What is CRM?

What is CRM?

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a broad term that covers concepts used by organizations to manage their relationships with potential and existing customers, including collecting, storing and analyzing pertinent, detailed information about the customer.

CRM software provides a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by improving customer loyalty. CRM brings together information from all areas of a company (sales, marketing, customer service and management departments) to provide a complete view of each customer. This allows company representatives to make quick and informed decisions when communicating with a prospect or customer.

Why is it important to my business?

The sole purpose of CRM software is to manage the customer experience – from getting a new customer to keeping a customer after their first purchase or initial experience with your company.  CRM software can access information on products purchased, service contracts, defects and much more.  In a negative economy, the Customer Experience is vital to retaining and attracting new customers.  Industry research illustrates that customers are willing to spend more with a business that provides a better experience.  CRM software provides a standard framework for enhancing your existing customer experience, pushing new customer information through a sales pipeline and managing it, and providing the best possible customer service to your existing customers.  With CRM software, you can impress its contacts with quick, in-depth responses from initial customer contact to long after the sale is complete.


Using CRM to attract new customers

Having a good lead generation system in any sales organization today is critical. Prospects can be found in a multitude of ways; however, how your organization chooses to plan with those leads is another. Your pipeline and targets require that you keep a close eye on how those leads are managed.

Here are some helpful suggestions to improve the quality and quantity of leads.

You can:

1) Ensure that all staff understands what a good lead is. Studies indicate that 90 percent of leads sent to salespeople are never followed up on. This often occurs because the lead is sent to the wrong person or the prospect is not ready to meet with a salesperson. The company should have a solid definition of what a good lead is before the leads are sent to the sales area of an organization.

2) Use a CRM tool. Customer Relationship Management will help organize salespeople’s conversations and will help with better follow up.

3) Find out the source. Where did the organization calling/contacting you hear about your services or product offerings? In order to know what is working from a marketing perspective, you have to know from where the business is being driven.

4) Share any leads within 48 hours via CRM. By doing this, you are showing you care and setting yourself apart from your competitors. It will also increase your closing ratios.

5) Take care of your leads. They may not be ready to buy now but at some point they will be, and you want them to think of you when they reach that stage. Prospects need multiple contacts with an organization before they are confident and willing to consider buying from you.

6) Learn from the process. Save interesting information about customers and prospects within CRM Software. Record the names of your competitors that might win deals from you, why they won, will the account serve as a referral or not, what products do they own etc. This information can be saved in a CRM system and can prove very valuable for future interactions with other clients and prospects.

7) Motivate your sales staff. Ask great questions and really find out how you can solve the client’s needs. Whoever in your organization is generating leads should gather as much information as possible both before and after the interaction. Ensure that they are talking with the decision maker in each organization.

8) Treat your prospects like clients. By gathering as much information as possible and storing within a CRM tool, virtually anyone in the organization should be able to handle a call. Treating them like a client before they are one, will make your prospects want to proceed further with you in the sales process .

9) Gauge your results. First ask yourself, “What am I going to measure and why?” This will enable you to gather the correct information. Getting the correct information will help to determine where time and money are best spent for your biggest return on investment.

10) Hold regular company meetings with anyone who impacts the sales process. You should review quality of leads, deals won and lost, and utilize your CRM system, so you can continue to be successful in sales.

Finally, ensure that you have the right prospects in your database. Many organizations feel they are knowledgeable on who their customers are, however they are surprised when they take a closer look at their customer base within their CRM. Ensure that all staff have a good understanding of what your ideal customer looks like, including their attributes etc. These attributes can include geography, size of organization, products, territory, credit and contract types etc. Once you’ve defined this, you can use this as a guide to find new prospects.


Using CRM for Customer Service

The key to outstanding customer service is fast, accurate answers. A CRM solution makes outstanding customer service a reality by delivering a full-scale customer service and help desk management system that enables users to track customer service inquiries, incidents and problems.

Sales, marketing and customer service professionals have demanding jobs that pull them in many directions. CRM software from Oncontact Software brings order to even the most hectic schedule.

1) Be a smart company. Every company makes its clients feel important during the sales cycle, but enhancing and building upon those relationships with CRM is what will set your company apart. Smart companies realize that the customer relationship is actually just getting started after the sale is made.

2) Know your customers. CRM maintains a complete history of all your customer’s open and closed issues. The system’s knowledge base allows service representatives to search all customer issues to quickly determine the most efficient and effective way of resolving them. Business rules can be built into the system to ensure that the proper escalation procedures are being followed. In addition, managers are dialed into any lingering, unresolved issues while ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.

3) Impress your customers. Your customers will be impressed by the consistent messages your organization delivers. They’ll appreciate the exceptional service. And this invaluable information will be accessible to the entire organization – everyone will see exactly what is going on. That means your company will be able to respond to any question or concern. And quickly.

Just imagine the flawless service you’ll offer your customers – and how happy they’ll be – when you implement CRM.


Using CRM for Marketing 

Also included in a CRM package is marketing functionality. The maketing area should come complete with call center features to maximize your marketing dollars by allowing you to create, execute, manage and track successful campaigns that increase leads and generate sales.

1) Gather information easily. Making sense of the vast amount of information in your database is often a daunting task for marketing professionals. You track all interactions with your customers and prospects, profile them, service their accounts and you keep building this data repository over the years. Now there’s an easier way.

2) Target the perfect audience. CRM software can allow you to run searches on any combination of data that is stored in the system. This allows you to pinpoint the exact audience you would like to reach. After this is accomplished, you can execute all sorts of campaigns – direct mail, email, call center, you name it – in a matter of minutes.

3) Automate results. CRM software lets you accurately track, analyze and measure your marketing campaigns, just as easily as it is to launch them. You can build automated events that are triggered based on the rules that you define. Constantly track results so you can determine things like cost per lead, cost per opportunity, number of sales, total amount sold per campaign, and more.

4) Email integration. CRM makes email integration a breeze. The solution provides comprehensive bi-directional integration with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes so you can work in either environment.

With Outlook email integration, all interactions are stored in the database so there is no need to search through your email folders. In addition, you can send an HTML email to a large number of people using the mass assign function while managing the email responses seamlessly between both applications.

With CRM, you have the power to take control of your data. All you need to do is develop the marketing messages. CRM will make sure that delivering and tracking them is quick and easy.

Give your company the competitive edge it needs with a flexible and effective customer relationship management system. The right CRM solution will equip you with a complete 360-degree view of your organization, provide flawless customer service and help you achieve a winning sales environment by taking your business to the next level.