How should you the right Customer Relationship Management System ?
After our article about the flexibility and customization we thought that it might be interesting to explain a bit more about CRM types and the orientations.
A operational CRM solution will often help your company as a whole but it is not suppose to be the one tool that will fit every department of the company and connect everything together. This is what does an ERP does, which is a more comprehensive tool that will include accounting and finance for instance.
That’s why a CRM is often customized to best answer the needs of one company orientation.
That does not mean that a CRM does not connect the different departments of a company. To the contrary: the type of CRM system will be chosen and customized to take the best of every department concerned to improve a specific targeted goal.
Even though it will not be reduced to it, the first thing to do is to understand which target should be taken for this specific company. A CRM is a powerful tool that can be adapted in many ways but for it to perform at its most, it’s important to ask the right questions :
- Is your company doing B2B, B2C ?
- What do you want to focus on improving ?
- Is it the relation with the customers that should be improve ?
- Do you want to increase your sales ?
- Would you like to focus on quality marketing?
Depending on the answer(s) chosen, the strategy to adopt will make your CRM take a specific shape.
Understand CRMs From 3 Stand Points
CRM and Customer Service
Consider a hotel who wants to find a tool to help their staff better understand the needs and expectations of their clients but also to be able to quickly give the best answer to the clients they have in front of them.
To give the “best answer” expected, it is important to know quickly if the clients is a regular, if he is satisfied, if the hotel had any problems with him in the past or if he is a brand new client.. Of course the staff at the reception desk might already know all this. That would be quite an advantage but should the company only rely on one person’s memory to offer the best services ? If this knowledge is so valuable, maybe it’s for the best if everybody can access it as quickly as possible !
What if the receptionist could access all this valuable information in just few clicks and give the best answer quickly ? A CRM oriented for customer services is able to give all this information – and so much more – very quickly. Giving the employee the opportunity to get the best from all the information gathered over time.
The same hotel wants to improve their services and a budget has been voted. The question arise of where to invest first to get the best improvement. Luckily, when the hotel implemented the CRM, a satisfaction summary was included where every feedback from the checkout form are stored. It is therefore easy to know what are the clients expectations and easy to prioritize and decide how to invest.
With those data the company can also target the information needed : What are the expectations of your most regular clients or what the non returning clients are complaining about.
A CRM is about connecting clients information (and others) together to get the best valuable data at your disposal. A customer service oriented CRM will be very relevant if a company wants to improve its customer experience services because of its flexibility . This being said, all CRM are not equal when it comes to find the one the most fitted for a specific goal. Choosing the right CRM is an important part of a process and shouldn’t be underestimated.
CRM : Sales Focus?
What if instead of targeting customer satisfaction, your first goal is to increase your sales?
Focusing on sales is about making the CRM suited to help your sales team to do their job more easily. The CRM selected and customized for it will accompany the sale department all the way : from a better understanding of a lead to an on time and more frequent deal closure completed with quality reporting.
Because of all the information you can gather and access quickly the CRM will help getting a better and stronger relationship with the potential client. This relation will be valuable as it will slowly help you to build trust and loyalty. Building a relationship based on trust can be a long process that can be ruined because of small mistakes. Having a powerful and reliable CRM will help you avoid those mistakes.
For instance, it can be about :
- Reminding a call that should be made.
Giving access to relevant hints about what should be done next to close the sale quickly.
- Making all the information and interactions the company had with this specific client quickly available.
- Pre-defining standards & workflow that allow sales to optimize their daily work efficiency and reduce new staff training cost.
One very important strength of a good CRM is the ability to centralize information. Giving the possibility to access it easily even if it was another sale who interacted with him at first. We can’t stress this enough : Centralization is the key ! This factor abolishing borders, allowing transparency and a better understanding of the leads as a whole.
Another aspect of a good CRM is often quite appreciated from the sales : it’s portability. Any good CRM will give access to a good app that you can use on the go. This might appear like a detail but sales are traveling a lot and being able to get every information needed available all the time will help a lot to close a deal on time.
One important part of the Sales CRM is the sales funnel, that can be completed by gamification, providing the sales and management an instant view of ongoing opportunity and their advancement.
The last point we would like to highlight is how the CRM will help to continuous improvement through quality reporting. All the information gathered and formatted will provide strong and easy to produce relevant reporting. This be a very good way to get a global view of evolution, progress made and mistakes to avoid. It will also help to communicate about what has been done and the impact of a specific strategy from a more global perspective.
CRM : Marketing Focus
A company might want to improve its marketing strategy to multiply leads and identify the ones that can become stronger leads. Let’s have a look upon CRM from a marketing perspective : what can it improve ? What are the main advantages? Is it worth focusing on it?
As for any other kind of CRM, it will allow the marketer allocate his time to what is valuable and prioritize. Most of all, the CRM will help directly the marketer providing powerful tools to reach as many people as possible but also to identify the relevant ones worth focusing on.
Service Automation are a good example of it as they will relief the marketer from redundant and time consuming tasks while erasing human errors at the same time. Consider this situation :
After using the CRM to do mass mailing the marketer would like to identify which clients he should contact directly, the ones to be reached by another more targeted mass mailing campaign and the ones that should be dropped for the moment.
Thanks to the CRM he will be able to get those information from the data he gathered.
For instance he will be able to know :
- Who opened the email, followed the unique link inside and/or contacted the company through the online form. Those will be the ones he will try to contact directly : either using the phone number the gave filling the form or sending a more personalized email.
- Who opened the email but did not follow the unique link : He will target them through another more targeted mass mailing campaign.
- Who did not even open the email : he might want to drop those clients for this campaign to avoid spamming them and being unable to reach them another time because of filters.
This kind of automation will help him doing effective prospects and tracking. This kind shows the strength of a CRM using relevant data with well configured automation. Automation can’t be exhaustively listed because there is not many limits to it but from the imagination of the one creating them. Marketer through the help of the CRM will be able to implement good strategy for the company to qualify the leads, and prioritize the one that need further work from the sales team.
To be fully utilize the CRM as to use as much information as it can. As we already mentioned , centralization of data is the very core of the whole process. Every department using the CRM will help the database to grow, allowing to be more and more precise and effective over time. The sharing of those information will give the marketing department everything needed to create quality content and to make relevant targeting. What is important to understand is that the CRM will allow the marketer not only to focus on quantity but also on quality leading to more trust and, at the end, strong leads and conversions
Quality content is of the essence when you try to reach a lot of people because that is what makes a company standing out from its competitors. The CRM assisting to do that as it helps to gather and formalize quality datas and allow to connect those datas easily. This will be of great importance to adjust the right lead to right content. Along with it the CRM will track and index every interaction the company has with potential clients.
To summarize, all those feature put together will help the department to determine what might be the best marketing plan to adopt, what to prioritize, how to structure and organize .
As for the saler, it is also important to notice that the marketer is often on the go and will appreciate the portability of the CRM.
It is clear that there is no standard boundary between sales and marketing as one rely on the work of the other. For this reason a CRM oriented around sales will necessarily help marketing and the other way around. Nevertheless choosing one strategy or the other implies different orientation and goals. Sometimes finding the proper balance between the two is the right choice.