INTRODUCTION TO CRM
Selling has always been the vital force in carving the economic development of any company.
Aptly described, “the development of selling has been from ‘hawkers and walkers’ to a burdensome role imposed by the aggressive marketing regimes introduced by the large, bureaucratically managed companies.” – Roy Church
More so in the present world, where competition and fast track culture dominates the market place, selling is a real challenge. Today, selling or even marketing means a lot more than what the dictionary defines it as ‘ the exchange of goods for an agreed sum of money’.
Both for selling as well as for marketing, one must have knowledge of everything – leads, queries, customers, sales, feedback, relationship, requirement and so on. Similarly, the advent of technology has brought about an apparent change in the organizations’ approach to customer relationship. And technological advances have brought more of company’s relationships to be managed through electronic means.
There is a need created for companies to automate services and personalize communication with customers. The need primarily is about having an application or a system in place to effectively manage the sales process and customer relationship; capture vital data and information about customers – purchase history, revenue generated, up selling / cross selling opportunities, etc.; and generate sales quote or create orders.
To be precise, the need of the hour is to have a 360-degree view of ones business. This is why the Customer Relationship Management has gained so much popularity among all businesses.
WHAT IS CRM?
CRM is a term originally defined and designed to improve customer service. Today it almost relates to an entire business strategy. So while the term refers to a systematic approach to handling customer relationships, it transforms into providing holistic approach to a business strategy.
Customer refers to an entity that acquires or consumes goods or services from a desired firm (through the process of purchasing or renting) for a mutually decided price and has the ability to choose between different products and suppliers. In this sense a customer is also known as client, buyer, purchaser or user of the products/services delivered or provided by a firm or organization also called the supplier, seller or the service provider.
Relationship in business refers to a state involving mutual dealings between people or parties. It involves interactions with customers or prospects to better understand their requirements and to build an expectation through different channels of communication. The more one interacts, the more chances of building a strong business relationship on the grounds of proper understanding of customers.
Management refers to managing of customer interactions. This does not merely mean customer support but in its true sense aims at mobilizing the entire organization towards management of all interactions with the customers, thus involving a customer-centric thinking and acting.
BENEFITS FROM OUR CRM
CRM is often misunderstood as an application or a tool, but in the real sense of the term it is a way of doing business. There can be innumerable reasons for businesses to implement CRM. However, let’s take a look at few of the most apparent benefits of using CRM.
360 degree view of business
Organizational-level data sharing
Reduce cost on customer acquisition
Centralized customer interaction
Improved customer support
Increase customer satisfaction
High rate of customer retention
Boost new business
Increase revenue at low cost
Thus CRM is becoming increasingly important among businesses. With an ever increasing customer expectation there is a need for organizations to adopt new business services and strategies – CRM provides this versatility in enhancing sales, customer support and success in business.
Realizing the investment towards any CRM initiative, it is crucial to all businesses to have a CRM evaluation method or CRM metrics in place. The prime concern of a CRM system is to improve relationship with customers and generate higher revenue. Therefore, it is necessary to identify if your CRM is to track the efficiency of sales and marketing team or is it to build a strong relationship with your customers? This would help determine the focus of CRM performance. Once the objective of CRM implementation is clearly defined, you can go ahead evaluating the best CRM for your business. This would help to judge how good or bad your CRM initiative has been?
Here are a few major points that can guide you in evaluating a CRM system at its face.
Depending on the type of implementation and the strength of organization, CRM initiative can be a complex and costly venture. Thus your selected CRM should:
- Provide tangible and measurable ROI
- Help calculate the real business benefits
- Enable accurate budgeting and reduced resources
The real efficiency of any CRM implementation lies in:
- Flexibility to change the default CRM setup
- Provision to mould the CRM to your business process
- Provision to rollback to the default CRM setup
Ease of Use
Implementing a CRM system should:
- Simplify customer relationship and business process
- Provide a user-friendly interface
- Allow ease of CRM navigation
The drive to maximize the value of your customer relationship necessarily demands the CRM system to:
- Provide well-defined integration architecture
- Enable cross-application business process
- Reduce implementation time for custom integration
A CRM system in place, should help:
- Perform the various tasks easily
- Present simplified workflow logics
- Encourage easy adoption by users
No CRM system is complete without the end user help files. Besides the tips and tricks to efficient performance, your CRM implementation should have:
- Reference documentation for users
- Ready on-line support
- Notes and tutorials to complement documentation/li>