CRM (customer relationship management) literary means managing your relationship with your customer. That applied when the term was first coined. Today, it refers to the IT systems and software that are designed to manage this relationship. CRM has evolved into a strategy that entails all your company’s interactions with your customers and potential customers. This is whether it is sales or service-oriented.
Why CRM Systems are Important
Why do customers stop being customers? There are numerous reasons: They may have moved to a different location, they might have gone out of business, or perhaps they have gone to a rival company. However, these reasons are only responsible for a small proportion of customer loss- about 30%. The rest of the customers leave for another reason- they feel ignored or unsatisfied with a company and its products. They feel that their suppliers have neglected them. A business cannot do without its customers. It needs them for its survival and success.
A business needs to ideate strong personal bonds among people. Once such a personal and emotional linkage has been created, it becomes very easy for an organization to identify the actual needs of customer. Consequently, this helps them to serve the customers in a better way. As a business grows, such relationships tend to become scattered and fleeting. It becomes difficult to maintain relationships that are truly personal. At the start of a business, you might be able to keep track of 10, 20 or even 50 clients. What happens when the numbers grow into their hundreds, thousands or millions? It reaches a point where you just cannot keep track of them and all their associated tasks and events. As a business leader, you have to find ways to develop and sustain the business’s relationships with its customers and prospects. That is where CRM systems come in.
CRM Features that are Important for your Business
- Contact Database
This is key for any CRM system. It should allow you to enter and maintain various bits of information about your customers and business prospects. This includes data like names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Sometimes large customers come with several contacts. For such scenarios, the CRM system should have the ability of managing a group of contacts that are related to one customer. In case there are any changes to be made, you want them to happen as fast as possible and be reflected throughout the system. Otherwise there will be confusion when making the sales and getting feedback. This database has numerous uses. For one, it helps you keep in touch with your customers. It also helps you to profile them. How you can segment them into groups with various buying patterns and distribution channels. Your business can then better serve a specific customer segment by developing new products or services. You can even create a new distribution channel.
- Report Generator
Getting more customer feedback means that you have more information to track. You will need to assess how, when, and why customers are making purchasing decisions. A CRM does more than track and store the customer data. It also packages the information into easy-to-use and meaningful reports. That way, you will be in a position to make well-informed decisions for your business and its products. CRM solutions give business leaders access to decision-making analytics, both for sales and for marketing. You will manage to address demand and solve issues with the products already in supply. It also enables you to select campaigns and target consumer groups, define and apply treatment strategies, and also measure results across both online and offline channels. You will also manage to build results back into the planning process for your future campaigns. Consequently, your sales will increase, resulting in revenue and business growth.
- Enhanced Email Campaigns
At the initial stages of a business, when you have five clients, answering individual emails one at a time may not seem like a big deal. When your business grows, such an approach will only slow you down. Your business will have an email bottleneck that increases response time. A CRM system worth its mettle will enhance mail efficiency. This will enable marketers and salespeople to launch and keep track of campaigns. It will enable the customer service personnel to address issues as soon as they pop up. All email issues should also be stored and tracked within the CRM system. This will give you more control of the entire communication process between your business prospects.
- Mobile access
How efficient are your business operations? How easy is it to access and use data? CRMs help two ways: First, through remote access, where the CRM data is visible on a computer screen; and secondly, when it is visible on handheld devices. The latter is very important, for instance when it comes to field sales personnel. They need to access contact information and other items such as sales collateral and data from your back-office systems and organizational schedules to enable them to complete deals. This enables real-time tracking of tasks and sales and increased agility. This enhanced mobility supports your enterprise by optimizing its processes.
Every successful CRM system has been customized in some way. That is because every business is unique. Different businesses have different demands. CRM systems are not rigid- their flexibility allows them to support the operations of different businesses, enabling you to get a value return for your purchase. You want a CRM solution that you can tailor to your specifications. That way, your business will be able to run with the right traction it needs.
Remember to go for a CRM system with efficient quality control mechanisms. An effective CRM system provides the highest level of security for your data. Firm administrators should also be able to set permissions to ensure that sensitive information in the CRM system can only be accessed by the appropriate staff.
Jose Cid is a Business Intelligence Consultant, Educator and Coach. Throughout his life he has been helping people inside and outside of the work environment. His motto can be translated into a simple equation: Knowledge + Intelligence + Action = Growth ©. Please visit www.josecid.ca for other articles and to know more about the services he offers. Cid also writes in Portuguese, his articles can be found at www.empreendedorismonocanada.ca.
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