Customer relationship management systems can serve as the spark for businesses to improve data collection, informational analysis and, of course, customer interactions. Modern CRM systems also incorporate features that aren't directly tied to the efforts of salespeople and marketers but impact the customer experience, such as technical support and supply and demand forecasting. Businesses looking to add a CRM system need to understand what this software will and will not do in terms of boosting operational outcomes and employee knowledge, however. Despite CRM's many advantages, it doesn't fix faulty processes on an internal level or change the attitudes of employees.
Here's a look at what CRM does to help businesses, as well as some of the concerns companies need to address themselves to get the most out of these platforms:
CRM links the entire interaction process
Sales are the direct source of revenue for a business, but maintaining a strong customer base means more than tracking sales metrics and charting supply and demand. One of the greatest benefits of CRM is the end-to-end visibility it provides. The customer data collected can be used by marketers to inform the content they create and the mediums through which they distribute it, for example. Having in-depth information on hand also helps technical support and customer service personnel resolve issues more quickly, improving satisfaction and encouraging future purchasing by clients.
CRM doesn't replace the need for internal communication
CRM makes it much easier for pertinent information to be shared across a business and makes analysis more accurate and complete. However, employees can't rely on CRM to totally eliminate face-to-face meetings, or the need to discuss and act on the results of informational analysis. This may seem like a basic distinction, but it's important for businesses to understand that internal discussions and human input can't be entirely replaced by CRM.
CRM provides an infrastructure for success
To use an analogy, CRM is a well-maintained road system that makes it easy for cars and trucks to quickly and safely make their way to their final destination. The enhanced infrastructure of CRM makes it easy to avoid problems like a lack of organizational knowledge about customers or disparities in analysis of consumer actions and behavior. By removing many roadblocks and hazards, CRM provides a clear path to organizational development.
CRM doesn't automatically increase sales or retention
Continuing the analogy, CRM isn't a car that gets a business from the starting point to a final destination of sustained success. The software makes it much easier to record, track and analyze information, but it doesn't fix deficient sales practices or a lack of inter-departmental communication. Marketing news site ClickZ provided this example: CRM doesn't create relevant marketing content, but it does provide the data that helps create it and
In essence, businesses need to have consistent and coherent sales, marketing, and customer service procedures in place before they add a CRM platform. CRM solutions are powerful because they share information and make data analysis and metric-based tracking a reality for businesses of all kinds, but they don't fix internal problems like compliance with best practices. Companies that have instilled these values into employees will see much better results with their CRM systems than those counting on CRM as a magic bandage for any and all problems.
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by The TM Group