Your customer is the most important factor to your business success, so that relationship needs to be treated with the respect it deserves. A CRM system can go a long way in improving your interactions with your customer base, but only if you take advantage of all that it has to offer. Here's "how to CRM" and some of the reasons why CRM is vital to a company’s toolset.
At the heart of every business is one important foundation. We’re not talking about drive, grit, or perseverance, or any of those other intangibles that people like to claim matter so much. What we’re referring to the one thing that no business can do without:
It’s as simple as that. Without customers, your business doesn’t exist. Many business concerns—such as advertising, product, brand promotion, etc.—are just different approaches to securing and retaining customers.
And yet, despite knowing this, many corporations tend to underestimate their customer relationships. According to Discover.org, nearly a fourth of all businesses neglect to use a customer relationship management system.
Even those among businesses that do embrace CRM often don’t take full advantage of what CRM has to offer. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of the potential return on investment from CRM is not being achieved, simply because businesses fail to optimize their CRM.
This is a problem because unless you’re willing to put the necessary effort into keeping your customers happy, you’re essentially undermining your own business success.
The success of your business depends upon your ability to cultivate and grow your customer relationships, but is a CRM really the answer?
Yes—but it's all in how you use your CRM.
Approach the optimization of your CRM as if your customers are truly the heart of your business. With that mindset, you'll make sure that your customers and their data are treated with the utmost care.
If you decide to divert your attention away from the customer, and instead concern yourself on other matters associated with running a business, then achieving success will be be difficult. Your busness is limited by the resources you put behind caring for not just prospective customers, but current ones.
Your company may limp along for a while as you treat the symptoms, but the disease itself will be free to continue unimpeded. Bad customer relationships can be a death sentence to any company. In order to place the focus back on your customer, here are five reasons your company needs CRM.
What is it about human nature that makes us keep valuable information in completely non-secure places? Why is it that we think that a sticky note will be a good place to jot down a vitally important phone number or appointment date?
Perhaps it’s all just a question of convenience; after all, we don’t always have time to treat our data the way it should be treated. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that in the United States more than $18.2 billion is lost annually as a result of data loss. Of that lost data, the most common causes are hardware failure (accounting for 40% of incidents) and user error (accounting for 30% of incidents).
A good CRM tool that's easy to operate and access will not only allow you to keep all of your contacts, appointments, and notes organized and safe, but can also be more convenient than any sticky note—and you won’t have to worry about it losing its stick and falling on the floor right before the cleaning crew comes through.
By taking advantage of a cloud-based CRM, you won't have to be concerned with hardware failure, and you’ll be safe from the little hiccups and bugs that plague many office computer systems.
Most companies are made up of several different levels and teams, and more often than not, these groups tend to use different languages (figuratively speaking).
Unfortunately, a simple intercompany miscommunication can easily result in massive headaches and lost clients. For small to medium companies, this amounts to an average annual loss of $26,041 per employee dealing with intracompany communication problems.
CRM tools are designed to allow for easy communication across the entire organization, and help to facilitate this by allowing your company to work within a self service portal or in a single, unified format, rather than having to deal with incompatible platforms and programs. A good CRM will have your company speaking the same language.
Put all of this together, and you have a system that allows for easy interconnectedness and review, from the sales team, to the marketing department, to management, to accounting, as well as everyone in between.
The sales process is all about coming to an agreement. Once that happens, the salesperson and the customer should be able to go their respective ways without having to spend valuable time poring over the minute details.
Top-of-the-line CRM systems allow you to do just that, by automating much of the sales process. Think about all the tasks that go into closing a sale. Now imagine much of that being automated. Once the deal is closed, the salesperson can move on to other leads, while the system takes care of everything else.
Automation has proven so useful and so in-demand, that by the year 2020, it's estimated that customers will manage 85% of their relationship without having to communicate with anyone within the company. At the same time, CRM automation allows businesses to automatically generate reports, so that important data can be reviewed and acted upon, allowing leaders and employees to focus on more important work.
Raw data is useless if it can’t be converted into actionable information.
By taking a look at your compiled numbers and sales-history, a CRM tool will be able to analyze that data and help you come to conclusions that can be acted upon. What kind of conclusions? Information regarding which sales prospects are more likely to become customers, or help in narrowing down your target group.
CRM can translate data and give it the meaning that your business needs. Thanks in part to its ability to accurately mine raw data for usable facts and conclusions, CRM has been known to increase sales by 29% on average, and improve forecast accuracy by 42%. Don’t expect to get that kind of data analysis from an Excel spreadsheet or a Post-It note.
It’s called customer relationship management for a reason.
By helping organize, analyze, and prioritize, CRM systems free up your teams and give them more time to address specific customer needs. At the end of the day, that means happier customers, and happier customers usually mean a more profitable business.
In fact, 90% of customer experience decision makers say that a positive customer experience is crucial to their success. And for those occasions when a customer chooses to end the business relationship, CRM can provide specific information regarding every step of the customer’s journey from start to finish, so that mistakes and other missteps can be identified and corrected for future relationships.
After all, it’s easier and less expensive to keep existing customers than finding new ones. CRM can help your company retain those buyers in whom you’ve already invested valuable time and money, and help you learn valuable lessons from the relationships that go south.
There’s no substitute for great customer relationships; better deals, discounts, or product development can only get your company to a certain point before it peaks.
As your company grows and changes, don’t forget about the foundation on which your entire business is built. Invest in your customer relationships. Your customers should always come first, and with the help of a CRM (and a little know-how regarding how to make the best use of it) you can make sure that they do.
For more on how CRM can help your business grow, download our free e-book by clicking the button below.