Most experts agree that it costs between 5 and 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that there has been the explosion in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software solutions in recent times. The old adage that if you are not looking after your customers then your competition probably is; has never been more true. Do you experience any of the following?:
- Customer issues seem to “blow up” – you are routinely blindsided
- Departments have little visibility into each other
- Internal conflict and blame reigns supreme – no ownership
- Can’t find the information you need when you need it
- Communicating and reporting with Excel?
- Staff enter the same data into 3 different “systems”
- You feel you need a real dashboard
Customer data is invaluable and organizing it and making it accessible is paramount in maintaining that internal customer awareness and focus. With long and complex buying cycles keeping data organized is vital, especially in complex B2B markets.
Such B2B customers may have:
Different functions and contacts responsible within the buying process
Totally separate buying function
In many businesses sales are expected to “manage” these customer relationships, it’s pretty widely accepted and not too contentious. But what does that statement really mean? Sales rarely gets the whole picture, perhaps being brought into the interaction once things go wrong. Owning the relationship means they should be an advocate for the customer, protecting that precious future business and that depends on visibility. There are many interactions and touch points between a supplier and a consumer of products and services. Even in “simple” B2C businesses there are multiple areas of interaction, from sales to service, from accounting to shipping.
If we consider all the touch points a typical business has with its customers, is it even possible that one department can be responsible for managing these relationships? Possibly, but I take issue with the word managing, looking back to my previous posts – systems and processes should manage wherever possible, sales people can certainly “own” the relationship. Fundamental to fulfilling that role should be the tools and data, this is where a more complete CRM system can be priceless. The CRM system can effectively become a business management system – where data is stored in one place also improving efficiency. This is step beyond the normal limited CRM system, widely available today, that only really addresses sales and marketing and perhaps an additional clunky service module.
As a business and management consultant my role is often to piece together information from different systems and processes (where they exist) in order to come up with an accurate “map” of where the business is today. Often this forensic exercise will be the first time management has seen real data collated in one place. A picture that will include data on; new customers repeat customers, customer satisfaction, customer profitability, marketing effectiveness, delivery data, discounts and customer service elements.
I am sure we have all seen “silo” organizations where departments or functions operate largely independently and sometimes in conflict with each other, often to the detriment of both the company and the customer. One example was an R&D department with no accountability and little oversight, their projects would be constantly pushed back. Requests for customer product changes stemmed from incomplete developed solutions, the department was bogged down with no time or task tracking to give a clear picture. Frustration reigned supreme between sales, service and R&D, the result of this was unhappy customers and a half assed and ill-conceived product line. Compounding these challenges was that the company in question had a sales CRM system, but for sales pipeline tracking only.
The sales people felt that they gave full visibility into their activities with no other area even attempting to do so. The CEO loved the CRM system as it was used and up to date – but spent a disproportionate amount of time questioning the sales team. This led to mistrust and significant dissatisfaction from the sales team.
Now I will admit there is no panacea or magic pill to fix these issues over night, but good visibility makes analysis and decision making so much easier.
The adoption of a more complete CRM will make this information available in real time and on demand, across all customer relationship departments.
It means company wide, top to bottom, commitment to implementing and using such a system – but the benefits will certainly impact the bottom line through:
Better customer relationships
Less duplication of efforts
Business clarity enabling better decision making
More efficient processes
So my best advice is take a look again at your CRM system if you have one, if not consider getting one and implementing it the right way as soon as possible. Bear these top 6 things in mind:
- Make sure you can align the CRM system and your business processes
- Make sure it integrates with your company systems
- Train staff over and over again
- If the activity isn’t in CRM it didn’t happen – no loopholes
- Make sure the reports you need come from within CRM
- Make sure that mobile platforms are supported
Let’s take a high level look at complete CRM system, a platform both complete and flexible that delivers real value to all customer relationship departments. This CRM system is from 1CRM, it will give you a good idea of what is available and perhaps make you think of CRM in a whole new way.
Uniquely 1CRM offers these fully integrated functional features:
Marketing, social media and campaign management
Sales process management
Shipping and receiving
Bills and payments
Task and project management
HR – time and expense recording
Integrated calendar functionality
These features all use the same customer contact data and store the events and interactions from each functional area. A complete relationship history for any customer, contact, or group is available through the on board reporting function.
Taking 1CRM a step further, 1CRM Enterprise enables you to create a truly personalized user & customer experience with the PDF Form Designer. Communicate your attention to detail, quality of work, and personal flair by personalizing your Quotes, Invoices, Work Orders, and other 1CRM-generated documents.
Increase productivity with the Module Designer, by adding all new modules to the system to track business objects unique to your enterprise. Integrate your 1CRM with the REST API Service and access the 1CRM Mobile iPhone App. Lastly, grow your business by catering to a mix of retail and distribution clients with a convenient price book for each pricing channel or level. 1CRM Enterprise is an affordable, complete, and customizable CRM system that will take your business to the next level.
Create the ultimate toolbox for your business – integrate 1CRM with all of the tools your team uses every day. Switching between apps is a tedious and time-consuming habit. Additionally, it leaves your business information scattered all over the place.
If you want to take charge of customer relationships look at CRM, whether a whole new installation or helping you figure out and re-implement your existing CRM, I can help. Call me on +1 865 2302702, Email terry@bizblot and find me online at www.bizblot.com