Customer relationship management, or CRM, is the most effective way to create and nourish relationships with customers. Managing relationships with potentially thousands and thousands of customers is not easy for any company, but like most things in today’s society, there is technology to make the CRM process relatively simple. Today businesses use sales CRM software to manage their customers and the individual relationships they have with each of them.
In 1995, the term “customer relationship management” was coined, and by 1999, e-CRM vendors had already started to form (CRM Software Blog). Today we refer to vendors of e-CRM software as SaaS vendors, software as a service. As society evolves, it becomes more and more dependent on technology, and in this case sales teams everywhere depend on CRM software.
Customer relationship management software has become a vital ingredient for successful business today. Here’s why sales CRM is so important for businesses everywhere and how it can help:
Make More Money
The most important thing that sales CRM software can do for your business is make more money, simple as that. The reservations many companies have towards purchasing CRM software is that it can be extremely expensive. Although some CRM platforms are very costly, there are many on the market that are more reasonably priced. If you’re a company who worries that purchasing some form of CRM software won’t pay off, stop worrying. The average returns from CRM have increased since 2011, from $5.60 to $8.71 for every dollar spent. (Nucleus Research). That report is from 2014, and CRM returns continue to climb. You don’t have to be a numbers person to recognize the significant impact that CRM software can have on a company.
In regards to monitoring your customers’ activity, there are other ways to increase revenue: upselling and cross-selling. Knowing the service or products your customers have purchased enables you to cross-sell or upsell additional services/products that you offer to gain additional revenue while providing additional value (WorkEtc). Upselling to existing customers is a lot easier than to prospect, nurture and close new customers. Take advantage of sales CRM capabilities and understand your customers’ buying behaviors, then upsell.
- Tip: Look to upsell or cross-sell to existing customers. It’s usually far easier than selling to new clients. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% (Marketing Metrics). Happy customers are willing to buy more because they have already experienced success with you, while new customers are simply unsure of what to expect, so their buyer readiness is not as prominent.
It’s probably no surprise that organization is important for businesses or for anyone to be successful. When managing relationships with numerous customers, it’s best to be organized. sales CRM software organizes customers and prospects so that each relationship is separately logged.
In a 2008 NAPO survey of 400 consumers nationwide, 27% said they feel disorganized at work, and of those, 91% said they would be more effective and efficient if their work space was better organized. Nearly 30% said they would save over an hour per day and 27% said they would save 31 to 60 minutes each day (Becoming Minimalist).
Organization is very important and when dealing with customers, and there really is no better way to organize customer relationships than sales CRM software. Gone are the days of spreadsheets, and piles of notes to remember interactions, customers or prospects.
- Tip: Categorize prospects or customer accounts. The best way to organize customers is to categorize them into different areas. This way you know which accounts are current customers, former customers, soon-to-be customers or prospective customers. Sales CRM software assists in managing this pipeline, and the spreadsheets you once relied on for everything will no longer be necessary. Organizing prospects and customer accounts into groups can be an effective way to eliminate miscommunication among sales teams.
Integrating sales CRM software with your business means inefficient practices are eliminated. Consolidate all of your customer data into one place or one resource; this will rid miscommunication between salespeople or employees as everything they need will be in their CRM software. Sales CRM platforms are designed to prevent duplicate entries that you may not have noticed using spreadsheets or other management tools. CRM software will save your business hundreds or even thousands of wasted hours navigating impractical management software.
Customer Relationship Management software is not just useful for organizing and overseeing customers. Usually sales CRM systems are a great outlet to track internal success. CRM software can provide the details necessary to prove which salespeople are working the most, closing the most and ultimately making the most money. In sales success of employees can largely be attributed to selling power; monitor the strongest sellers with CRM software and motivate sales teams to close deals. There really is no downside or compromise, with CRM software it’s simple to organize both external and internal success
Real-Time Tracking of Customer Activity
CRM software allows you to watch your customer’s every move, literally as it happens. You are able to keep an eye on what your customers are doing, how they are interacting with your company, and what they seem to be interested in. Not only does this allow businesses to monitor their current customers, but it provides an opportunity when connecting with new prospective customers. By knowing a customer or prospect’s interests you’re able to engage in personalized conversation which can really make a connection between your customers and your business. Over time customer accounts in your sales CRM software will track their interactions will build a timeline of events.
Knowing your customer can be the difference between making a sale or losing a customer’s interest fast. “Stand in your customer’s shoes. Look beyond your core business and understand your customer’s full range of choices, as well as his or her ecosystem of suppliers, partners etc.--of which you may be part. This exercise will also deepen your understanding of competitors and help you better anticipate their moves.”(Inc.com - Paul Schoemaker) What better way to anticipate your customers needs when CRM software has already shown you their current activity.
- Tip:Act Fast on Hot Prospects: If you are monitoring your prospects actions, and you notice they are actively interacting with your business then they are a hot lead or prospect. Hot leads are the easiest leads to make a sale on, as they have already reached out to your business and shown interest.
When a lead or prospect becomes “hot” then it’s time to engage them in conversation and work towards making a sale. All sales CRM platforms are built a bit differently, and the interfaces of each will look slightly different. No matter the sales CRM software being used, tracking hot accounts is very important. Below is an example of Vendasta’s software, which includes hotness ratings and status updates by tracking the account and gives the user intel on the activity of their accounts.
No matter which interface, CRM software is designed to give the user some form of tracking in order to keep the user engaged with all of their accounts. It’s never been easier to maintain thousands of relationships with customers online by understanding their behavior and activity through CRM software.
Customer service starts with effectively understanding your customers’ behavior and needs. Understanding a customer’s behavior is simple with CRM software, and customers want salespeople who understand them. 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have information. (Huffington Post) Customers want to feel appreciated and understood; know your customers better with real-time activity tracking through CRM software.
Essentially CRM software is software designed to be the ultimate customer service representative. You have all of your client’s contact information, account history, activity and billing information readily available in the software. If issues arise, no problem, a CRM platform is designed to make contact with “unhappy” customers easy and pain-free. Simply pull up the account, contact the unhappy client and see what needs to be done to resolve the issue.
Another alternative for customer service in the most popular CRM’s like Vendasta or Salesforce is a fully integrated support centre. Lot’s of times the most effective customer service can simply be provided by knowledge management portals, FAQs, and troubleshooting articles. This allows for customer-self service; not only is it easier for your company, but these outlets are likely easier for the customer as well. Utilize CRM software and provide great customer service to your customers!
- Tip: Choose a sales CRM with a solid knowledge management base and get more answers without having to receive immediate customer service. With frequently asked questions (FAQs) and troubleshooting articles the user is likely to find everything they need and can solve their issues independently without having to wait on a phone for a customer service representative.
CRM Software Helps
So if making more money didn’t convince you that sales CRM software can help your business I don’t know what will. If a business is essentially guaranteed success by investing in software doesn’t it appears to be a simple decision, “sign me up.” As we went through the benefits of Customer Relationship Management software we notice that CRM software doesn’t just make a company more profitable, it makes life easier as it naturally implements some form of organization in the workplace.
Sales CRM software has proven to make workplaces more efficient, as employees spend less time being off-task. Efficiency is perhaps the greatest advantage of organizational skills. An organized professional will spend less time correcting mistakes, searching for information and fixing any clutter. More time saved means more time for doing productive things. (Chron) In this case more time being productive means salespeople have more time to close deals.
More time closing deals brings us back to making more money, right? The common benefits from all aspects of sales CRM software seem to point at companies making more money. Successful companies are profitable companies, and the proof is in the pudding, successful companies are using customer relationship management software.