No matter the size or scale of your business, managing customers, product mix, marketing initiatives, and sales targets can be an overwhelming endeavor. There’s lots of moving parts, including: departments that may not even be in the same office or building, and teams with competing agendas (like managing units vs landing sales). Luckily, technology has stepped in to make the process more manageable (and more transparent).
Regardless of your industry, being able to see the granular details as well as the overall big picture will help you plan for the future. Plus you can manage processes in the long and short term. That’s where CRM (an invaluable multi-purpose b2b software) comes in.
Customer Relationship Management software, also known as CRM, is an all-in-one solution to help companies stay connected with their customers and improve profitability while helping to streamline work. Not everyone is aware of just how extensive a CRM system can be.
Key CRM Benefits:
· Plan activities and tasks ahead of time
· Log everything from interactions with clients to contact details
· Share information electronically
· Template processes
· Generate reports
· Create email campaigns
· Improve communication
· Predict trends and buying patterns
· And more…
All of these elements are a value-add to any department, from sales to customer relations. In fact, here are some of the top areas where CRM can help control and lower operational costs:
CRMs are a sales rep’s best friend. Not only can they help plan tasks ahead of time (reminding reps to call a client on the exact date and time they promised days, weeks or even months in advance), they can see historic sales numbers to help predict future sales and discover ways to up-sell or cross-sell products and services.
CRM integration can help sales reps be better at their jobs as well, by showing their past sales numbers and indicating where they’re succeeding to help hit upcoming sales targets. And, since CRMs allow for the storage of vast amounts of contact information, rich leads can be recorded and mined to ensure there’s always a pipeline of new clients or customers for reps to target and close.
CRMs also allow for sales to seamlessly integrate with supply chain management. Sales reps using CRM can see with a click just how much inventory is available, to ensure order fulfillment, driving down the likelihood of a vendor dropping a contract due to a lack of product or backorder status the rep not have had knowledge of at the close of the sale.
The importance of customer service in fostering strong client trust can never be overstated. Businesses who are great at it have a higher likelihood of customer retention and larger referral numbers. CRM systems can make customer service super simple with the ability to record details, including preferences and complaints. They can also automate processes for escalating issues, empowering customer service reps with tools to handle a wide variety of customer queries. Logs of phone calls with clients give invaluable insight to reps, which, at the click of a button, can see a client’s entire history without having to refer to other teams first. This reduces friction when resolving client issues and minimizes conflict resolution to minutes instead of days or weeks.
Marketing Automation and Relationship Management
Did you know CRMs can automate your marketing outreach? By being able to manipulate customer information, CRMs allow companies to focus tailored messages to specific clients and potential customers. This is possible due to the power of segmentation within CRM solutions. Marketing teams can create content that speaks to individual clients and shares valuable information that ultimately helps grow the relationship between the clients and the company. What’s more, due to a CRM’s ability to parse and analyze data, marketing teams can create a sort of “success blueprint” by studying and replicating what has worked according to historical data.
Once again, with the processes automated, and the ability to template campaigns, reaching audiences big and small becomes a breeze. And finding what works through data analysis is done with just a few clicks, lowering marketing man hours drastically. Campaigns over time become more targeted and more effective, allowing marketing dollars to be laser-focused to just the right areas that can drive an increase in sales numbers.
Businesses can often struggle to predict trends or buying patterns. Getting the data wrong can be very costly for a number of reasons. CRM software collects all manner of data to project buying patterns that can analyze everything from spikes at certain times of the year to regional upticks. This greatly assists in company forecasters understanding where inventory is needed and when. It can also help target marketing initiatives so your marketing budget is used more effectively where and when it will make the most impact.
Remember how sales teams could see the stock on hand? Now, not only can reps see how much inventory is available, suppliers can project how much inventory will be needed. This ensures production isn’t over or under estimating how many units to have at any given time, ultimately saving money on storage and manufacturing, with the added bonus of lowering the likelihood a vendor will pull a contract due to lack of fulfillment.
Cloud based CRM solutions offer mobile access to important customer data. This is crucial for sales rep and executives that are out in the field and need access to real time information. When a customer calls you want to have the latest details on their account regardless of where you are.
Ultimately, the power of a CRM system is in its ability to hold and parse large amounts of data integral to learning more about your business. What was previously guesswork now can be studied and analyzed, saving man hours by allowing teams to focus on the areas that matter. Investing in CRM software allows companies to reduce spend on unnecessary software licenses or programs that don’t have an “all-in-one” appeal because they don’t have the flexibility to work across multiple departments. CRMs can simultaneously standardize processes that will tie teams together and help a business work as one cohesive unit.
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