It is evident, that in order to stay competitive companies have to spend on technology based solutions. When a small organization or business has a limited number of buyers and suppliers, and the business is managed by two or three people, it is capable of delivering excellence services and it’s also able to keep its various business processes efficient enough. But for a big company with several branches, it becomes essential to put extra efforts to keep productivity high. Logically, in their pursuit of excellent performance companies at one point or another start to look at several technological solutions. Apart from bookkeeping, which is by this time already fairly computerized, the problem is what is the next important priority? Is it a Customer Relationship Management?
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is about enhanced understanding of customer’s wants and activities, and developing and implementing professional tactics and supporting technologies that close the gaps between an enterprise’s current and potential performance in customer growth, retention, and acquisition. Its center of devotion is handling and improving customer life cycle and building proper relationship among sales forces, company departments, and customers which in turn helps increasing company efficiency.
CRM has gradually become an important business method. Its primary aim is to return to one-on-one personal marketing. The notion is to create a customer centered sales and marketing approach based on cumulative vital info about a customer such as their previous purchasing trend, preference and needs.
By applying a CRM solution, a business may expect to
· Personalize and improve customer service without increasing cost of service
· Optimize customer life cycle
· Increase the company’s ability to retain and acquire customers
To receive these benefits, a company need to clearly understand its need. CRM is not a technological miracle that will bring intense change in company efficiency. CRM is about extensively changing of the mindset across the company and make it a customer-oriented initiative. Before installing a CRM system, the company need to understand what it wants to achieve. Does it want to make selling process more efficient? Is the company trying to target and acquire the right customer segment or is the goal to improve customer service?
CRM includes following customer related applications:
Sales Force Automation
v Activity Management: A combination of task, calendar and scheduling management solution for sales department.
v Contact Management: Helps tracking, maintaining and managing customer info and contact histories for present customers.
v Communication Management: Use for messaging and emails management
v Product e-Catalog: Necessary for accurate product specification and prices
v Pipeline Management: Uses for analyzing and managing sales pipeline
v Document Management: Helps managing, creating and storing documents
v Lead Management: Helps managing potential business and leads opportunity
v Sales forecasting: Helps projecting and analyzing future sales targets and goals
Why adopt a CRM solution?
A CRM solution will provide real-time access to stored data about a client and related matters. The data if properly analyzed by sales force can manage interaction with the customer more effectively, create sales forecast, develop and manage sales pipeline. Thanks to the information available at their fingertips, support team can manage to give personalized customer care. Going by the 20/80 principle 20% of customers are responsible for 80 % of company profit. It is completely essential to retain the loyalty of these customers. Why retaining an existing client is so vital;
- It takes an average 8 calls in order to close a deal with a new customer and only two to three in the case of an existing customer.
- The cost of selling to an existing customer is far cheaper compared to the cost of acquiring a new customer.
- 5% increase in expenses in keeping existing customers converts into 25 % or more increase in profitability.
Other clear advantages of a CMR solution include its ability to:
- Improved customer service
- Revenue increase per customer
- Efficient sales Management
- Effective products sell
- Help close deals faster
- Call centers efficiency
- Marketing and sales processes streamline
What should a company know before adopting a CRM solution?
As stated earlier CRM is not a magic pill to company efficiency improvement. Hence, in order to get maximum result, a company must clearly understand its needs and only then can they adopt a CRM system. however good the CRM solution, if the solution does not correspondent to staff belief i.e. if they don’t receive the required training and don’t plainly appreciate the changes in business developments, the danger of a good technology going bad is pretty high!