CRM More Than a Tool for the Sales Force

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CRM has evolved since the early days of corporate adoption. Innovative organizations recognize that CRM provides the environment to support overall corporate strategies.

The key to a successful implementation is to obtain involvement from the executive level. CRM is a business tool which combined with technology can greatly improve an organizations ability to improve customer acquisition and retention.

Traditionally, CRM has been regarded as a tool for sales management, specifically to track the activities of the sales force. As such, it has often been overlooked as a tool that can aid in forecasting production, purchasing and cash flow analysis

Before beginning an implementation, or indeed even an evaluation, an organization should determine its corporate goals and evaluate whether its current tools are able to support its efforts to reach its targets. For example, if the company strategy is to grow market share; can it track customer buying habits and does it understand how they stack up against the competition?

In the current economic environment, companies have grown lean in order to survive. Leaner staff and leaner inventories often mean slower response times. As we enter a recovery, organizations who can respond quickly to increased demand will gain market share. Customers will demand a fast response and for organizations which cannot meet their demands, the opportunity may be lost forever. As we recover, we need to alert the entire supply chain of changing circumstances. Organizations have relied upon their financial systems to provide data to predict the future. Since these systems are providing lagging indicators, they are not effective in a fast changing environment.

Successful organizations need to start to plan and put the tools in place to anticipate a period of pent-up demand which will accompany the recovery.

CRM supports the flow of information throughout an organization. As sales orders are booked, or anticipated, purchasing, manufacturing, and finance can be alerted of changes as they are occurring. Customer service can provide current information to quality assurance and problems can be addressed quickly.

Microsoft CRM 2011 addresses the needs of the entire organization. Via the use of business alerts, KPI’s, dashboards, and integration with financial data, Microsoft CRM 2011 makes a very timely appearance on the CRM landscape. Contact us here at Sikich to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you adapt to a quickly changing business environment.

By Carol Hammer with Sikich, Chicago IL Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner serving IL and MO

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