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How A CRM Can Help Manage Inflation And Improve The Workplace

How A CRM Can Help Manage Inflation And Improve The Workplace

Learn how to maximize the power of your CRM to combat inflationary economic pressures.

It may not mark an ideal moment in the Canadian economy, but periods of high inflation can serve as a valuable catalyst for digital transformation.

Smart companies know that rising prices signal potential dips in customer demand, as well as increased costs for raw materials and the everyday supplies they need. That’s why they often take steps to quickly optimize their expenses while seeking opportunities to drive extra revenue. Although this can be a difficult balance to strike, a customer relationship management (CRM) system can help in both areas at once.

The rise of CRMs led to a sea change in the way many businesses operated. It meant sales reps that once worked in silos could now collaborate effectively as a team. It meant managers and senior leaders could gain greater visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs). When CRMs became available as software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, those benefits became accessible by firms of every size.

Investing in a CRM can certainly help companies accelerate their growth in a strong economic climate, but it also puts them in a great position when more challenging headwinds start blowing. In some ways, it’s those periods where small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) realize just how powerful the combination of streamlined sales processes and comprehensive analytics can be.

Whether you’ve had a CRM in place for some time or are still considering whether to deploy one, make sure you maximize the potential of these platforms to combat inflationary pressures.

1. Update strategic plans with improved forecasting

The impact of high inflation is not always easy to predict. The risks to your bottom line mean relying on gut instinct is not the best idea.

Instead, tap into the vast historical knowledge captured in a CRM, and couple it with analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to make a more accurate prediction of what sales will look like over the next few quarters. This in turn can guide decisions around everyday expense management and even hiring plans.

2. Calculate customer LTV and opportunities to increase share of wallet

Even during periods of inflation, there will be some customers willing to spend, especially if they see a lot of value in the products and services you’re providing. These customers may represent a fraction of your overall base, but using a CRM allows you to see exactly who they are based on lifetime value (LTV) calculations and other data points.

Prioritize your best reps to see if these customers might be willing to send more business your way, which can reduce the revenue fallout that can happen amid inflation.

3. Cut back on expenses by digitizing key processes

How much paper, pens and other office supplies are you ordering on a regular basis? If you’re making those purchases to equip sales reps, it may represent an unnecessary expense. A CRM is packed with features that allow reps to stop using sticky notes to remember client’s contact information, or spreadsheets that track their progress on a deal. They can even input notes directly into the platform rather than scribbling something that will be difficult to read and understand later on.

4. Offer insights that help reps close more deals, faster

There can be a lot of back-and-forth that happens between a rep and the people they’re selling to. Some of their questions or objections will come out of the blue, but many of them follow predictable patterns and trends.

CRMs can guide reps to anticipate how their customers and prospects might respond to a pitch, and allow them to get ahead of any issues. These insights can be useful at every stage of the customer journey, from when they’re initially researching and considering a purchase to overcoming the final hurdles to getting a deal closed.

5. Avoid miscommunication and mistakes that cost companies money

Duplication of effort and failure to follow up on action items can torpedo a deal that looked like a sure thing. It usually happens because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing – a manager doesn’t review a quote a rep needs to get signed off in time, for example, or two reps reaching out to the same prospect at once.

Using a CRM allows companies to better coordinate their efforts and ensure reps, managers and other team members are not working at cross-purposes with each other. Particularly when inflation is high, you can’t afford these kinds of missteps.

6. Safeguard (and enhance) the customer experience you’re delivering

Customers are probably already dealing with their own challenges amid inflation. They shouldn’t have to take on any more due to friction they have as part of the experience they have with your brand.

The only way to avoid or remove those areas of friction is by keeping a close eye on customer data. Your CRM is critical here, because it can not only store but share that data with departments other than sales.

When you embed a CRM in a platform like Customer 360, for example, everyone from marketing teams to customer service teams have a single unified view of customer data. That means everyone can act cohesively to provide the most consistent customer experience possible, and even spot areas to enhance it.

7. Boost employee engagement and lower the risk of turnover

It can cost companies a lot of money to replace a single sales rep. This not only includes financial costs but valuable time that could be devoted to driving more revenue. You may not be hiring a lot during periods of inflation but that doesn’t mean you want to lose your best talent, either.

SMBs that use a CRM are by definition taking a modern approach to empowering sales reps with the very best technology available. It’s a way to put reps in greater control over their ability to develop themselves professionally and increase their win rate. This gives them one more reason to stick with you, even when inflation strikes.

A CRM is a must-have when inflation is high. And when the economy inevitably improves, you’ll be able to gain even greater return on investment as you use it to propel your growth to the next level.

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