CRM integration and how it improves the sales cycle
Nowadays, CRM systems are so much more than just a digitalized overview of business cards in your contact list. What are the features of a well-chosen software?
Using the right CRM for your company, you will be able to track and manage the whole life cycle and ecosystem around the products or services you offer. From strategic planning through marketing support, sales and realization to the after service, and final reporting. Thanks to CRM software, you get not only a perfect overview, but you also save time that can be used for what’s important – your business.
Market research first
A basic requisite for a successful business is a thorough market analysis, regarding both the target group and your competitors. Careful customer needs mapping is crucial before an effective marketing campaign where you need to address the chosen segment of clients. Provided that you put all your data into a CRM with a customer behavior analysis feature, you will be able to automatically plan, execute, and target your marketing campaigns using multiple channels.
Advanced CRM systems can even track customer behavior within individual communication tools in real time. Therefore, they can offer analysis of continuous results of the ongoing campaigns. Evaluating the campaign’s success based on predefined criteria is another must-have feature of a good CRM. This software can also integrate marketing campaigns with direct sales applications, such as call centers or clients’ support.
Maximal sales processes automation
During the sales process, a CRM system gives you access to all relevant data regarding the business case. Sophisticated CRMs offer access to data from the Business Register or Insolvency Register, too. Based on the defined method, you will be able to manage the complete progress of a business case while tracking overheads spent and planned. During the process, you can constantly work on optimizing your sales strategy regarding the system predictions of sales volume.
Most common processes can be aptly automated and made easier. Thanks to bulk e-mail possibilities and predefined layouts, you can communicate with your clients and business partners professionally and promptly while keeping records of all communication. Your sales reps’ business trips will be made easier by automated sync between the central server and their cell phones.
Use project management principles to sell
The activities of a sales rep usually don’t end with a business transaction. After closing a deal, the product or service has to be delivered. For some companies, this includes taking goods out from a warehouse, getting it ready for expedition and delivering it to a client. For others, a deal becomes a project that can take months or years to finish. All the agenda that comes with the process can be made easier using a CRM. These can be team tasks, communication with client and supplier, planning human resources, or managing finances.
If your deliveries can be divided into individual phases, you will be able to define a specific process within the CRM system. Just put down the steps that have to be taken in order to complete each phase of the delivery process.
Dividing the sales process into individual phases gives you a unique view of potential clients based upon the process phase.
Whole process automation
Moving a project from one phase to another initiates a set of automated actions. Imagine you need to send your team an e-mail regarding the details of a new project each time you begin it. You could also use an automated set of subtasks which apply to every new project. Your CRM can prevent you from forgetting a crucial step and having to explain your error to the client.
A well-chosen CRM software keeps records of all e-mail communication, notes from meetings and phone calls, calendar events, and more little tasks. All this information will be linked to a project so that it’s available to your team at any time. Doesn’t sound like a feature you need? Sophisticated CRM systems allow you to hide unnecessary module. You can activate the module again if you need to manage internal projects, for example.
Don’t forget customer service
The client’s satisfaction and their willingness to continue the business relationship are also influenced by the character of your client service and support. With a CRM, you can plan the details of a service action as well as the working hours of individual technicians. The database should include a detailed product specification and an overview of previous problems fixed. This will help future servicing. This unification optimizes the sales and service processes and allows you to evaluate their effectivity on the rebound.
Simplicity and flexibility
The times of complicated and user-unfriendly CRM systems are far gone. The current trends are applications which are as intuitive as possible. A perfect software needs to be able to grow with your business. The real simplicity is in the possibility of gradual activation of modules and features as your company develops a need for them. This way, you can prevent yourself from switching to another CRM system and wasting time re-implementing a new solution every few years.
However, always make sure that you know exactly what you want to accomplish by purchasing new software. Miriam, a Project Manager from eWay-CRM, claims that the crucial aspect of a successful implementation is the consideration of the end results as well as which personnel has ownership over the implementation of the new system; "It is also important that the company decides for the key user who will be in charge of the process.” She adds, “From my experience, the implementation of a CRM system is sometimes executed by a person who has no idea about IT.” This lack of system knowledge can be a downfall to a successful selection project.
A good CRM should give you all the features listed here, but more importantly, it should provide every feature your business needs.
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