To those who aren’t familiar, CRM sounds like another marketing acronym that probably doesn’t apply to your day to day. But if you’re in a sales, customer service, or even in an operations role, it very much applies to, and should be part of, your day to day.
Let’s start with what CRM is, though.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and, at its most basic level, is a tool to centralize and manage your customer database. Its capabilities go much further beyond that, but we’ll get into that aspect in future articles.
For now, the area of most focus is the “R” – Relationship.
CRM is incredibly powerful for sales teams in maintaining and gaining insight into the ongoing relationships with customers, prospects, and even vendors.
For a new customer, think about how powerful it would be to look back at the entire sales cycle and pinpoint the exact point they entered your sales funnel, analyze the notes and interactions from each sales call, and see what helped push them across the finish line.
- A prospect was sent an email campaign on July 19, opened and clicked through to your landing page, then filled out a web form requesting more information about a specific product.
- Your regional sales rep followed up on July 20 with a phone call.
- Following that call, there were three emails to gather information; two phone calls to provide information about the product, company, and support services offered; and an on-site meeting to present to the management team.
- A quote was provided on October 2.
- Negotiations occurred over multiple emails and phone calls and the deal was closed on October 19 after the offer of a 3% rebate if they signed a one-year contract.
This process can be captured for every interaction between anyone on your team and your customers and prospects.
The insight gained from that data can be used to improve your sales process, inform your marketing efforts and website content, and enhance your service and support.
Beyond that, customer contacts are taken out of spreadsheets housed on sales rep computers and moved into a centralized, backed-up database that your sales leadership can access and analyze.
Taking it one step further, parts of the marketing and sales process can be automated, which makes more time available for your sales team to sell.
The business benefits to implementing CRM are plentiful, but perhaps most importantly, it lets you provide better overall service to your customers. Which we know is the best way to build a great long-term relationship.