A CRM is so much more than just software. It is a powerful tool that can help you eliminate friction, unify cross-functional teams, manage contact details, sync data, automate tasks, manage customer data and a lot more.
Many VAR businesses fail to implement successful CRM initiatives because of flawed strategies and the perception that a CRM is useful only for the sales teams. That is not true. By effectively integrating your marketing, sales and customer service and support functions, a unified CRM system like VARStreet’s FREE CRM makes it easier for every team in your VAR business to work collaboratively and share critical information.
The benefits that a unified CRM brings to your business are countless.
Here are the top 5 reasons why your VAR business needs a CRM
Aligns Sales and Marketing
A unified CRM enables your sales and marketing teams to collaborate in closer, tighter and seamless ways. Data silos are eliminated, everyone has access to accurate and updated lead status, customer interactions, etc., enabling everyone to work in unison to drive leads through the sales pipeline.
This alignment across teams will give your VAR business an edge and help you close more opportunities. Features like automated workflows, real-time analytics, sales pipeline tracking and other system features and capabilities bridge the gap between the two teams and lend accountability, aiding them to collaborate in innovative ways. A single source of information across different teams creates transparency throughout your VAR business.
2. Data Accessibility and Reliability
Different teams collect different data through their interactions with customers. Entering the data collected by multiple teams into the same system eliminates data discrepancies. Every team in your organization works within the same data structure, exponentially increasing data integrity. Any new data entered into the system is updated in real-time for all to see.
A unified CRM like VARStreet has all your data on one platform eliminating the need for additional integrations between systems like eCommerce, sales quotation tools or catalog management, reducing any room for data corruption.
It also ensures that everyone who engages with customers has access to a complete customer profile and history of interactions, past orders, favorite products, shipping preferences and a lot more – whether they work in marketing, sales, delivery or support. And that’s great for your customers.
3. Personalized Customer Relationships
VARStreet’s CRM stores invaluable customer and prospect information, like their search and buying behaviour, purchase history, preferences, interactions they’ve previously had with your business, internal notes by employees who interacted with them, etc.
Quick and easy access to this data gives customer-facing teams insights into the customer’s profile, preferences, background history about any interactions, etc., enabling your teams to speak to customers on a more personal level and form engaging relationships with customers.
It also allows them to offer personalized services making the customer feel appreciated, letting them know that you value their business, consequently building trust, fostering loyalty and increasing the customer’s lifetime value.
4. Detailed Insights and Analytics
All the data that is collected can be used for detailed reports and insights to gain valuable information about your business. You can decide and set various parameters, key performance indicators (KPIs) or tracking and analyzing metrics to generate customized reports for your business to identify strategies and marketing tactics giving you the best results and optimize or tweak those that are not.
This allows you to take informed data-based intelligent decisions to further your business growth.
VARStreet allows you to automate these reports. They can be generated periodically and sent to your email or displayed on your custom dashboard. You can configure this dashboard to see what is most important to your business. These reports easily share results with other stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.
5. Greater Customer Satisfaction
Businesses today are all about customer experience and satisfaction. Consumer’s today have numerous options and business marketing to them every minute of every day, online, on social media, through emails, etc. What sets successful businesses apart from all this noise online is a great customer experience.
And to create and deliver exceptional customer experiences, you need a unified CRM like VARStreet. Empower your teams with accurate data and a deep understanding of your customers’ needs to increase their efficiency and ability to deliver personalized interactions throughout the entire customer journey greatly enhancing the customer experience and increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Since fostering customer relationships is crucial in offering a superior customer experience, let’s further drill down into how a CRM improves customer relationships.
6 Ways a CRM can Improve Customer Relationships
1. In Depth Knowledge of Customers
All the information on each contact stored in one place makes VARSTreet’s CRM an invaluable tool to aid in engaging communication with every single customer.
It is like a cheat sheet your sales, marketing, and customer service teams can easily access to know key information while interacting with a customer.
Not just details like a contact’s full name, email address, telephone number, shipping address, etc. but also critical business facts such as a contact’s position in the company, their relations to other contacts in your database, their birthdays, any past grievances they’ve had with your company, feedback, buying patterns, their preferences and so much more. Any information you gather while interacting with a customer can be saved on the CRM to personalize further conversations.
Your teams can also save any activity, follow-up, notes, projects, etc., against a lead or customer. Their orders, invoices, contracts, tickets raised, etc., are also available on VARStreet’s CRM, allowing you detailed information and complete visibility into all your contacts, leads and customers and their needs and requirements.
2. Improved Segmentation
Segmenting contacts, prospects or customers into target audiences allows you to break down data and create focused lists to run tailored marketing campaigns or sales pitches. You can break the data down into categories or criteria based on reports and analytics.
Segment warm leads, inactive customers, segment customers by similar product preferences and a lot more to create customized campaigns.
A good CRM system like VARStreet’s FREE CRM gives you a clear understanding of who is interested in your offers, who are yet undecided and the ones as cold as ice, to tailor campaigns to increase conversions by segmented marketing.
3. Increased Customer Retention
While a CRM is a great asset to help you understand prospects, leads and opportunities and nurture them, it is also invaluable for keeping your existing customers satisfied and happy. Keeping an existing customer is 6 or 7 times cheaper than getting a new one.
VARStreet’s CRM gives you many advantages in customer retention, like setting reminders for appointments or follow-ups, automating emails, etc.
But the real clinch here is detailed insights into customer preferences that help all your teams offer unified, uninterrupted and relevant customer service and support.
4. Better Anticipation of Needs
With detailed information on prospects, opportunities or leads at their fingertips, sales teams can anticipate customers’ needs and sell more efficiently. Knowing their purchase history, the exact items and timelines, allow sales teams to offer exact solutions and products, upsell and cross-sell suggestions, etc., increasing the chances of conversion.
Knowing if the customer has had past grievances, or if they are calling for a follow up on a complaint, a wrong order, etc., reduces conflict and customer frustration, and allows the support team to know the problem at hand to offer the right solutions quickly.
5. Effective and Timely Communication
90% of companies do not use autoresponders to acknowledge they have received a customer service email, leaving the customer feeling confused or ignored. Quickly replying to customer emails or messages is a sign of professionalism and shows them that you appreciate their business.
When it comes to customer service requests, speed is everything! Good CRMs offer you customizable templates for emails, SMSs, letters, documents, newsletters, etc., which can also be automated and scheduled.
With all contact interaction history just a click away, VARStreet’s CRM allows you to personalize your communication and cater to the exact customer’s needs.
So What’s Holding VAR Business From Using a CRM?
Now that we’ve seen the amazing benefits that a CRM has for your business, the question remains, why do so many VAR businesses still shy away from using one?
Most CRM initiatives fail because most VAR business owners lack understanding of the implementation and the complete benefits that a CRM offers. Many believe that a CRM is a tool to manage customer relationships only and are not aware of the holistic benefits.
This assumption is flawed, as a CRM when combined with other business management applications, like eCommerce platforms, sales quotation tools, accounting software, sourcing and procurement tools, and catalog management services; and aligned with customer, sales and marketing strategies, improve internal processes, aid customer loyalty, increase conversions and overall business profitability.
Here are 3 Pitfalls You Should Avoid When Implementing a CRM Software
#1 Implementing CRM Before Creating a Customer Strategy
Management and executives are under the flawed assumption that a software tool is a magic wand that will make all problems go away. A CRM like VARStreet does that, but not in a siloed ecosystem.
Your customer acquisition and retention strategy must match and be in alignment with the CRM tool you’ve purchased to reap the maximum benefits from the CRM.
#2 Rolling Out The CRM Before Making Organizational Changes
Is your business customer-centric? Do all your employees have a customer-first approach? If not, then you need to address that before rolling out a CRM.
Wanting to develop better customer relations needs to be an organizational goal. You will need to change redundant processes and revamp customer-related internal business SoPs to enhance customer journeys from acquisition to order fulfilment and support.
A CRM will not work if you have not changed the internal structures, performance measures, training programs, etc., to meet customer needs in an improved way.
#3 Stalking, Not Nurturing, Customers
Customers do not appreciate being bombarded with irrelevant offers or emails. Marketing and retargeting are so aggressive today that if not done right, they can be very annoying.
Using a CRM to only ‘get after’ customers without offering them any personalized benefits or an overall enhanced customer experience will not forge engaging relationships instead will affect your business negatively.
Just because a CRM makes it easy to contact customers does not mean you should. Base this decision on your marketing strategy, not on the capabilities or functions of your CRM.
#4 Failure To Train Your Staff on The CRM
Equip your employees to maximize the benefits from the CRM software you purchase by conducting training. VARStreet support offers extensive training sessions tailored to business roles for your employees, numerous video tutorials and resources so that each team understands features and functionalities of the CRM that will help them streamline their processes and boost productivity.
There are many management, productivity and project management tools that have come and gone, but CRM software is here to stay. Successful CRM implementation depends more on strategy than on the amount you spend on the software.
If customer relationships are a priority for your business, as they should be, a CRM will help you enhance each interaction you have with your customers.
An integrated CRM software solution like VARStreet is the most reliable way to gain complete visibility into each aspect of your customer relationships, make data-driven intelligent decisions and create a business strategy that aligns with your brand vision. Do not buy a CRM because it is now a trend. Choose a CRM that aligns with your business goal and serves your entire organization.