As a senior project manager in an ever-growing digital agency and the main go-to communication person when landing clients and/ or pitching projects I have had the pleasure to take
A short guide to Customer Relationship Management
Are you looking to have more organized and coordinated operations in your business? Is your firm taking a turn you are not happy with, in regards to customer relations and you are keen on changing things? Well, you just boarded the right plane since I am about to land you to the destination where your relations with your potential and actual customers are well streamlined, and your profitability improved owing to strong business relationships. You are probably wondering what the mysterious charm is, but I can assure you that it is something you are probably familiar with but haven’t given it much of attention. The solution is in the incorporation of a technology that manages all your business relationships within and without the company. The tool is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which has been with us long enough and has proved its worth in the market by offering assistance in the management of sales, productivity and contact management.
When people discuss matters pertaining to CRM, they only see the general management of business operations which includes relations with the outside world which is mainly composed of customers. What they overlook is that the system in question has more to offer, and that involves finding new customers through the penetration of new markets and intense advertising, provision of additional services and support to clients, and the maintenance of strong relations with individuals including service users, suppliers, and colleagues. It should be clear to you by now that the tool offers solutions beyond customer relations hence more reason you should consider incorporating it in the daily operations of your business. We cannot underestimate the constant advancements in technology which have seen the business world evolve from a manual form to one that is entirely digitized, which calls for entrepreneurs to incorporate software that can assist in the running of functions with little effort and a high level of effectiveness. Software manufacturing companies have not also lagged in the wave of technological advancements since they are continually releasing new features in the already existing CRM solutions. This has provided an answer to almost all forms of businesses since there is something for everyone. Whether you are midsize or small firm looking for a customized system to work in your central office, or you are a large enterprise with branches all over the nation or world and are looking for one that will serve your decentralized workforce, then you got yourself a permanent and workable solution in CRM.
The question is, how do you decide on the CRM solution that is fit for your needs, given that there is a wide range of the same in the market? Let’s have a look at this short guide to Customer Relationship Management.
Understand your goals and pain points
There is nothing more important for a business than a defined sense of direction. Firms that have a solid clue as to the exact things they want for themselves have an easy time choosing the right tools for their business operations. In the case of CRM, businesses that are looking to leverage new technology into the daily operations will integrate CRM into the different business functions such as supply chain management, customer service, sales and marketing, and Human Resources. This is how the tool performs in different sectors.
1. Sales and marketing
The system assists the sales teams in a better understanding of the sales pipeline, since through it, information about clients, potential markets and sales targets can be accessed. The information is used in the analysis of customer relations, and the tracking of activities related to sales such as sales forecasting.
2. Customer service
Conversations are tracked across channels through the integration of a specific type of CRM into the system. The provision of a common platform which allows for customer interactions ensures that communications are not missed hence customers receive satisfactory responses. Customer retention and satisfaction are increased in the process since it is easier to deal with complaints and anticipate issues. The positive experience clients get means that they do not have to go through the hassle of bouncing between channels and departments where they are expected to re-explain their issues each time.
3. Supply Chain Management
When choosing a CRM, you need to ensure that it can record any requests that customers and stakeholders make, track meetings with partners and suppliers, schedule follow-ups and effectively make reports regarding the efficiency of suppliers.
4. Human Resource
The tracking of employee performance and acceleration of the recruitment process is made possible by a CRM meant for that purpose. You need to incorporate the system that automates the process of candidate management, identifies gaps in skills, analyses need in resourcing and supports staff retention. These are functions a sales CRM or any other software cannot perform which is why specialization is significant in decision making when it comes to choosing the necessary tools.
Nature of the business
As a shrewd business person, it is your duty to determine the correct CRM based on the nature of your operations, the level of security you require and the available resources to sustain the CRM solutions. Small and medium-sized companies dealing with common operations can opt for off-the-shelf CRM solutions while bigger corporations which have unique functions would benefit from a fully custom-built system. Let’s have a sneak peek into the various categories you can consider based on the nature of operations in your firm.
a) Custom CRM software
You cannot overlook the importance of selecting a CRM that you can customize as per your business requirements. The fact that different businesses have different needs means that ready-made CRM software does not offer all the services one would require for the various facets of their business operations. It is therefore important to have software that is flexible enough to be tailored according to the firm’s needs.
b) Off-the-shelf CRM solutions
If you are just starting out in the entrepreneurship arena and your small business requires some input in the management of functions and all that pertains to customer relations, you could opt for a ready-made CRM application that you can integrate with already existing packages. The solution is cheap because you only make use of standard components of software. The downside is that the software may lack exactly what you need, so you end up trading off efficiency and functionality for cost and convenience.
The basic thing here is to understand what drives your need for the software before you can even decide on which one to stick to. From there, you can now establish what you want to accomplish with the same. With that said, it is now up to you to wear the forward-thinking that and make an informed decision in regards to a CRM that suits you best.
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