobile devices, so you can access all that information from your iPhone or enter a few quick notes right from the prospect’s office.
What happens when the nightly cleaning crew accidentally throws out someone’s Post-It archive? With a CRM software, information is usually stored either in a central database or in the CRM provider’s system.
At the very least each salesperson can back up copies of their individual databases to another computer.
6. Faster Lead Generation
A good CRM software can help immensely with lead generation.
For instance, many CRMs can integrate with website and social media campaigns, sending leads from these sources directly to the appropriate salesperson.
That means the sales team is spending less cold-time and more time working warm leads, which tend to be far more fruitful. And by tracking each salesperson’s activities, it can keep lead lists up to date – so that you don’t have five different salespeople calling the same lead.
7. Simplified Goal-Setting
By pulling all the data together into one place, CRMs make it easy to track performance both within and across the team.
CRMs can also bring all this information together into reports that help with forecasting. Having this level of analysis available makes setting the next period’s goals much easier… and makes it more likely that these goals will align with reality.
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