CRM software solutions have progressed considerably in recent times. While the key ingredient in a successful system is always the design and planning, the software solution can also make or break your CRM. The first step is to plan your system based on your needs – and then match a best of breed solution that best fits those requirements.
Obtaining expert knowledge of the market leading CRM platforms is critical if you want a truly tailored CRM system – designed to improve your business from day one, and be robust enough to grow as your business grows.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. You can find a number of different definitions for CRM. CRM does not stand still; it evolves as “CRM solutions” and is used in a greater number of ways. This has now been termed xRM – Anything Relationship Management.
CRM is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. Traditionally, the more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends.
CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behaviour of customers and the value of those customers.
Using CRM, a business can:
- Provide better customer service
- Increase customer revenues
- Discover new customers
- Cross sell/Up Sell products more effectively
- Help sales staff close deals faster
- Make call centres more efficient
- Simplify marketing and sales processes
CRM software traditionally has a number of ‘out-of-the-box’ modules that can be turned on and off. Each vendor application has different features.
Sales Force Automation
Most companies today look to achieving the highest levels of efficiency. With CRM, they are able to automate various tasks that can be made available to anyone involved in customer service. This includes direct sales staff, management, accounting, ordering and customer service. Automating your sales force means you can free up time spent on repetitive tasks, and use that time more effectively.
Considering sales force automation, you need to answer of a few basic questions:
- What tasks are my staff doing repeatedly
- How much time is spent on this task
- Can the “thinking” be easily defined?
- Does the human element make the task more correct or more likely to contain errors?
There are a number of primary benefits of sales force automation:
- Storing contacts allows you to track and manage your clients and prospects with an up to the minute view of where they are in the sales cycle.
- Managing sales leads is often difficult, but essential to the health of a company. Being able to forecast and track leads in your sales pipeline enables you to have a clear understanding of predicting your revenue and profit.
- Lead management can assist you to manage specific campaigns, improve conversion rates and measure ROI on that campaign.
- Sales force and sales management productivity will increase with a more simplified and easier access to greater information on each client/prospect to give a view of the end to end sales process.
- Customer information is shared and easily used across your sales, marketing and customer-service divisions.
HostedCRM or SaaS (Software as a Service)
- Web based CRM is a simple customer relationship management solution for growing businesses.
- In a hosted environment, all the software, hardware, and technical support and administration are made available by the CRM hosting provider via the internet. Some of the advantages of hostedCRM include:
- You gain all the benefits of a more traditional CRM solution, but the maintenance and support of the infrastructure is managed by your web based CRM provider.
- A distributed workforce is able to work more effectively satisfying customers with the most up to date client information. This works particularly well for a mobile sales team needed to keep track of orders.
- HostedCRM solution is a cost effective solution as you pay a monthly subscription.
- Call Centre Software allows you to manage a large number of calls. By queuing calls and processing them as quickly as possible you can maintain high levels of service.
- Help Desk Software helps you manage problems and enables a quick response to your customers or employees. By having a repository of problems and resolutions, you create a knowledgebase for faster issue resolution. Additionally, you can create problem escalation processes and service level agreements (SLA) and report on them.
- Service Desk Software is the evolution of Help Desk Software. By incorporating ITIL best practices with management best practice, Service Desk Software now does more than resolve a ‘Case’ or ‘Incident’.
Partner Relationship Management
Contract management software automates the contracting process from contract creation, through tracking, managing, compliance and renewal.
Distribution Management Software enables you to work more effectively with your partners by creating, tracking and managing your distributorships and partnerships.
xRM (Anything Relationship Management) has evolved from CRM. Today, companies require a more integrated approach to managing their business and a key component of this is the access to mission-critical applications and information. As such they are managing anything (X) in their organisation going beyond just the customer relationships.
Essentially xRM does not distinguish between the traditional customer view and your “internal” customers. Having uniformity in the entire process, regarding all those in your company involved in satisfying your clients requirements requires uniformity of data, applications and processes accessible at all times from a single place.
xRM is a strategic approach to systemizing how your business runs in the most cost-effective and customer oriented manner.