Imagine that you are a company that sells toys and in fact have the world’s best products on your list but when it comes to serve the customer or prospects, you fumble. Even your best products will fail you if you don’t know how to take care of your customer. A customer is the bread and butter for any industry. Selling a product is one thing but to maintain him is another. One who aces in maintaining the relationship with a customer wins the league. Therefore, CRM i.e., Customer Relationship Management is of utmost prominence to pace up any businesses sale, profitability,credibility. At any given point of time, your company should be capable to generate the information of your customers, like the customers history, appointments, transactions, interests, likes, dislikes, suggestions, contact info, so that they could be immediately contacted when the company has something to offer according to their taste.
Generally, all such crucial information related to the customer is collected and stored separately-names and contacts in some spreadsheets, appointments in the digital calendar, recent transactions in the sales history, their likes dislikes and suggestions in a feedback form, calls history in the call log software, etc. So this creates a state of anarchy when in pressing need of the information. It takes a lot of time to gather the data that is required and till then the customer bids goodbye.
The solution to above is the inception of CRM software to boost the relationship with your customer. However, it extends to the other heads of the business likes marketing, sales, business policies too. CRM software acts as a storehouse of customers crucial information under one roof which aids in cultivating customer relationship, enhance company sales, profitability and also regulates the business policies seamlessly.
How does CRM software work?
The CRM software becomes a centre for depositing information about its customers like its contact details, transactions, preferences, interactions, order status, customer issues, etc in line with the company. So, one can easily pull the data at any point of time from a single place revealing and provide the solution in the least time possible. The lesser time it takes to provide a solution, happier the customer becomes. The happier the customer is with your service, greater are the chances that he will return back, which definitely enhances sales and profits of the company. CRM is not only useful for the large scale entities but also extends to the Small and Medium Enterprises because it doesn’t require large sums and still provides you the track records of your customers.
CRM offers several benefits to SME organisations:
- Enhanced customer-organisation relationship:
- Improved sales figures overtime:
- Greater co-ordination within organisation:
- Reduced wastage of time:
- Pro-active measures ensure customer retention:
- Social media marketing becomes easier:
- Cost-efficient online offline marketing:
- Aids in analysing performance:
- Improved products and services:
By better understanding of customer requirements and accordingly using business strategies to satisfy them, the organisation can cultivate a deep relationship with their customers. Since customer is the lifeline of any business, keeping a personal touch with them serves as a blessing as they feel their needs are being catered to and the way they desire. By storing the customer details, grievances, feedbacks in the CRM software, you can quickly understand the customer and accordingly provide a quick solution to their demands making them a permanent customer.
If the customer is with you, nothing can stop you from reaching the heights. If the customer is satisfied with your product and service then you can be rest assured that time and again he will return and place larger orders as he has gained trust with your enterprise overtime thereby increasing the sales figure and sometimes exceeding the target itself.
CRM software encourages the enterprise to unite together by building interactions within departments As the sales departments might require information from the financial department or customer department. Likewise sharing information between departments makes them work as one team which increases transparency within the organisation and thereby increasing efficiency of each department and hence of the overall enterprise.
CRM software provides data related to any specific functionality of the business at any given point of time hence reducing the waiting period to derive data that enables them to take decisions. Once the waiting time is reduced to fraction of seconds, lot of time is saved here which can be invested in doing some productive business.
Solving the customers grievances by understanding their problems even before the arise and providing a solution to them ensures retaining them for a long time.
The likes and dislikes of customers can be understood even by checking their social media posts and profiles on sites and the same data can be uploaded in the software so that they can be easily targeted if and when the company offers the likes of it which enhances the accuracy of customer conversion for the company.
Marketing and Advertising demands lot of money but with CRM software the target groups can be classified according to the tastes of the customer so that for a particular product and service only a particular group would be approached after learning about the customer by analysing their data. So customised offers can be created for the customer accordingly without wasting companies funds on those who would not be interested in the particular product or service.
CRM software enables easy production of reports which aids in analysing the performances of each department so that appropriate actions and decisions could be taken in time. Moreover cross department reports can also be generated which could be complex in nature but very helpful in determining the role of each department perfectly and clearly.
With the customers feedback and and of all the persons involved with the company including the employees, suggestions can be implemented which would enable the company to enrich the products or services by eradicating the loopholes in the system or products or services and hence in the efficiency of the business thereby the profitability.
CRM is additionally beneficial to different business teams other than maintaining customer relationships:
- Sales team:
- Marketing team:
- Supply chain management team:
- HR team:
The enterprise can now function with much lesser sales force as most of the work is now handled by the CRM software with which the sales manager can keep a track on the performance of sales, status of the sales, understanding customer requirements and focus more on reaching beyond their sale targets.
By a deeper study on customer, feedbacks, likes, dislikes, suggestions, the marketing team can chalk out their marketing strategies and focus on the specific group of customers accordingly which enhances the chances of conversion.
Accurate records of third parties like suppliers, insurance companies, contract job workers as to their punctuality in delivery, problem solving ability, solvency, credibility records, etc help in grading them correctly and steps them up while placing the next order to them.
Lot of HR functions can be automated by using the CRM software like salary groups of the employees, interview dates, vacancy in specific job, the feedback after the interview, any specific remark against any employee can be fed into the system and easily be retrieved from one place.
CRM enables an integrated view of data from sales, customer, marketing, supply chain, HR as business information which serves to the cross departments at any time, so that desirable actions and quick decisions can be taken in time.
Implementing CRM in your organisation:
Implementation of CRM software in your organisation could be quite challenging therefore it is necessary that certain steps should be followed before implementing and installing CRM in your enterprise.
- List down the reasons why CRM is a must for your organisation:
- Planning should be in right order:
- Budgeting should be in balance and control:
- Select vendor who is an ideal choice:
- Select a team with people having right skills:
- Data migration is a key activity:
- Training has to be simplistically easier:
- Testing stage defines the actual working:
- Go live with the final end product:
- Constantly monitor and evaluate periodically:
- Performance evaluation sets the stage for future updates or upgrades:
Find out the current issues that your company is facing due to the current system in place. Is it wastage of time to find the records which is stored at various places or the delay in solving customer grievances , or losing the loyalty of the customers or unable to to achieve the target sales or the disorganised organisation which leads to poor operations and hence decreasing profitability of the organisation. Once the issues are highlighted it will be very clear as to what you expect CRM software to exactly solve. Invite feedback from each department the issues that day face in routine business operations and try and eliminate all those while implementing CRM.
Fix a schedule as to when do you want to start working on the CRM softwares implementation process and by when do you want to finish it. Plan the number of man hours that is going to take away from the normal operations. Check for the overtime working hours of the employees to finish the routine work. Check the availability of manpower during that schedule, the location of workplace for the employees and for the specialists and IT personnel for CRM installation implementation.
Plan according to your capabilities and discuss it with your vendor so that he can customise it according to your budget. Keep in consideration that CRM is going to solve a number of your problems and would gradually but definitely lead to enhanced sales. Moreover setting up CRM equals to reduced workforce as it automates some of the functions and the money saved can be invested into developing CRM. So, suggestion would be to open up to investing into CRM as it guarantees success.
If your in-house CRM specialist is incapable of the implementation, and it should be handed over to the specialists outside who are well experienced in this field and have generated successful businesses. Their credibility, experience and knowledge should be taken into consideration before selecting CRM. The package that offers value for money along with after sale service should be considered for implementation.
A team encompassing project manager, system developer, engineer, leaders from different functionalities of the organisation like sales, marketing, customer representatives, finance, etc should be a part of CRM development program. Together throughout the planning till installing, they are required to provide feedback at every stage covering all the loopholes in their respective functions. Involve certain Specialists who have concrete understanding of CRM so that technicalities can we considered while providing a solution rather than anything up with the faulty installation.
List down the data that needs to be migrated to the CRM and trash the outdated ones. Understand how the data is going to be reflected in CRM. This is a very critical process and there are high chances that data would could be missed out during migration or get deleted due to technical lapses. An IT person should be of good competence and experience so that any data would not be corrupted or compromised.
Once the CRM system is developed, the employees who are going to use it should be provided complete training, highlighting the difference in the old and new system so that they do not face problem after going live.
Before going completely live, systematic testing of each level part by part is of utmost importance. The testing should be done over periods of time and after each testing the errors should be recognised, eliminated and re-tested again till it shows Nil errors. Only when the IT staff along with the leaders of each functionality approve it, should it be considered to go live.
Phase the process of going life over stages involving the functional team so that any errors that come during live session could be spotted and tackled by in time.
Once the process is set and successfully runs, timely monitoring it is of prominence since many errors gather after it starts fully functioning and needs to be evaluated time to time to make it completely error-free. There may be cases where the users may not fully understand the system and require more training or at times when desired results are not provided by the system which needs quick fixing.
After successful implementation of CRM Technology the reports should be generated and evaluated as against the company’s sales, improved customer-organisation relationship, the seamless operations, business profitability and should be compared as against the old system. This will help determine how much credit CRM Technology deserves and whether it is successful in your business domain.
Final word on cloud CRM!
Cloud based CRM means where the CRM software and tools along with the customer and organisations data is deposited in a cloud (on a remote server) which can be retrieved via internet so that it could be accessed by anyone who has its access at anytime from anywhere. Moreover it is a cost-efficient means of installing cloud CRM instead of on-premise CRM software.
Cloud CRM is particularly helpful for small and medium enterprises as it provides flexibility to the user by enabling them to reach out to any record at any point without having to invest large amount of money. This eliminates the need for software maintenance issues backup updates which is associated with on premise CRM instalment.
CRM helps small and medium enterprises to work seamlessly as it integrates the crucial data of customers and the organisation into one repository which is next to mandatory for successful operation of the business and to stay long in the competition.