CRM fortifies sales processes. It lets your team know the next best move based on past collaboration and customer interactions. CRM, or customer relationship management, is a common phrase oft heard in the business world today. It has become a blanket buzz term for managing your customers, but its real value runs much deeper.
All businesses are built on a foundation of quality relationships. In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, a successful business will be the business that provides the best service and remains top of mind in their target audiences. To capitalize on this elusive revenue stream, these businesses understand their ideal customer and target them effectively with personalized messaging and helpful information to encourage them through the buying process.
A CRM solution enables your business to interact with customers and prospects in a more meaningful, valuable way, managing and tracking data in a central location to streamline connection opportunities across your business. While typically thought of as sales or marketing specific, a CRM is a strategic business solution leveraged to attract and retain customers, and to be effective, it should be integrated across your organization to create a 360-degree view of your customer. Everyone from sales, service, and support to project managers and executive leaders can benefit from this holistic relationship review, capturing contact details, account activity, opportunity tracking, and status updates on support requests, marketing campaigns, or outstanding orders.
In this way, a CRM tool becomes much more than just a digital rolodex for managing your customers’ emails; it becomes a vital nerve at the heart of your business. The ability to share timely, accurate data across your business to synchronize and simplify every touchpoint in your “value chain” of sales, marketing, and support increases operational efficiency, improves customer experience, and enables continued growth. When teams are privy to the same key information in a centralized system, you gain clearer insights into the path of your customers and the business processes at each stage of the relationship, allowing you to streamline workflows and improve departmental cohesiveness. Providing actionable information on your customers across traditional silos improves not only your internal productivity but it creates a better experience for your customer on the other end of a support call or a prospect needing your service or product. As your business needs change, a dynamic CRM will expand to incorporate more sophisticated functionality, enabling further collaboration across your organization. Email integration, social media tracking, workflow and marketing automation, and digestible reporting on profitability and your current sales pipeline combine to provide a complete picture on the health of your business’ relationships.
If you are one of the numerous businesses out there today that does not have a simple and – more importantly – accurate way to access your current customer information, be it to capture an up-to-date mailing list for an upcoming promotion or to cross-sell to a targeted buyer group based on order history, a CRM is your “better way” business solution. Taking advantage of the opportunities within your existing contact pool is a strategic method for improving your business’ bottom-line while effectively managing your internal resources, but a slew of disconnected Excel spreadsheets and outdated contact lists will not optimize your business. A CRM solution focuses your marketing efforts through the lens of your sales strategy and business processes to ensure that the right message is reaching the right individuals at the right time throughout the customer lifecycle. It is about nurturing your customer base to develop long-term, profitable relationships through valuable exchanges at every interaction, and in the Digital Age, that is a business solution that deserves the hype.
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Hans Hendershot is the executive leader of Eide Bailly Technology Consulting’s Salesforce CRM practice. With nearly a decade of experience in cloud computing technologies, Hans’ expertise in leveraging today’s leading technology solutions to maximize business results is grounded in a focus on process improvement and creating a successful customer experience to drive revenue.