Every company that uses CRM (Customer Relationship Management) shows a clear commitment to get to know its customers better by studying their needs – and offering them a personalized solution. A CRM is a strategic tool, powered by technology and cloud computing, and helps build cooperation between sales and the other departments within the company.
In addition to increasing sales force efficiency, CRM also develops relationship marketing. It helps you build lasting relationships with your customers thanks to its ability to store and analyse data on their preferences, needs and/or buying habits.
You can then optimise the whole process of obtaining leads, and convert them into potential sales. The result is improved communication, greater loyalty and higher profits, due largely to better quality feedback on the work you’re doing.
Here are the lessons CRM has taught us, with a view to identifying opportunities for improvement:
1 Don’t forget the preliminary steps
To start working with a CRM system you need a client database, corporate website and a social media presence. It doesn’t matter if you’re an SME or a large company, as CRM is a technological solution that can adapt to any company size. It’s entirely flexible, and can develop and improve functionality should your business really take off.
CRM technology should integrate easily with other business solutions and be scalable, i.e. it can adapt to increased productivity or demand. The system stores huge quantities of data and therefore needs to be user-friendly.
In developing our solution we’ve taken these requirements into account: ForceManager can easily be integrated with any ERP/CRM system. The web-service interface allows for two-way integration, and therefore totally synchronised information. The data entry interface is based on an exchange of Excel (XSL) or plain text (CSV) files exported regularly from the ERP/CRM.
2 Opt unanimously for hi-tech
A good CRM system should collect concrete data on your relationship with the customer via any channel (phone call, email, a landing page form) and at any stage of the buying process.
You therefore need to invest time and resources to develop or buy the system, to have the quantity of data needed to implement company sales strategy. The data warehouse is where client information from both internal and external sources is stored, while data mining technology allows you to identify user/customer behaviour patterns by analysing the data.
3 Take into account the human factor
All this may give the impression that the CRM is an intelligent system for acquiring data. But it’s the people who work with the technology, the company employees, who determine whether or not it’s successful.
A company that deploys CRM needs to train its employees on adopting the new customer service culture. It may be a simple programme, but a lot of information is at stake. According to a study by 1010data, lack of training continues to pose the biggest problem in making use of Big Data in the corporate world. If you want to add value to the company and the customer, anticipate customer needs and offer personalised solutions, you need an excellent command of CRM.
4 Move towards Social CRM
Thanks to traditional CRM systems, you’ve collected information based on company-client interaction. Social CRM is the natural development of SaaS applications, and is no longer a long-term goal. If you want to know who your clients are, both real and potential, you have to have a social media presence – and listen to what those clients are saying.
Social CRM helps you define and launch campaigns aimed at a concrete target, identified through their social profile and conversations, including their tastes, opinions, complaints, and contributions to group discussions. One to one contact is then a further means of better understanding the relationship between clients and brands – another way of recording information and monitoring our contacts. It’s a dialogue in constant evolution that offers a number of advantages: the ability to develop new proposals per target, anticipate a possible reputation crisis, or provide incentives for brand loyalty.