According to a sales optimization study conducted by CIO Insights, sales representatives spend only 33% of their time actively selling. The rest of their work time, they focus on other tasks of rather low value, such as preparing for a phone call with a customer and manually entering data into spreadsheets. Luckily, sales teams and sales departments can nowadays easily increase their productivity and their efficiency by automating various sales operations, which allows them to focus on moving their sales forward. All they need is a CRM software solution. What is it and why should you use it?
What is a CRM
A Customer Relationship Management software is a powerful tool which assists you in converting leads into customers. It is equipped with easy-to-use features which enable you to automate multiple business processes and focus on more challenging tasks. Collecting and thoroughly analysing customer information allows you to meet the exact needs of your customers in a shorter period of time and thus drive sales. If you are interested in other benefits of a customer relationship management system, continue reading.
How to tell you need a CRM
You may implement a customer relationship management software solution at any time, no matter how many customers you have and how prosperous your company seems to be. It is advisable to introduce such a solution to your organisation before you start losing clients to your competitors and dropping in sales.
The clear indication that your company could benefit from using a CRM is when you find it hard to gain an accurate view of your customers and their expectations and, more importantly, when you find it difficult to correctly address their needs or it takes you too much time. In such cases, the sooner you implement a customer relationship management software, the better.
Key features of a CRM
Regardless of the industry, a clear view of what your customers need and on which stage of the sales cycle they currently are enables you to provide an excellent customer service and thus drive sales. If your business requires any additional features, such as marketing automation, social media integration and call centre management, bespoke software developers are always ready to provide them. However, the most common features of a customer relationship management software solution are:
- Lead management – allows you to organise customer data in a centralised location. All personal details, previous transactions and customer interactions are stored in one place and can be accessed with a single click, which helps you to gain better control of every sales relationship.
- Interaction tracking – supports logging all communications and activities between you and your customers. No matter which team member reaches to your customers, they always stay updated on all the previous interactions and are thus able to provide an excellent and as personalised as possible customer service.
- Dashboards – enables you to see and thus better understand all of your business processes. A pipeline view, which breaks down the entire sales process into stages and outlines how many leads are in each of them, is a great help to spot any inefficiencies and improve them.
- Quote management – allows you to provide both your team and your customers with a clear view of what their order is and what each of the items does. You can build quotes online, store all of them in one place and then email them to your customers either as a PDF template specifying what they are getting or as a final receipt.
- Email integration – improves communication between you and your customers. There is no need to switch between systems when contacting a customer, as you can both send and receive messages from the platform. Additionally, accessing all their information and contact history is also available with a single click.
- Document storage – enables your company to efficiently reduce its paper load and makes it easier to share documents between team members and multiple departments. This feature might be most basic, but it is just as important thanks to secure database encryption.
- Calendar – helps you to better organise your work schedule. You can create both single and recurring events and set up personal preferences for reminders. With a clear image of your workday, you are able to both provide your customers with an excellent customer service and find collaboration with your team easier.
Benefits of a CRM
Whether you run a small, medium or large business, you can enjoy the advantages of a customer relationship management software solution. Automation, which follows implementing such a solution, enables you to save hours of work and reduce the amount of operational errors, but it more importantly allows your organisation to:
- Provide excellent customer service – with all customer data stored in the cloud and available to anyone involved, it is easier to stay updated and keep your customers updated at the same time, and to build brand loyalty. Remember that according to the Global Customer Service Barometer, three out of four consumers say they spent more money with a company because of a positive customer service.
- Make accurate sales forecast – thanks to a pipeline view, your company is able to gain a better insight into each stage of the sales process and thus quickly and accurately estimate which of the existing and upcoming deals they can move forward. It also allows you to make better business decisions in a shorter period of time.
- Increase sales opportunities – storing all the customer details and contact history not only enables you to meet the exact requirements of your customers, it also provides you with a great opportunity for cross-selling. The more you engage, the easier it is to drive your sales and keep your customers happy at the same time.
- Improve internal communication – with a CRM solution, sharing customer information no longer requires sending e-mails and attaching documents. Every member of your team can easily access customer data, add notes and assign their colleagues to new tasks. No matter who reaches to your customers, they are always able to provide personalised customer service thanks to improved team communication flow.
- Increase team efficiency – automating multiple administrative processes and gathering and analysing data enables your team members to focus on more challenging tasks than entering data into spreadsheets. You can both minimise the amount of work and increase the efficiency of your team at the same time.
TO SUM UP
Automation and thorough data analysis are the two factors which enable every company to drive their sales and succeed. A customer relationship management system is an inevitably necessary tool which allows your company, regardless of the industry, to become much more effective and successful. The only thing you have to do is to choose which features you need.