It’s been predicted that the customer relationship management (CRM) market will reach a whopping $36 billion by 2017, but what is CRM, really? When most business leaders hear the term customer relationship management, they picture a set of tools and systems designed to effectively track and record customer data, and to coordinate company resources with the goal of providing a better B2B customer experience. But while this idea of CRM is actually fairly accurate across the board, it fails to take into account the advantages that CRM offers B2C organizations.
But why make a distinction at all? In the end, business is business, regardless of who the customers are, right? Well, not exactly. There are some significant differences between how B2B and B2C businesses operate, specifically where marketing and sales are concerned.
Those marketing to businesses generally have more success when they focus on the logic of the purchase; they lay out an intelligent, convincing argument, demonstrating the tangible benefits of the product or service that they are offering. Conversely, those marketing towards individual customers are better served when they create an emotional connection between the product/service and the buyer. Additionally, B2C businesses generally have more customers than B2B organizations, but with notably smaller amounts of money being exchanged per sale. As such, B2C businesses may have different CRM needs than those that operate strictly within B2B industries, and CRM is generally associated with those organizations that sell to other businesses. However, that doesn’t mean that B2C organizations should neglect CRM.
As the name suggests, the main focus of CRM is the customer, and given that B2C businesses usually have a much larger number of customers than B2C businesses, keeping track of the history and preferences of each individual customer becomes much more difficult. Creating targeted, personalized messaging for each customer is likewise a monumental task — one that would be functionally impossible without computer assistance. Additionally, being able to connect with customers and potential customers on an emotional level, such as through targeted marketing campaigns and social media posts, can have a significant impact on customer acquisition and retention. In fact, in a Capterra survey of CRM users, customer satisfaction and customer retention were the two most often-cited aspects of business that were significantly impacted by the introduction of CRM. With so much riding on the satisfaction of individual customers, B2C CRM software makes it possible to form real connections with individual customers, which is the key to B2C success.
While there are many CRMs available on the market, most are designed specifically with B2B in mind. Because of this, finding a B2C CRM solution that fits the needs of your organization can be difficult. In order to avoid committing to the wrong CRM, B2C companies should first know what sort of features a B2C CRM tools needs to have in order to be effective. Here is a quick breakdown of the elements of superior B2C CRM Systems:
Salesforce has long been recognized as the industry leader in CRM, having set the modern standard for what a CRM should be able to do. But while many B2B businesses swear by the Salesforce CRM toolset, the truth is that Salesforce is just as effective for B2C organizations. Salesforce is cloud-based, compatible with any platform or device, and designed to continuously capture, analyze, and report on customer and business data. It’s reporting capabilities use data-visualization and interactive dashboards, so that decision makers and other users can see as broad, or as focused a view of the data as they may need. Salesforce CRM incorporates all available customer service channels, and also offers a self-service portals and community forums where customers can come together to crowd source solutions and ideas. Salesforce CRM also offers advanced automation options, so that you can focus on the most important tasks, and let Salesforce CRM do the rest.
CRM isn’t just for B2B businesses. With the right features, B2C CRM can be a powerful, effective tool for improving customer experience, managing contacts, tracking data, and promoting intercompany coordination. And, given that customer satisfaction, contact management, data tracking, and coordination are are arguably the defining factors of any business, leveraging advanced CRM may be the key to B2C success.
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