CRM – Back to Basics
We hear a lot about CRM and how it’s the latest must-have – but what exactly is CRM and how can it help you?
CRM stands for ‘Customer Relationship Management’ and is a software system and importantly a culture that helps track customers and prospects and keeps these at the forefront of the organisation. Effectively, this system is used to manage any or all customer facing activities, including pre-sales, sales, post-sales, and customer service. Another name for CRM is ‘Contact Management’ which is still the core function of a CRM system. Key abilities include:
• Following up leads
• Tracking progress on sales opportunities
• Tracking progress on customer issues or cases
• Accessing marketing campaign performance and tracking the source of leads
• Giving management visibility of all customer interactions and ensuring most importantly information is up to date
• Ensuring staff are more targeted in their customer interaction.
• Giving management clear reports on customer and prospect activity to enable decision to be made and core metrics developed for measurement.
The CRM software is particularly helpful for marketing, as it can help with email campaigns, mail shots and mail merges. The primary aim of a CRM system is to give a single view of a customer, replacing old legacy systems where data is often held in different ‘silo’ by department. For example multiple Excel spreadsheets being used to track leads, sales opportunities or indeed customer issues, none of which are connected or indeed sharing the same core data.
Manual v CRM
Imagine that your old excel spreadsheets are not updated or are outgrown: sometimes staff simply do not have the time or resources to concentrate on simple yet boring admin. CRM helps you to manage and update information, and enable more visibility of how a customer account works. This includes the interaction between key front facing staff, such as sales, marketing, customer services and sales engineers.
With CRM you can measure the number of leads, monitor the number of lost opportunities and the amount of customer issues or cases you have.
Importantly, CRM enables managers to maintain a good view of what is current, rather than having to wade through mountains of information that tend to build up with manual spreadsheets etc. This enables better decision making and more instant and up to date reporting.
Who Benefits from CRM?
So who benefits most from a CRM System? The simple answer is the whole company! Once implemented, everyone has a single and consistent view of the interaction and journey of a prospect through to a customer and then after-sales saving valuable time.
Once the system is implemented, then the process is easy to maintain, with MAS on hand at all times should any further assistance be required.
The fact is that companies who install CRM perform better than those who don’t, but bottom line, what is the payback time of installing a CRM system? As always this is difficult to judge but on average, once installed, CRM systems stay in place for about five to eight years before being changed.
So in all, it makes good business sense and a good return on investment to have a CRM installed.
11th March 2013