“Our sales team is growing, but it’s so hard to control and get new starts up and running quickly”.
“I’ve got lists of lists, and hundreds of spreadsheets.”
“Yesterday I rang a prospective client, only to find my colleague had just rung them.”
“Our regional sales manager left the company and I don’t know where his sales data is. On a spreadsheet somewhere? In his head?”
“The competition is so fierce in our market and we need to be able to compete.”
Any of these sound familiar? It may be time to start looking for a customer relationship management system (CRM).
What is CRM?
If you’re a business owner, sales manager or marketeer you will have heard the term ‘CRM’ but what does it mean? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and at its simplest it is systems and processes for managing a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. When we talk about CRM we usually are talking about CRM Software. CRM software is used to organise, automate and synchronise sales, marketing and customer service. CRM has developed over the years and many have created new accroynms (not that we need more of those in IT!) including CEM (Customer Experience Management), CVM (Customer Value Management) and CCM (Customer Centric Marketing). CRM has developed to include all areas of the customer experience, keeping the customer happy and in turn keeping them loyal and more valuable to your business. It is the process of identifying potential leads/prospects, nurturing them and guiding them through the sales process to close the business.Once they are a customer it is ensuring that you maintain that relationship and encourage repeat business – either more frequent orders or higher value. Everyone knows that it is a lot easier to sell to an existing customer than to sell to a new customer, therefore recording all information (both business and personal) about a customer lets you deliver a more pleasurable experience and increases the chance of repeat business – including upselling and cross selling.
What can CRM Systems do?
From a software perspective, CRM allows you to centrally record a number of things that are currently stored on spreadsheets, notepads, phones and in people’s heads to make sure everyone is aware and everyone is working to the same goal – providing a better customer experience and winning more business. CRM systems as standard can:
– Centralise all customer information – This allows you to centrally store all the contact information, all the relationships (within your organisation and with other organisations)
– Record all communication – important emails, phone calls and letters as well as the marketing activity they have received. This can be from everyone in the organisation so you know who said what and removes the need for forwarding/CC’d emails to lots of people internally.
– Manage all quotes/orders – the number of quotes sent, any revisions, the number that have been converted to an order. Get an idea of who has the best win/loss ratio as well as finding the customers who ask for quotes but never convert to orders.
– Manage all cases/complaints – make sure everyone who speaks to a customer knows of any issues the customer is having. Resolve the issue quickly and make sure a sales rep knows about any active complaints before they attempt to sell to the customer – there is nothing worse than a salesperson making a sales call oblivious to a complaint.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can record all this information and view it from one location – the customer’s card:
Navigation – where you are in the System
Primary Info – core static information you want to record against the customer
Communication – a list of all interactions from all colleagues with the customer in one location
Contacts – who works there and what do they do
Opportunities – find out any recent/won/lost opportunities and what was quoted to them
Cases – are there any open complaints or anything you should be aware of before you engage with the customer
A CRM system will enable you to have one version of the truth and all your data will be centrally stored and accessible by everyone who needs it. They can access this same data from a laptop, tablet or phone. CRM isn’t just about data storage. With a good CRM system you will be able to respond and close service cases quicker, nurture prospects, qualify leads, send customised emails, analyse web traffic and conversions and much more. There are many blogs that will talk about this topic and it is a subject that has been stretched over the years. But going back to basics – it is the processes and procedures of providing your customers with a better experience so they spend more money with you/more often using technology to manage this information. I hope this post gave you a brief insight and helped to answer; What is CRM? If you are considering buying CRM software read our blog post about how to get the most from your CRM implementation.
What next? Subscribe to our blog at the top right of this page and get notified when we publish a new post. Visit us at our website where you can schedule a demo or register for our next Introduction to CRM webinar.
by Richard Dunlop