CRM: An age-old concept, helping businesses to get into high gear
In a survey conducted by Ovum research body, thirty-two percent of the interviewed entrepreneurs admitted of not foraying into the cloud CRM arena due to the apprehensiveness of the technology being 'new'.
However, this thinking is nothing but a myth because the concept of CRM has existed since our granny's time.
Surprised to read that? Well, a section of experts believe so. And to corroborate this fact, they have cited several examples. Here's what one of it states:
'Even forty years back:
1. A man who earned his living by ironing clothes, kept a list at hand, noting the different requirements of his regular customers.
2. A milk-seller kept a written track of how many milk bottles he needed to give to each customer at what time in the morning.
3. A grocery storekeeper had a notebook that listed who bought what each day along with the specific demands of products that the customers made. He used that notebook to update the inventory and cater to the buyers' requirements.'
In each of the above-mentioned cases, the objective was same - making a sale and keeping a customer. And perhaps it is these manual paper-based processes that served as precursors and eventually culminated in the form of cloud CRM applications today. With the onset of technology, people got the power and the impetus to ditch the manual CRM procedures and build a cloud-based software system to take care of it all.
So while the practice existed from before, it's just that the technique surrounding customer relationship management changed.
And hence, today the businesses who have refrained themselves from investing in a robust cloud CRM platform have either fallen by the wayside or are on the verge of experiencing that. Although they have manually put in a hell lot of effort to acquire new leads and hook onto their customers-
- they haven't been able to do it
- are doing it by breaking a chip of their core.
If you do not wish to experience any of the same, have a formal cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) software in place.
Do not get bothered by the buzz words of the vendors or get tossed in the midst of the innumerable CRM features floating in the market. Before venturing into either of that zones, understand the core functionality of CRM software which is:
'merging your sales, marketing and customer service efforts with your business process to be able to identify, acquire, pursue and manage customers.'
Top implications that a cloud CRM will bring to your business:
While there are a wide range of benefits that a cloud CRM system will provide to your business, we’ll share the top five to get you started:
1. Precise Analytics and Reporting
Whether you have 100 or 500 customers, chances are you don’t have time to manually analyze the purchases of every customer. The beauty of customer relationship management applications (CRM) are that they handle this onus for you by storing all the customer information in one central and always-accessible repository.
So what you get is an instant accession to a full range of customer purchasing data, that you can compare and analyze anytime anywhere. How?
Cloud CRMs provide powerful analytic and reporting tools. Either you can choose from the list of pre-defined report templates that the CRM has or create your own report template to drill down the key aspects, such as -
- Who are the most profitable customers?
- How are the sales this quarter?
- Where are the bumps in the sales pipeline?
It doesn't even take an hour for you to know and understand your customers’ buying habits or the exact status of the sales pipeline to frame informed decisions.
2. Better Team Collaboration & Synchronization
Cloud CRM’s centralized repository binds all the departments together. Be it your marketing representatives, sales agents or customer support personnel – each one of them use and share a common CRM platform, populate it with the essentials from time to time, that puts all on the same page.
Departmental silos get obsolete and there is transparency throughout the organization. Without a doubt, your team functions more cohesively that gets reflected in the bottomline too.
3. Faster Execution of Tasks
Sales, Marketing or Service - there are mundane administrative tasks in each that take up a few hours daily. According to an article in Business2Community, if the daily administrative activities gets automated, then the business can become up to 10x times more productive.
Customer relationship management system can manage and automate all your day-to-day administrative tasks. Right from scheduling client meetings, keeping customer records up-to-date, tracking customer follow-ups—it can take care of all these, freeing your team to perform the other critical activities that require immediate attention.
4. Improved Customer Service
It's no news that we are dealing with the modern digitally-savvy customers who demand nothing less than a consistent experience from marketing to service. To match up to these expectations, cloud CRM empowers an organization with 360-degree customer view.
As a result, your team gets prepared to quickly identify the customers, address their needs and proactively recommend additional products or services that match their last purchase. In short, your staff becomes more agile, efficient and productive because they identify the customers at the first instance itself, without searching for their details in multiple databases.
5. Precise Marketing Efforts
Till now what you have been doing is the mass marketing effort where an XYZ campaign has got targeted to a wide segment of audience. There has never been any performance measurement of the campaign and neither have you known what exact percentage of targets have been responding to the campaign.
CRM gives you that far-sightedness to identify and zero in on only those individuals who carry the prospects of becoming into customers later. From a generic mass marketing approach, CRM allows you to polish your marketing efforts to make them more specific and productive. Plus, it gives you a detailed view into the performance of each campaign to understand the results, see the flaws and reset the ball rolling in the right direction.
This saves your time and money!
With all this discussion in place, it all boils down to the fact that the kind of power and competitiveness that cloud CRM offers is hard to replicate in any other stand-alone systems. And so it makes all sense to invest in a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management System. Period!
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @convergehub