Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the action of creating and maintaining your customer relationships in a healthy way that equals delighted customers and growing sales. CRM is also the process or system that allows you to manage the many details, information and data needed to build and retain those relationships.
If you’ve intended to make a decision about a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system but just haven’t gotten to it yet, below are six key reasons to make CRM a priority. And a couple of them may surprise you.
CRM creates a centralized repository for all customer related information. Without a system for collecting leads and customer data, information can float around in various locations. If you’re old enough to remember the days of business cards stapled into a Rolodex file, that may have been the stone-age of CRM. Regardless of age, most of us can relate to the nightmare of business cards, scribbled contact info and a pile of sticky notes.
You may be wrangling spreadsheets, leads lists and pie charts in an attempt to capture the diverse activities related to managing customers. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to connect diverse sources of information to tell a cohesive story. CRM makes it possible to organize contact information, communication, customer service, sales and revenue for tracking, reporting and analysis all in a single system. Imagine that.
With consolidated and enhanced data in a CRM you have an analytic resource at your fingertips to help you make more informed marketing and sales decisions. CRM gives you a view of which leads and customers respond to individual marketing campaigns. Lead scoring can drive focus for marketing activities.
From a uniquely customized welcome email to a robust, long-term email strategy, your CRM allows you to customize campaigns based on the unique consumer behavior of YOUR customers so you’re investing marketing dollars where it makes sense—and sales.
With such powerful data and reporting consolidated in a single resource, delivering information when and where it’s needed becomes much easier. Collecting all this information in your CRM calls for an organized team with a consistent process. Establishing this process and encouraging transparency between process owners will foster information sharing. When one area of your business process improves, other areas do too.
CRM creates new visibility on the pipeline of leads, future and current customers. Consolidating customer information is helpful to maximize sales strategies and activities. Streamlining communication, marketing and sales processes frees you to concentrate on what your customer needs and values.
This concentrated effort means you’re making meaningful connections with leads that are more aligned with your product and services. Investing time and money marketing to an audience that may, or may not become your customer is like the proverbial ‘mud-against-the-wall’ approach. Leveraging CRM to identify and qualify leads, focus marketing and sales activities and provide timely, excellent follow-up is an investment that aligns your efforts with potential customers’ needs; that alignment equals more sales.
Organization, tracking, documentation and automation are all features that CRM can utilize to help you focus on customer service excellence. CRM will improve client communication by capturing contact information, increasing response time and customizing marketing to meet individual customer preference.
When you establish a process that provides more timely, consistent communication, you’ll delight and retain happy customers. CRM allows you to stay attuned to your customer needs, respond consistently and strategically. A satisfied customer is more likely to be a returning customer and to tell a friend—and that equals business growth.
Seriously. You could continue to track names and contact information on spreadsheets. And you could record sales and feedback in documents and folders. What is the real cost of person-hours to maintain everything manually? What’s the cost of scrambling and digging for data to create a stakeholder report or to share statistics for marketing campaigns? And how much are you losing in time and sales when leads get lost in the process or interested prospects lose interest for lack of timely follow-up?
Whether you consider all the advantages in reasons one through five against the value of your time or multiply it by the cost of lost sales, time is just too valuable (and costly) not to have a CRM. Make CRM a priority—you (and your customers) will be glad you did.
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