In many ways technology has revolutionised the way we conduct business. It has shrunk the globe for us, enable e-commerce resulting in almost anybody being able to establish an online store and sell products to customers across the globe. There are also countless stories of people running six figure businesses with nothing but their laptop.

For all the good technology has done for business, it has also brought its complications. Especially when it comes to customer relationships and customer expectations. The modern customer has become more discerning and demanding. They are also far more likely to self educate themselves when it comes to products and services.

We’ve highlighted in what is a customer contact strategy, that it could take 25 – 35 customer touch points to bring a sale to a close, with an average sales cycle taking between 6 to 18 months.

Each point in the cycle is not only an opportunity for you to provide your customer with additional information and data about your products and services, but also more importantly extract further information regarding your customer. Understanding their needs, wants and desires enables you to better position your company to provide the products they want.

In years gone by, Sales People may have managed this process using roladexes, post it notes, diaries and spreadsheets. It is also highly likely that some make use of their Email clients, calendars and task list to help manage this process. However, in todays highly competitive and globally spanning business environment this just isn’t adequate.

A Customer Relationship Management system is a software solution to help you store all your prospects and customers, make calls, send emails, create reports, schedule appointments, add notes, manage your pipeline, and find out who’s opened your latest email—without stepping out of the CRM system.

What is a CRM ?

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) enables you to manage collect, manage, share and track all your customer information and data safely and securely across your company, in order to better serve your customers.

Customer Relationship Management is an incredibly powerful business strategy and process which is usually supported by software solutions that enable your business to colaborate effectively amongst staff and third party agents and services to acquire, retain and support customers.

This is not only vitally important to grease the sales process, but also for a long time afterwards. After all isn’t it easier to sell to customers that have already bought from you?

Actively managing, nurturing and fostering customer relationships will increase sales opportunities!

This is the true importance of a CRM system. It provides your business to get a Single Customer View of your customer.

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Using your CRM system, you should be able to be able to get all the relevant information about your customer i.e When was the last time somebody spoke to them, what information have they viewed on your website, when was they last time they visited your website, how many times have they contacted customer services, what sales information have they recieved etc.

Your CRM system is as vital to the running of your business, as your Profit and Loss statement.

Making the right investments in a CRM system creates efficiencies across your business. Enabling your teams to access relevant customer data wherever they are working, allowing them to track and follow up their sales leads, customer service requests or queries. With nothing falling through the cracks or getting forgotten.

A good CRM should be a cash earning machine for your business as opposed to a cash burning system

Components of CRM

At a minimum your CRM system should support the following business functions

  • Sales Force Automation
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Support
  • Social CRM
  • e-commerce
  • Field Service
  • Analytics
  • Case Management

Benefits of CRM

Implementing a successful and comprehensive CRM strategy in your business will help too :

  • Attract new Customers
  • Retain customers through improved customer experience
  • Tracking interactions with current and prospective customers
  • Improve sharing of customer data across your organisation
  • Improve Customer understanding
  • Build Customer Loyalty
  • Increase revenue and profitability
  • Improve operational efficiencies

Conclusion

Benchmark studies have revealed that companies that have successfully implemented CRM strategies and solutions have improved revenue per salesperson by up to 41%, while at the same time reducing sales cycles by 20%.

Lead conversion rates also improved by over 300% and customer rententions rates increased by over 30%.

CRM also helps significantly improve and reducde marketing expenses by as much as 25% while improving profitablity on average between 3 – 5%.

From prospect to lead to high value client, every customers journey is captured in the CRM. The insights derived put you in a better position to recognize your needs, wants abd desires and how your business can work for them.

Not all CRM’s are equal and just implementing any old CRM in your organization may not necessarily have the desired effects. It also comes down to a customer focused mindset and the customer must be the focus of a successful CRM strategy.

A Single Customer view enables you to cross-sell and up-sell at the right moments, with higher success rates. This also reduces the chances of attrition.

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Gary Woodfine

Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.
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