Customer relationship management for sales and marketing

Customer relationship management

customer relationship management for sales and marketing

From my experience in CRM space, following is how the three are used - 1. Sales CRM - The initial CRM that came into being was for Sales folks only. The main. While the importance of CRM has traditionally been as a sales and marketing tool, some of the biggest gains can come in other areas, such as customer service. Customer relationship management (CRM) is not just the application of and groups to market more effectively and increase sales; changing the way you.

CRM solutions fall into the following four broad categories. Outsourced solutions Application service providers can provide web-based CRM solutions for your business.

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This approach is ideal if you need to implement a solution quickly and your company does not have the in-house skills necessary to tackle the job from scratch. It is also a good solution if you are already geared towards online e-commerce. Off-the-shelf solutions Several software companies offer CRM applications that integrate with existing packages.

Cut-down versions of such software may be suitable for smaller businesses. This approach is generally the cheapest option as you are investing in standard software components. The downside is that the software may not always do precisely what you want and you may have to trade off functionality for convenience and price. The key to success is to be flexible without compromising too much. Custom software For the ultimate in tailored CRM solutions, consultants and software engineers will customise or create a CRM system and integrate it with your existing software.

customer relationship management for sales and marketing

However, this can be expensive and time consuming. If you choose this option, make sure you carefully specify exactly what you want. This will usually be the most expensive option and costs will vary depending on what your software designer quotes.

Customer relationship management

Managed solutions A half-way house between custom and outsourced solutions, this involves renting a customised suite of CRM applications as a tailored package. This can be cost effective but it may mean that you have to compromise in terms of functionality.

How to implement CRM The implementation of a customer relationship management CRM solution is best treated as a six-stage process, moving from collecting information about your customers and processing it to using that information to improve your marketing and the customer experience. Stage 1 - Collecting information The priority should be to capture the information you need to identify your customers and categorise their behaviour.

Those businesses with a website and online customer service have an advantage as customers can enter and maintain their own details when they buy.

Stage 2 - Storing information The most effective way to store and manage your customer information is in a relational database - a centralised customer database that will allow you to run all your systems from the same source, ensuring that everyone uses up-to-date information. Stage 3 - Accessing information With information collected and stored centrally, the next stage is to make this information available to staff in the most useful format.

Stage 4 - Analysing customer behaviour Using data mining tools in spreadsheet programs, which analyse data to identify patterns or relationships, you can begin to profile customers and develop sales strategies. Stage 5 - Marketing more effectively Many businesses find that a small percentage of their customers generate a high percentage of their profits. Using CRM to gain a better understanding of your customers' needs, desires and self-perception, you can reward and target your most valuable customers.

Stage 6 - Enhancing the customer experience Just as a small group of customers are the most profitable, a small number of complaining customers often take up a disproportionate amount of staff time.

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If their problems can be identified and resolved quickly, your staff will have more time for other customers. Potential drawbacks of CRM There are several reasons why implementing a customer relationship management CRM solution might not have the desired results. There could be a lack of commitment from people within the company to the implementation of a CRM solution.

Adapting to a customer-focused approach may require a cultural change. There is a danger that relationships with customers will break down somewhere along the line, unless everyone in the business is committed to viewing their operations from the customers' perspective. The result is customer dissatisfaction and eventual loss of revenue. Poor communication can prevent buy-in. In order to make CRM work, all the relevant people in your business must know what information you need and how to use it.

Weak leadership could cause problems for any CRM implementation plan. The onus is on management to lead by example and push for a customer focus on every project. If a proposed plan isn't right for your customers, don't do it. Send your teams back to the drawing board to come up with a solution that will work. Trying to implement CRM as a complete solution in one go is a tempting but risky strategy.

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It is better to break your CRM project down into manageable pieces by setting up pilot programs and short-term milestones. Consider starting with a pilot project that incorporates all the necessary departments and groups but is small and flexible enough to allow adjustments along the way.

Don't underestimate how much data you will require, and make sure that you can expand your systems if necessary. You need to carefully consider what data is collected and stored to ensure that only useful data is kept.

CRM also increases communication between the sales force and sales management. Show up in time for the new sale By tracking all communication with the customers, CRM helps sales people to know exactly when customers need to be contacted; for example, for product replacement, contract renewal, or for an upsell to a new product or service. This all increases your chances of closing a sale.

Rationalize your sales moves CRM helps streamline the entire sales cycle, which results in closing deals in your sales pipeline and helping everyone in the team to reach targets faster. Since order processing and preparing quotes is automated in CRM, sales teams are able to reduce production costs and increase sales revenue.

Know what your customers really want Since all the customer-related data is stored in CRM, it helps sales people to analyze the needs of customers and even anticipate their problems — all at the right time. All this increases customer satisfaction and ensures loyalty, as well as higher profit margins. Cut down on admin tasks CRM releases the sales teams from the majority of admin tasks by reducing and even removing some of the repetitive actions that take a lot of time, but yield little profitability.

CRM stores product and price details, triggers reminders for activities, and takes sales people through the sales pipeline step by step.

customer relationship management for sales and marketing

Save money Even though CRM systems are not cheap, they actually help you save your money! With sales people, it is the reduction of errors for example, in orders or quotes that CRM can help with. Effort and cost related to correcting those errors may be much higher. Finally, it also boils down to such trivial things as saving money on those cluttering and often vanishing Post-it notes, since every new information can be safely stored in the system.

If adopted and used correctly, CRM is going to boost the performance of any sales team, and will help sales people to excel in 4 areas that are critical for them: Sales reps have to unanimously understand that updating CRM is central to their success.

Also, sales teams need to synchronize their activities and base them on best practices. This will enable a better sharing of information and will secure more effective work with CRM.

Customer-relationship management

More so, sales teams should embrace the idea that by registering all activities and following the established sales routines they are more likely to reach their sales goals. It is also important to realize that sales people are going to benefit a lot by being able to update and share the newest information on prospects and customers — all in one place that is easy to access.

So, what are your experiences in getting sales teams on board with CRM?

customer relationship management for sales and marketing

Do you have any other reasons as to why sales people need CRM? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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