It hopefully goes without saying that clear and consistent communication with potential customers is of utmost importance in business. Being able to provide a tailored and personalized service also helps to give your contacts that human touch. But if you have a large database, it can be hard to keep tabs on everyone’s history and preferences.
On a very basic level, this is what CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) software provides: a database of your customers and prospects that records your sales communications, sales pipeline information and order history for each contact. However, the idea of a CRM being a basic database of customer details is just the beginning.
Utilizing CRM software is crucial to building and maintaining strong, loyal relationships with your contacts. Though it requires everyone on the team to use the software consistently to ensure that records are kept up to date, the data it provides allows a company to completely monitor interactions with their contacts. It means that everyone’s always on the same page with regards to every single prospect. Accurate information about the prospect’s communications and their location within the sales process can be accessed at the drop of a hat.
However, there are many more in depth reasons that a reliable CRM platform is an important tool for business, but they mainly boil down into three categories: increasing profitability, increasing productivity, and improving customer service.
Many don’t realise the sheer importance of customer retention. According to Forbes, it’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Therefore, it makes sense to prioritise keeping “customers for life” rather than looking for new business elsewhere.
Once you have a contact’s details, your team can immediately start to build up a picture of their needs, and of the conversations they have with you. Should the contact’s enquiries continue over several phone calls or email exchanges, using a reliable CRM means that whoever picks up the phone to that person next has access to a full picture of what has already been advised or discussed.
It is similarly beneficial to long-term customers, because previous orders, customer service issues and queries are all held in the CRM database, giving any team member a full history of their activity at a glance. So CRM platforms help your team to nurture relationships both new and old by giving your staff the information they need about your prospects in a timely and clear fashion.
By building and maintaining strong bonds with your customers and prospects, you reduce your potential marketing spend by retaining existing customers rather than always relying on looking elsewhere for new ones.
Some CRM platforms also include website analytics functions, so you can keep an eye on which pages and products are more popular, and how that popularity fluctuates throughout the week, month or year. This allows you to market things in the right way at the most opportune times.
When website analytics functions integrate with the CRM database, the company can potentially also see what areas of the website that each individual contact has visited. This added insight allows the business to provide targeted content or make the contact an offer relating to the services or products they are interested in, which all leads to a higher possibility of making a sale.
CRM tools can also radically improve a team’s productivity. Where a team member may have previously been using multiple systems to build up a picture of their prospect or customer, a CRM holds all of that information in a central location, ready to be called upon as needed.
For example, a sales team without a CRM may have to search through both computerized and hard copies of documents to find required information. This is no use to anyone if there’s an unhappy and impatient customer on the end of the phone! The team member gets stressed, the caller gets stressed and time gets wasted.
However, the time taken to access different files and databases gets eliminated when using a CRM – simply search for the appropriate contact and all of the information is there for you – all interaction, sales pipeline information, orders and sales are in one place.
The time-saving aspect of CRM use is undeniable, and it means your sales team can spend more time doing what they do best: following up with queries, warming up leads and generally focusing on serving your end user.
If you choose a CRM with built-in email marketing capabilities and website analytics, it doesn’t just help your sales team – your marketing team can benefit too. They can send marketing communications which are targeted far better than any stand-alone bulk mailing program because they can use a far wider amount of data, such as call history, website use, sales pipeline data and responses too previous email marketing campaigns. Automated emails can also be sent with very little human input; simply create the email, set the criteria for sending it and it’ll go out automatically to anyone who fits the criteria until you tell that campaign to stop.
Of course, having CRM data, website analytics, bulk mailing and automation tools in one central location means that you can create reports spanning a vast range of your client information, and compare trends from disparate data with ease. Do two particular metrics from your call logs and website analytics show any trends or correlations? Do people click through from marketing emails and view any particular items on your website above all others? Using inclusive CRM software as a central database for a number of functions allows you to report on and cross-reference data like no other service.
Improving Customer Service
In our marketing survey conducted in 2015, we found that only 7% of organizations follow up on web-generated leads within an hour. Additionally, according to Forbes, 71% of companies take over 47 hours to get back to their web-generated leads.
The sooner a lead is followed up, the higher the likelihood is of turning that person into a customer. You have to remember that if a prospect is looking at your products or services, they are probably looking at those of your competition too. Those competitors are likely to be in the remaining 93% who get back to a customer over an hour later, so it pays to strike while the iron is hot and follow up quickly. It also provides an excellent first impression that you are dedicated to speed and efficiency, and provides stiff competition for other organizations in your field.
Integrating your CRM with your online lead generation tools and your telephony system means that your team can follow up with leads in real time as and when they come in. Providing staff with real-time reminders can also help with more long-standing customers too, prompting staff to get in touch after a set amount of time or a particular event, allowing the team to nurture the relationship with that contact further. An added upshot of this integrated approach from a CRM system means that your contacts are unlikely to receive two calls from your team in rapid succession about the same thing – the CRM has already noted that one call has been made.
If you do choose to a CRM that integrates with your phone system, both outgoing and incoming calls can usually be managed through it. When an inbound call comes in, a notification appears with the caller’s CRM entry, so your team member can easily click through to the caller’s details in an instant.
Great customer service is all about providing someone with a personal, tailored service; even if they’re the 30th call of the day! A CRM keeps all prospect information easily to hand, allowing your team to project a professional and confident image from the outset.
Choosing FIVE CRM
FIVE CRM’s intuitive relationship management solutions boasts all of the above features and much more. Our innovative cloud-based platform helps you to maintain and develop prospect relationships by providing a complete CRM solution; whilst also having the benefit of email marketing, website analytics and telephony integration built in. This way you can build a clear profile of each of your contacts in order to communicate and market to them effectively.
You can find out what FIVE CRM can do for you – for free! We offer a free 14-day trial on all of our five different CRM packages, so you can see if our unique sales & marketing CRM solutions suit your team.