22 Dec Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) allows businesses to maintain contact and ongoing relationships with clients. An effort from all departments, from marketing and sales to customer support, can more easily be coordinated via CRM. From this, a full picture of each customer can be portrayed, allowing faster, data-driven decision making, informing competitive tactics for techniques such as cross and up-selling.
Nowadays doing business requires not only a focus on clients’ needs, but a deep personalisation of solutions and offers that help to address business challenges and facilitate easier collaboration between disparate parties.
CRM assists businesses to keep abreast of all customer information especially trends and buying cycles within ordering. This allows not only the chance to develop long-term client relationships and a higher customer experience but a platform for revenue growth through faster processing of offers and requests. This promotes the attraction of similar clients through perfecting the practice of deploying a multitude touchpoints and marketing channels, during which time more advantageous positions in the market can be gained.
Customer Relationship Management System vs ERP System
Conceptually, ERP and CRM can not be easily compared, because the two systems belong to different categories: ERP is primarily seen as a back-office system whereas CRM leads with direct ‘front-office’ engagement in a business. But what does this mean exactly?
ERP systems focus on supporting business processes, not specifically visible to the end client, for example, product management, purchasing, supply chain management, inventory management, etc. Read more about an importance of ERP Integration here.
CRM systems, at the same time, focus on processes directly related to the end customers. So when considering what type of system your company needs, most likely the answer will be that it needs the integration of ERP and CRM. This approach offers smoother business management and eliminates duplication of data. The concept of a shared, single source of rationalised data leads to high accuracy, increased visibility of the sales cycle and can end up with highly impressive growth of return on investment.
CRM Key Functionality
- Customer Support Management
Customer retention and customer lifetime value are the most important focus areas for any business. Efficient management of incoming customer support requests includes correct recognition of the case priority, assigning to the right person or team and fast processing of the support request.
The use of a Customer Relationship Management system can help to streamline all the processes related to customer support management, identify typical support cases, track all the processes in the same place and measure the efficiency of the support team.
- Marketing and Sales Management
A personalised approach to the customer is very important in marketing, it includes targeting different audiences differently, delivering relevant offers and engaging with the audience through online and offline channels used by clients, generating demand, increasing brand recognition and awareness, developing long-term relationships with clients, gather information about leads and set up qualification channel.
The use of CRM systems helps to reduce sales cycle length, plan and forecast future earnings, assign incoming leads to appropriate salespeople based on product knowledge or performance, current availability or physical location. Top Company Management gets the ultimate tool for monitoring sales processes, tracking payrolls and commissions much more easily as well as controlling sales on every stage of the sales pipeline.
Clients in any business, be it B2C or B2B, require increasingly high standards of service – faster, more accurate, personalised, orientated around their needs.
When it comes to CRM integration with all company lead generation channels, it is important to understand why it is done and what will be the outcome of such integration. Answers to these questions have to be within the framework of two elements, crucial for every business – easier client relationships management for the company and better service for the clients.
As companies grow, they increase the number of channels through which they interact with their clients: phone, website, e-shop, social media, email, etc. The more channels company has, the more difficult and time-consuming it is to handle all leads that come through these channels. So at some point of company growth, the integration of CRM and all the channels emerges as the number one priority for further company growth.
This is the list to consider before deciding which systems to include in the CRM integration process:
- ERP and BI systems
Very often CRM is part of the ERP system which also has business intelligence tools. This is the best combination because you can have business processes management together with client relationship management and this all is enhanced with powerful analytics and forecasting tools.
Having CRM separate from ERP usually leads to duplicated data entry, mistakes in orders management and more time spent by salespeople at each stage of the sales pipeline.
- Phone Systems and Call Centres
Very often phone is the first communication channel with the company. Thus, we should not overlook the impact it can have on Customer Relationships Management, the satisfaction of cooperation with business and long-lasting business relationships. That’s why businesses need to have a CRM system integrated with a call centre or phone system.
When existing clients call the company and there is an integrated CRM system, company representatives can access vital information and purchasing history via a single screen. We all recognise that it’s easier to sell to existing clients than acquire new ones.
- Mobile Devices
Companies that provide field services need compatibility with employees’ mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) for use of CRM. This helps to decrease the time for connecting results of performed work with the reporting tools, ease the communication between client and company and increase the transparency of employees’ actions.
- eCommerce Platforms
Companies that sell products online via eCommerce platforms usually have multiple channels used at the same time. For example, they might have sales via their e-shop as well as integrations with international platforms like Etsy, Amazon and eBay.
Or there might be a situation when companies sell products to their clients in multiple locations, using different e-shops with localisation. For a company to manage all the clients in both cases, CRM can be used very efficiently. The use of CRM would help to reduce marketing costs, provide a full understanding of customer behaviour for each channel and improve the sales experience.
- Social Media
Very often companies gain customers and sales orders via channels in social media. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter (and others) currently present great opportunities to all companies to reach their potential clients. It offers clients a personalised experience. But the more channels a company has, the more difficult it is to manage requests via all these channels.
Steps for CRM Integration Success
- Make sure all business goals, processes and sales/communication channels are taken into account
- Evaluate if you need simple CRM integration or complex solution of ERP and CRM in one source
- Research best price/value solutions for your business and check if they can cover all your business needs
- Decide if you will implement CRM alone or you need a team of experienced consultants to help with it
- Develop a customer journey from first contact with your business up to the moment of product or service delivery
- Make sure all the important steps of this customer journey are reflected in the CRM process stages
- Make sure all company team members that need to have access to customer data have it and roles are clearly defined, as well as permissions for each role correctly set up
- Define a test period when CRM users will test all workflows and give their feedback if anything has to be improved or changed
- Make sure you provide sufficient educational resources and proper training for the team on how to use CRM
- Decide if your business has old customers’ data that need to be transferred into CRM
- Conduct risk management assessment to figure out what can go wrong at each stage of CRM implementation and use
- Make sure you take care of constant data backups as well as comply with all personal information protection laws both in your business registration country and in countries where your clients are based
- Define business success metrics to track
Implementation of a Customer Relationship Management system in a company is a complex task and needs to take into account all business processes. Very often it is not enough only for CRM to be implemented and companies need full visibility to achieve correct decision making and management. In this case, CRM should be not a standalone tool, but part of a more complex solution working with ERP and should be considered for each business individually.
CRM systems implemented correctly are powerful tools that can grant smooth and robust customer communication and relationships management platform and deliver a better level of customer loyalty, help to accelerate sales and revenue growth, improve customer experience in communication with the company, save costs, improve the time of orders management, decrease the number of human error, keep all clients details in the same place and even make sure the business is compliant with all legislative requirements in personal data management.
Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow with the implementation of ERP and CRM solutions.