CRM software is an essential piece of equipment for any company or organization that wants to achieve the maximum return on their marketing, fully capitalize on their sales leads and prospects, and cultivate ongoing, lifetime relationships with their current and established customers. By integrating all data about sales leads, current customers, associated companies, and employees throughout the various departments, CRM software enables enterprises to seamlessly handle marketing, sales, and customer service as a single package. Simply put, it's a way for salespeople to make a plan and then work that plan!
Two fundamental elements of continued growth that many firms overlook are the lifetime value of existing customers, and the importance of retaining them. For most businesses and other organizations, the costs associated with the acquiring of a new customer or clients are very high. In fact, for many companies, getting new customers is the single largest expense they incur. Convincing a skeptical public that your firm can meet their needs, and does it better than competing firms, is a tall order. Doing so requires spending large sums on advertising, branding, marketing, and a sales force. Most salespeople quit after the first contact, not because they don't want to follow-up, it's just that they can't remember! So, knowing that it, over average, takes 8-12 contacts to close the sale, how much is company wasting by having their salespeople do one call on a prospect when they KNOW it will take more. In contrast, your existing customers have already demonstrated a willingness to spend money on your product or service, and they are far more likely to do so in the future than someone who's never done business with you in the past.
Satisfied customers who return again and again to use a company's product or service are the foundation of a long-term future for any business. The key to retaining their loyalty is successfully managing your company's relationship with them, and CRM software is essential to this goal. By making each customer feel valued, and demonstrating respect for their decision to utilize your products or services, a bond of loyalty is forged which draws the customer back again and again. Automated customer relationship management software makes it much easier and simpler to manage contacts, inquiries, customer service requests, new orders, etc., from current customers. Besides customer retention, gains in efficiency from utilizing CRM software can also lower the overall costs of handling these various functions.
CRM software is not only employed for retention and handling of existing customers, but comes into play from the very first contact with the prospect, sales lead, or new order. By automating the process of funneling these contacts through the sales pipeline, the software streamlines the handling of these accounts and ensures that far fewer get lost in the shuffle of day to day business. Callbacks and new mailings can be scheduled and coordinated automatically, with much less risk of human error. Data from phone inquiries can be captured and stored automatically. Customer order histories and price points are stored for use in planning future marketing campaigns and for determining proper levels of customer support.
CRM software is not an option, but a necessary and integral part of any modern business that sees to maximize revenue and continue growing as a business. The right CRM tools can be the crucial tool that can enable a business to foster a more professional image.
CRM Software's provide following common features:
Sales Force Automation (SFA)
CRM systems make it easier for sales professionals to identify potential opportunities and win new deals. Representatives can more effectively manage their contacts, accounts, pipelines, and related activities. Additionally, sales directors can generate accurate and timely forecasts, and manage quota performance across teams and territories.
Most CRM systems also offer mobile capabilities to provide on-the-go sales staff with anytime, anywhere access to up-to-the-minute customer data via laptops, or Palm, Blackberry, Windows Pocket PC, and other handheld devices.
Marketing Automation (MA)
With CRM systems, companies have the insight they need to put more successful lead generation strategies into place.
CRM systems enable marketing professionals to effectively track and manage prospect databases, organize and launch initiatives across multiple communication channels, and conduct in-depth analysis of campaign results. So, they can increase response rates and boost conversions while reducing cost-per-lead and accelerating return on marketing investment.
Customer Service, Help Desk, or Contact Center/Call Center Automation
Businesses can leverage CRM systems to empower customer service, help desk, and call center teams to rapidly respond to customer issues and inquiries, and to accurately track and manage problems from the time they are reported until they are resolved.
CRM systems can also transform these departments from cost centers into profit centers by giving staff the tools they need to actively participate in up-sell and cross-sell programs. Additionally, many CRM systems offer solutions to enhance field support operations such as scheduling, dispatching, and other related processes.
Reporting and Analysis
Business intelligence is a key component of most CRM systems, allowing companies to maximize the value of their customer data by using it to make better, more informed decisions.
Reports, performance management dashboards, and analytics provide users at all levels with complete visibility into customer-related activities within and across multiple departments. So, businesses can gain insight into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors; identify emerging business trends and opportunities; and uncover problems or areas in need of improvement.
Effective customer acquisition and retention requires synchronized, well-executed efforts across multiple customer-facing departments. CRM systems provide features that enable sales, marketing, service, and support staff to share information, coordinate activities, and eliminate overlapping or redundant functions. As a result, they can work together to deliver a superior experience and build strong, long-lasting customer relationships