The origin of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) dates back to 1980s when it was primarily a database system. Somewhere in the 1990s, it transformed into contact management software. It was not until Y2K that CRM software became more refined to include a range of pre-sales and post-sales features. Today, business CRM solutions become highly sophisticated, cloud-based and integrated.
While CRM technology left its footprints wide and distinct in the B2C sphere, it was only in the last decade that B2B marketers saw the big picture of CRM for their businesses. Today, 97% of B2B organizations are already using CRM. Given the complexities and nature of transactions in B2B, the CRM brings the much-needed automation to make the entire sales cycle effortless and integrate it with the other functions of the business. According to a survey, B2B marketers find CRM the most valuable tool to drive growth and leads.
Let’s take a look at the benefits B2B CRM offers.
Manage Contacts Easily
There is only as much that a spreadsheet can do to manage the contacts. As the business grows, it becomes challenging to maintain error-free ‘n’ number of rows and columns to record customer information and track the stage of sales funnel they are at. Not to mention that this administrative burden eats into the time that salespeople should focus on selling. If you are not managing your contacts well, you may be losing business. An online CRM platform can take away all the stress out of end-to-end contact management, be it leads, prospects, opportunities or closed sales. Here is what all CRM can do:
- Upload customer information individually or in bulk.
- Prioritize activities and receive reminders for calls, emails, demos, meeting or follow-up because CRM captures every piece of information.
- Enter every little note about the customer – you never know which detail may come handy and when!
- Eliminate duplication errors which may occur when the same contact is entered more than once.
- Identify high quality leads to nurture them further.
- Remove human dependency which can be a disadvantage when a salesperson quits or goes on leave without handing over. When you have everything on the system, there is no threat of losing track of customer data when the salesperson is not around.
Improve Customer Experience (CX)
B2B customer relationships require nurturing right from the prospecting stage. The B2B sales cycle is long – it can take months before the lead closes. So, the salespeople to stay invested in the customer relationship for a longer haul. The entire journey needs to be an experience so enriching and personal that customers choose you over the competitors. It is not the product alone that sells; the experience also counts a great deal. A study titled ‘B2B Customer Experience Survey’ revealed that more than 8 in 10 B2B executives recognize CX as a strategic priority. Hence, a CRM strategy can make all the difference in providing consistent, responsive and personalized CX at all touch points.
Prepare Real-Time Quotes
Imagine the impression it will create on customers when you cannot fulfill the quote terms promised to them? Maybe the prices have gone up, or the product is not in stock by the time customers approve the cost. Unless the lady luck is on your side, you will lose the deal in all probability. Online CRM management enables real-time integration by updating information about inventory, prices and transactions as they happen. With real-time data at hand, your sales team can send accurate and updated quotes to customers. As and when there is the slightest change, CRM will modify the quote accordingly. So, customers would not feel led under false promises.
Create Automated Targeted Marketing Campaigns
If you have multiple product lines or want to run different campaigns at the same time, it can be a mammoth task. However, if you have deployed the best CRM system, you can create highly personalized and automated marketing campaigns for target customers. You can sift through the top of the funnel leads or identify the potentially profitable customers. Based on their buying preferences and behavior, you can segment them into same groups and send focused communication.
Analytics and Reporting
Has the marketing campaign been successful? Which campaign has given the Return on Investment (ROI)? How many leads has the salesperson converted? What should be the next quarter’s sales forecast? The answer to all these questions likes in analytics and reporting. CRM software comes with a dashboard that auto-generates reliable reports for you to measure all metrics. This way, you can take data-driven sales decisions.
CRM is a useful tool for B2B businesses of any size. Just make sure you select the best CRM software to optimize your sales efforts.