Tapping into the Benefits of CRM in Your Business (article)
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, the importance of retaining existing customers and expanding business is paramount. More and more organizations are turning to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a means of driving corporate performance.
So what is CRM? It is a philosophy that places the customer and the customer’s needs at the center of all business decisions. CRM is a technology that allows organizations to track and leverage every customer interaction to maximize revenue opportunities and improve customer loyalty. It also helps organizations optimize their operations by automating routine tasks and standardizing best practices. Ultimately, CRM allows organizations to better acquire, manage, serve, and extract value from their customers while improving operational efficiency.
CRM was noted as a leading priority of business executives by AMR Research and Forrester Research, and the trend is continuing.
While there are many advantages to implementing CRM, there are five key benefits:
1. Focus on existing customers.
It is significantly cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. Effective customer retention begins with knowledge. CRM provides an easy way for companies to assemble a complete customer profile, allowing users to see all demographic data, interactions, communications, and purchases made. This information, combined with robust segmentation and analysis tools that CRM provides, enables organizations to better gauge the profitability of each customer. Having a 360-degree view of customers provides quick access to accurate data helping to better identify the right customers, increase customer loyalty, and maximize profitability.
2. Maximize sales revenue opportunities.
With CRM, you can identify trends and patterns that indicate key selling scenarios based on buying behavior, demographics, or other criteria. The sales team can use this improved visibility to better track leads and opportunities, as well as real-time sales forecasting, leading to increased sales output and higher close rates. The marketing team can also be more accurate with their efforts. CRM enables them to create targeted marketing campaigns, nurture marketing programs more effectively, and measure response rates based on their efforts. All in all, sales and marketing organizations can work better together to jointly track revenue generated and tailor marketing programs based on real-time results of those programs.
3. Do more with less.
One of the fastest ways to achieve improved efficiency is by streamlining key business processes and improving individual productivity. CRM provides real-time analytics which can give companies the information needed to improve business processes, enable better decision-making, and increase overall employee efficiencies.
4. Reduce operational costs.
CRM helps with cost reduction by automating routine tasks, consolidating systems, and achieving a more streamlined IT environment. For instance, from a customer service perspective, it helps to facilitate delivery of cost-effective customer service by generating customer service cases from incoming e-mail messages. With the relevant details already populated, organizations can save significant data entry time. Customer support cases can be automatically assigned to the most qualified resource based on pre-defined criteria or triggers.
CRM also provides the ability to consolidate how information is presented to employees. Whether employees are executing marketing campaigns, working a sales deal, updating customer information, fielding a customer service inquiry, or taking an order, they should be able to do that in one unified system such as CRM.
5. Leverage existing IT assets.
Many companies have significant investments in mission-critical custom solutions but often have difficulty converting data into useful information and creating processes that connect people across disparate systems. Integrating a CRM solution with other applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing, and inventory management systems can add value to customer-facing activities. For example, giving sales representatives access to inventory data through a CRM solution allows the sales person to tell customers on the spot when an order will be filled, helping to increasing customer response and overall satisfaction.
CRM goes beyond just technology. Tapping into all it has to offer can help your company become more customer-centric, drive new growth, maintain competitive agility, and attain operational excellence.
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