In the space of a week, three conversations with different professionals regarding varying requirements occurred but they all fall under the same umbrella of ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM).
On a Monday afternoon, CRM was at the forefront of a demonstration with a packaging company who wanted a simple system to track and record any customer complaints or issues – no fancy frills, just straightforward issue tracking and management.
At a meeting with a long standing customer on Wednesday, who had just recruited a new Marketing Executive, the meeting opened with “show us how to do a marketing campaign in your CRM system”.
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Having addressed two completely different CRM requirements from totally different industries within 3 days, there was still another to come. It took the form of a demonstration with a safety wear distributor who employed an eight man sales team on the road.
The MD wanted to clearly see how CRM would allow him to control his remote sales team from back at base!
On reflection, it became clear to me that no matter who you are or what industry you are in, it is essential not only to choose the right form of customer relationship management for your business but more importantly, once implemented, give some thought to developing and implementing your overall strategy.
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This doesn’t require significant financial output, but rather, an investment of time (as a company) in identifying exactly what you want to achieve, who will manage the process and how to get the most from your integrated CRM system.
Customer Relationship Management Systems can include any or all of the following:
- Issue Tracking
- Recording Correspondence – phone calls, emails, notes
- Targeted Marketing Campaigns
- Automated Marketing Campaigns
- Sales Rep Activity Tracking
- Customer Sales Information
- Sales Lead Management
- Sales Pipeline Management
- Credit Control Management
CRM solutions provide you with a broad range of tangible benefits. However, many businesses get so caught up in the quest to improve the productivity of staff or in reducing operating and overhead costs that they lose sight of what customer relationship management really is.
CRM systems enable you to better serve your customers by opening up vital channels of communication, building value and sharing client-focused knowledge.
So it’s important to use your CRM system to focus on increasing acquisitions, satisfaction, loyalty and retention while delivering a superior service to existing and potential clients.
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Most business software offers some level of customer relationship management but if you want to ensure you have access to real-time, accurate data, you may need to invest in a fully integrated system.
From experience, successful CRM installations have one common trait – their success is driven from the top of the organisation. Daily and weekly checks that all information is kept up to date and the resultant data is used pro-actively are vital for its success.
Your CRM must become a way of life within your organisation, a central hub, a culture that focuses on winning new customers and retaining existing ones.