Business applications are useful because they help you do something. Whether it streamlines a process, helps store information, or increases other efficiencies, a business application’s purpose is to assist you. However, if you have too many business applications, or if they don’t work together, these tools can instead cause confusion and chaos.
How? When your resources are not connected, it can be easy to lose track of where your data is. Even making a simple sales call to a potential customer may require you to search through a mountain of emails, wade through countless cells in an Excel file, hunt down physical copies of contracts and other paper, and even scan your phone for relevant call times, voicemails, and texts. By the time you find what you were looking for, you may even have forgotten why you needed it for in the first place.
Beyond that, what about the information you need while you’re on the call? What if a customer has a question that you weren’t prepared for? What if you need to know the CTR of an email campaign, or want to pull a forecasting report? Putting all those pieces together takes time, which can be a serious drain on your company’s resources.
With CRM software, you can put all this crucial data at your fingertips, in one place. The four cornerstones of CRM software are:
- Marketing automation
- Sales force automation
- Reports and Analytics
- Service Desk
Marketing automation needs tools to not only reach out to leads, but also to gather all the information it can from them. MA platforms have tools to guide leads through their customer journey, no matter what channel they originated from.
MA initiatives can take many forms, including:
- highly-targeted email marketing
- social listening
- SEO audits
- A/B testing
- predictive analytics
Sales force automation
Sales is a hands-on job, but there are some tasks that do not need as much attention as others. Sales force automation (SFA) allows you to automate certain sales functions, freeing up time for your sales reps and managers. SFA makes it possible to manage a huge volume of leads, contacts, accounts, prospects, and customers.
Your sales team’s process is streamlined, enabling anyone to hop into the system and see where they left things with a prospect. Vital information — from logging every call and email to face-to-face conversations and contract dates — becomes easy to find.
CRM systems also allow sales managers to quickly see the progress of individual accounts, and to track how the sales team is spending their time.
Reports and analytics
The more data you have in one place, the better overview you have into your sales, marketing, forecasts, and other data. CRM systems are also highly customizable, allowing you to pick and choose the reports you need.
CRM software allows you to get a bird’s eye view of your business practices, and then provides the opportunity to dig deeper. When your sales force and marketing automation programs are connected for a Total CRM solution, you gain a complete view of your leads, customers, and other essential aspects of your business.
To provide the greatest insights into productivity, CRM reporting needs to move beyond simple activity reporting. With a little bit of guile in structuring these reports, it becomes possible to focus on motion as well as activity, tracking efficiency and productivity across teams and individuals.
Your service desk makes and takes many calls, every day, every hour. Creating efficiency for your team is important so they don’t waste valuable those valuable moments on slow load times, inefficient customer data storage, or confusion on next steps.
A complete CRM solution isn’t about the software, it’s about creating a comprehensive strategy for enhancing all customer relationships. The better those relationships are managed, the more effective the marketing, sales, administrative, and customer service functions can become.
A CRM system can mean anything from a marketing-automation service to a back-end reporting tool. Learn your definition by checking out this informational white paper.