Salespeople use every possible way to convince a potential customer. Extensive promotion, regular telephone and e-mail contact, personalized offer aimed at the needs and expectations of the recipient. All this is to ensure that in the eyes of the customer the company represented by the salesman appears as a reliable, solid and determined business partner. Often this is exactly what happens and the sale of the product takes place. And what comes after that?
Finalizing the transaction often also marks the end of the company's relationship with the customer in question. Set on generating more leads, salespeople do not strive to create any bond with them and consequently lose them to competing service providers. So how to make sure that once conducted with a given customer, the transaction is repeated, and the effort put into acquiring them does not end with a single sales contract and brings tangible benefits to the company? The answer to this question is a CRM system.
Below you will learn what a CRM system is and how it should be viewed. You will understand the importance of smooth communication between the company's various departments, its employees and the importance of building long-term relationships with customers for your business. We will also tell you what to look for when choosing a service provider and how to get the most out of a CRM program.
Table of contents
- What is CRM?
- What does working with a CRM system involve?
- What characterizes the best CRM systems?
- Who were CRM systems developed for and who will benefit from them?
What is CRM?
At the outset, it would be appropriate to clarify the meaning of the abbreviation CRM itself. It comes from the English name of the system which literally means customer relationship management. As can be inferred, entrepreneurs using a CRM system in their activities pay most attention precisely to customer contact.
This statement will seem rather unsurprising. Every good salesman should make every effort to sell the product he offers. However, today, when the number of similar products being offered floods the market, it is no longer a matter of conducting a one-time transaction. It is much more important to gain a permanent audience for our services. So how do we make a once-acquired customer with their needs head to us?
What does working with a CRM system involve?
We said to ourselves that the CRM system is for customer relationship management. However, touching on this issue, it is necessary to understand that this system is not just a program, but a kind of philosophy on which success-oriented entrepreneurs decide to base their company's strategy. How, then, to describe the assumptions that the implementation of a CRM system is intended to achieve?
The essence of using a CRM system is to improve all processes in the company that serve customer service. This allows you to effectively keep a once-acquired contractor with you by establishing a relationship with him based on loyalty and trust. Developing this relationship can seem complicated and time-consuming. With the implementation of CRM-class system solutions, it becomes much simpler. All thanks to the functions it can perform in the company.
Communication is the cornerstone. Unfortunately, it is usually the most problematic sphere of ongoing interdepartmental cooperation at the company's headquarters. Often, too, there is a situation where the flow of information between employees of one department is disrupted. What are the consequences of this?
First of all, some of the data relevant to the sales process may be lost. The tools available in the CRM system allow the collection of key information, i.e. the name of the company, contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses to its representatives. It is also possible to record information that is relevant to the salesman interacting with the customer, such as the customer's expectations of the service, his priorities. As a result, no matter who looks at the contractor's data and when, he will be able to visualize his interlocutor and make a specific offer to him in an appropriate manner.
The human factor is the most common and even unavoidable cause of any negligence. It happens that someone forgets to make an appointment to call a customer or fails to delegate this duty to his replacement. This not only creates a nervous atmosphere that is not conducive to work. In this way, the company loses in the eyes of the customer and, consequently, the customer himself.
To help prevent similar situations, the CRM system enables automation of many processes and activities. This improves the work of more departments, such as sales, marketing and customer service. A reminder to renew a phone contact, automatic sending of an updated offer to regular contractors. Everything that was previously the responsibility of an employee, today the system, integrated with the company's software, has taken over to a great extent.
If we're looking for what definitely sets CRM software apart from other systems, it's its analytics function. Collecting data from all company sources, the system continuously monitors the status of individual leads. Based on these, it is possible to determine the next steps necessary to finalize a given transaction.
However, this function is not limited to examining the data of the current day. An extensive analytical system allows forecasting sales in future periods. This makes it possible to accurately plan an effective company strategy for the coming months.
What characterizes the best CRM systems?
There are many CRM programs available on the market today, but not every one can be counted among the top-of-the-line products. So it is worth pointing out what elements a good CRM program should contain and what benefits we can expect from using them. So what features will satisfy the expectations of even the most demanding CRM users?
Integration with commercial software
The importance of archiving documents is well known to every business owner. Storing purchase invoices or purchase contracts is the basis for documenting the organization's activities.
Thanks to the integration of the CRM system with the ERP system, we do not have to worry about repeatedly entering the same documents into the database. Automatic integration allows for the immediate transfer of all information from the sales program to the CRM database. In this way, we not only eliminate the possibility of a mistake when rewriting invoice data one by one, but also save valuable time of our employees.
When integrating ERP and CRM systems, the exchange of information should include such elements as:
- invoices and payments
- products and services and their prices
Management of sales opportunities, coordination of activities and internal communication
Managing sales processes is one of the most important tasks of a company. The success of the enterprise is determined by the consistent execution of a detailed previously developed plan. An advanced CRM system turns out to be a huge help in this regard.
The ability to design multiple sales campaigns simultaneously will prove useful in situations where we deal with several different products simultaneously. Each of our sales teams can operate independently. Thanks to the transparent design of the system, these teams remain under the watchful eye of the salesman overseeing the process, who has access to information on each of the created campaigns at any time.
A function conducive to the organization of work and coordination of activities will be the built-in CRM communicator. Thanks to it, we can count on an efficient, smooth exchange of information between the company's employees, as well as between its various departments. In this way we will eliminate one of the biggest problems of various organizations, which is disrupted communication between employees.
Complete customer database
The customer base is undoubtedly what is essential in building a group of regular business partners. Once entered into the system, a contractor will remain there forever. CRM program relieves us of the need to keep a separate inventory, for example, in the form of Word or Excel files.
The CRM program's contractor database gives the user the ability to apply appropriate filtering of the displayed data. This allows us to isolate particular groups of customers, such as potential customers, regular customers, or those with whom the company has already ended cooperation.
Gathering information about customers in one place, we are sure that no important details will not be lost, destroyed or, as it happens, will not go to the competition along with the changing place of employment of a member of staff. At the same time, the CRM system guarantees effective protection of sensitive data.
A conscientiously maintained database of contractors also has a significant impact on the relationships built with them. This is because in the customer card we will find all the relevant information for this purpose. These are not just phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Thanks to the compendium, we also gain insight into the history of orders placed by the customer, which allows us to create further offers for them in no time.
By keeping a record of all events in one place, we also avoid the risk of repeatedly contacting a customer about the same issue, which could affect our image as a reliable and organized business. We also know what decisions were made during previous discussions with the customer. What's more, additional records, regarding the individual characteristics and needs of the client, will allow us to establish a bond with the client, which is likely to result in a relationship based on loyalty, respect and trust.
Already aware of how much data our CRM system stores, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't have the ability to communicate with the company's email inbox. Email correspondence is one of the main paths of communication between a salesman and a customer. The number of messages exchanged in a day with a single contractor can sometimes make one's head spin. When you are running several different campaigns at the same time, finding a specific email becomes quite a challenge.
The CRM system, fully integrated with the e-mail inbox, eliminates this obstacle. The program allows you not only to read incoming correspondence and respond to it, but also to combine it with other program functions. The combination of the two systems also means access to conversations from the customer's card, which guarantees saving valuable time.
Mobile application and contractor location on the map
Although customer service is largely conducted electronically, it is often necessary to hold a meeting in reality, especially when we are talking about the case of a prospective customer just acquired. With dynamic sales and a packed schedule, it's hard to expect a sales rep to fit all relevant information into a handy calendar, and to easily find it there at any time.
To streamline the work of visiting sales representatives, the best CRM systems offer their users a special mobile application. Compatible with popular operating systems such as Android and iOS, the application allows instant access to the most relevant customer data. Through the tool it is also possible to take notes or, for example, create new tasks and contacts.
Along with the mobile application, some service providers offer us the possibility to display the contractor's location on a map. This feature will also be appreciated by sales representatives working in the field. With this option it is possible to schedule several meetings with different customers in a similar location. This will not only save time, but also reduce the costs the company incurs for business travel.
Who were CRM systems developed for and who will benefit from them?
Wondering for whom the CRM class programs were created and who will benefit from them, let us briefly summarize all the previous paragraphs. Let the answer to this question be a list of profits that a company will bring by correct implementation of a CRM system:
- systematization of knowledge about cooperation with customers
- building a strong customer database
- improving quality in customer service
- building an ongoing relationship with the customer
- improving communication between employees and departments of the company
- convenient work planning
- automation of processes
- effective use of working time
- minimizing the risk of mistakes caused by the human factor
- reduction of various types of costs, including those related to business trips
CRM s a tool whose task is to support and organize the processes taking place in our company. It doesn't matter whether we run a small family business, an enterprise of moderate size or an organization whose headquarters can be found all over the world. CRM was created for every entrepreneur.
Responding to diverse problems requires diverse solutions. That is why it is necessary to carefully analyze the current needs of our business before choosing a service provider. Maybe instead of purchased software, a cloud-based CRM system will turn out to be the best solution for us?
However, regardless of how extensive our chosen CRM system will be, we can be sure that its implementation will have a salutary effect on the functioning of our organization's structures. Consistent implementation of the strategy accompanying the system will result in a number of benefits in a short time, including an extensive base of regular and loyal customers.