If you think a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is only valuable for large corporations, think again. A good CRM, properly configured, can be an instrumental tool for helping small to mid-sized businesses gain market share and thrive even in a tight economy. Here’s how:
1. A CRM Can Improve Sales Efficiency
Although CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, it is valuable even before a true customer relationship begins. A well-designed and consistently utilized CRM can help smaller businesses establish and track the journey from first contact to conversion, and then on to managing the client account.
With a well-defined sales strategy and sales process in place, key prospect and customer relationship data can – and must – be added to your CRM. Of course, the CRM should also be configured to track prospect and customer interactions as they happen throughout the lifecycle of a relationship. In fact, a robust CRM can be used to document actions, events, and milestones throughout the buyer journey.
For the salesperson, the CRM becomes a linchpin for better sales efficiency and for tracking pipeline opportunities. It starts with being able to input these opportunities and adding notes about prospects in one place. This is critical because in extended sales cycles, months might pass between interactions. And with the CRM as a trusted repository of information, the salesperson can gauge the of quality of the lead, important prospect insights, and historical engagement data. This enables them to easily pick up where the last interaction left off. The CRM can also be a follow-through tool as well; it can help the sales rep remember what they promised to do and by what deadline.
The rep can also reference information about current sales pipeline and which step in the process they are at from demo to proposal to contract. This all adds up to less time wasted trying to recall key details – and less chance of embarrassment for getting those details wrong – when reconnecting with a prospect or an existing customer.
Finally, the CRM can help the sales rep understand where prospects are in the sales funnel in a way that helps the rep know when deals are likely to close and the impact on revenue and their commission. By tracking pipeline progress in real time, the sales rep can be better informed and more motivated to keep the process moving and to close those deals!
2. A CRM Can Improve Customer Service
Once a prospect becomes a customer, of course, the CRM can be an essential tool for tracking customer data and improving service. Customer-facing staff members should be authorized and equipped to utilize relevant areas of the CRM. This will keep the CRM up to date as continuing customer interactions occur. When the CRM is kept current in real time, each department that interacts with customers can see the big picture and more effectively manage their customer relationships.
When engaging with customers, it can be vital to customer satisfaction and loyalty for the service agent to be informed. During a customer call, for example, imagine the importance of being able to enter into the CRM the customer’s name and instantly accessing all their information in one place. Imagine, too, the competitive advantage that can give your company over a competitor that can’t match that attention to detail.
Service-oriented companies of any size are also wise to integrate email, messaging, and other forms of communication into the CRM. Properly configured with this capability, the customer can receive timely and relevant messages when appropriate, based on engagement activity and milestones.
3. A CRM Can Improve Overall Business Performance
Ultimately, the CRM will make it easier to analyze your company’s pipeline, revenue, processes, and assess your sales team’s overall productivity. For example, the CRM can help department managers stay fully informed and more efficient when meeting with employees and discussing prospect- and customer-related progress and performance.
To optimize a CRM for performance, it should be adaptable to changes in processes. It should be scalable, as well as fully capable of integrating and accepting new levels of prospect, customer, and process details. It should also be configurable to generate reports from macro to micro levels as necessary. But in the end, holding your team accountable for using the CRM is key to having clarity on overall performance of your sales team and the revenue impact they are driving for your business.
The Bottom Line:
A well-designed and thoughtfully implemented and maintained CRM can improve sales efficiency, enhance customer service, and give smaller businesses critical competitive advantages. At Sales Xceleration, our Outsourced VPs of Sales specialize in helping clients assess and configure effective CRMs. To learn more about our Pathfinder CRM, click here. We invite you to click here to schedule a no-obligation appointment with your local consultant, or contact us today at 1.844.874.7253.
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