CRM is a tool to help businesses streamline their sales processes and customer communications.
Sounds impressive? Let us understand more about it.
Here we assume (and wish) that you have a business that offers a wide spectrum of products to its clients. One of your clients has a bad debt and your accounts department follows up with them for the payment. A new sales rep approaches the same customer to offer another product from your company. What a loss and what a lack of communication?
Trust me, this happens not only in a big company set up but also in small to medium business enterprises. The disconnect can happen anywhere. One software that shields your business from such letdown and embarrassment is Customer relationship management (CRM) software.
With the help of CRM, all customer data and communications are recorded. It is a very important tool for the sales reps as it saves a lot of their time and energy to find out the details of an existing customer or a prospect.
When we say CRM, we mean customer relations, business growth, and automation. All under one roof.
Any company with a growth mindset looks for constant improvement in –
- Customer Service
- Prospect connect
- Lead management
- Deal closure
Why Is CRM the Key to a Successful eCommerce Business?
Businesses nowadays operate in an age of cut-throat competition. Offering top-quality products cannot guarantee success. Customers are not only looking for a great quality product but also an impeccable customer experience. One big factor of staying ahead of the competition is “customer retention”, which is all the more important when doing business in the online space, where customer lifecycle is a lot quicker and you need to put in extra efforts to get and retain customers.
So, this is where an Ecommerce CRM comes into the picture which helps you to convert your prospects into customers and track your existing customers. E-commerce businesses operate in a fast-paced environment, so having a CRM is an absolute must.
Some ecommerce CRM benefits are as follows:
- Explore, capture and acquire new customers.
- Track existing customers’ purchases to get an insight into their buying behaviors and needs.
- Manage customers better resulting in cost savings.
- Devise marketing strategies and innovative customer loyalty programs to retain customers.
- Integrates with your ecommerce website and captures customer data
- Manages customer queries and allots them to customer reps efficiently
Areas covered by CRM for sales reps
- Lead management
Lead Management helps companies to streamline and optimize the entire sales process by tracking and managing potential customers. A lead is a prospect who expresses interest in a product or service and has the potential to become a customer.
Every lead is entered into the CRM and undergoes a vetting process, wherein further information such as interest, budget, and size of the company is collected.
Businesses generate leads using marketing tools such as PR campaigns, advertisements, blogs, social media, etc. Leads are categorized based on the likelihood of a prospect to become a customer and scheduled for follow-ups or targeted through marketing campaigns.
The leads are grouped into Warm, Hot, and Junk categories according to the interest level of the prospect.
Once the lead is converted into a sale, it emerges as a customer.
- Activity Management
Activity management enables companies to control the business direction and increase efficiency. It records and manages the day-to-day activities of the employees.
From a CRM perspective, activities management helps the management to plan and assign activities to the employees in the sales department. Activity management in CRM is used to record data from sales-related activities such as calling, emailing, visiting a customer, or following up.
For example, assume that a customer contract is about to expire, so activity here would be to make a follow-up call to the customer and to find out whether they are willing to renew the contract or not.
Sales personnel prioritize their scheduled activities and set notifications accordingly i.e. notify once a call or meeting is due.
So, activity management aims to provide a complete view and control of all scheduled and performed activities by keeping records of calls made, meetings done, tasks performed, etc. with the ultimate goal to provide the best customer service.
- Centralized data
A centralized database enables customer’s related data to be efficient and well managed. This is more important when we deal with large amounts of data.
Once CRM manages all the customer data in one place, sales personnel can access the data anytime and anywhere before any sales call, without worrying about its availability. They can readily access information such as customer name, past call history, product interests, etc., and ensure a personalized customer experience.
- Pipeline management
From the management point of view, pipeline management helps CRM managers oversee and direct future sales in various stages.
It analyses the overall sales process and identifies the areas of improvement. One can foresee whether there’ll be sales growth or not and help predict future revenues.
CRM managers view data in the form of charts and measure performance in terms of actual sales. They can find out the average time taken to convert leads into customers and determine whether sales reps meet their targets or not.
Sales reps can shorten the sales cycle and improve sales effectiveness by creating categories of leads and tracking the same in the sales pipeline. Sales reps can also plan different strategies and maximize sales potential by moving leads from one stage to the next.
- Sales forecasting
Sales forecasting predicts a product’s or service’s future sales on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Accurate sales forecasts enable businesses to make more informed business decisions thereby impacting the performance.
Businesses predominantly use past sales data and also conduct industry-wide comparisons. They take into account the current economic trends to forecast future sales.
So, how does sales forecasting fit into CRM?
A successful sales strategy depends on an accurate forecast. A sales forecasting CRM software helps sales teams to fine-tune their selling strategies and add more predictability to the overall business performance.
Sales managers combine the CRM pipeline of potential deals with actual sales history to make more accurate future sales growth predictions. It helps the company to manage resources accordingly. Sales reps measure their achievements compared to the targets and see how they can improve.
- Mobile CRM
With rapid mobile usage growth and sales teams increasingly out in the field meeting prospects and customers, to have a mobile CRM is no longer optional, but a necessity for businesses.
With a Mobile CRM app or web browser, sales teams access real-time customer data anytime and anywhere on the move or at client meetings for quicker and accurate decision making.
They use data to measure their performance vis-à-vis targets and focus on the weak areas for improvement.
Sales reps communicate with their peers at the office or send/receive documents. In addition to company employees, mobile CRM also enables contractors or partners to access customer accounts and extend the scope of the business significantly.
CRM creates a link between different departments
CRM provides immense value and benefits to become a part of the daily lives of sales and marketing personnel.
Over the years, CRM usage and importance have grown significantly from mere customer data and sales numbers. CRM has become an ecosystem. Other departments need to understand the utility of CRM to reap its benefits.
CRM benefits respective departments in multiple ways as follows:
- HR department– With CRM, HR personnel review employees’ performance as needed and not just on a quarterly or yearly basis. In this way, the HR department is armed with up-to-date information on employees’ performance at all times. Updated with the latest data, the HR dept detects poor performance beforehand and takes timely action which goes a long way in employees’ retention and resultant cost savings to the company.
- Finance department – CRM helps the finance department to get real-time customer account-related data such as deal forecasts, revenue projections, etc. for timely and accurate decision making. A CRM helps the finance department to generate various reports such as sales, revenues, expenses, etc. both at the macro and micro level.
- IT department – With all customer-related data centrally located in CRM, the IT department uses CRM data for process improvements and integrates CRM with other systems such as billing, invoicing, fulfillment system to make one seamless system. It eliminates the need to enter the same data in multiple systems and ensure all departments are on the same page thereby saving time and money to the company i.e. entering new customer information across different systems.
“And all the magic that this wonder tool, CRM software displays, we understand it acts as the digital backbone of a business. All the key areas that help you sell more online are supported by CRM”
CRM applications have proven to increase sales by 29%, boost sales productivity by 34% and improve forecast accuracy by 42%
And 2020 was no different. Last year we found out that overall CRM usage increased from 56% to 74%.
Still in doubt? Is it suitable for the type of business you have? Read on.
Different CRM for different businesses
Different forms of CRM software are available to choose from no matter the size of your company or the industry you belong to. There’s always a CRM out there for you.
- Operational CRM – Operational CRMs work best for businesses where marketing, sales, and service departments work together efficiently to give better support and experience to the existing customers and prospects. In operational CRM, leads are generated and converted into contacts. They are automatically uploaded to CRM to be nurtured by sales teams to close deals. All required details are captured to provide the best service throughout the customer lifecycle.
- Analytical CRM – Data analysis and data visualization is the mainstay of this type of CRM for understanding customers. Customer data is gathered from different marketing channels and analyzed to gain insights about the customers, their preferences, interests, points of contact, etc. Analysis of customer data also helps in recognizing trends and patterns for more informed decision-making by top management.
- Collaborative CRM – Collaborative CRM also known as Strategic CRM allows sales, marketing, and customer service departments to work together and share customer information and market trends between themselves. For example, the marketing department targets certain customers based on inputs received from the customer service department. Collaborative CRMs main objective is to offer better customer service and increase sales by getting new customers.
- Campaign management CRM – This CRM is a blend of analytical and operational CRMs which use collected customer data to plan, manage, and run sales and marketing campaigns. Email campaign providers such as Mailchimp, Outreach, etc. are integrated with CRM to run campaigns.
When you sell online there are a lot of strings attached to your business. CRM is the wand that makes the magic happen.
When you wonder how to handle the multiple functionalities of your online business, the software assists you in some key areas to make your life easy and your business profitable.