There was a time when leads and opportunities were managed within Excel sheets, or by using simple contact management software. Sales teams reacted to customer demands and worked from a set of scripts that helped direct them to what they needed.
“The bulk of B2B purchasing decisions take place
before a customer contacts a supplier.”
Today’s customers are much more empowered. According to Harvard Business Review, a CEB study showed the bulk of all B2B purchasing decisions – 60 percent in some cases – took place before the buyer even contacted a potential seller for a conversation.
Customers do their research and expect personalized and efficient learning and purchasing experiences, which naturally prompts the question: How can sales be more proactive and deliver this?
The role of the modern CRM platform
Enter the modern CRM solution. Ideally, it will provide:
Centralized customer data: Dealing with huge amounts of customer data is like drinking from a firehose. CRM should make it easy to locate and retrieve items such as customers’ histories and other critical information for sales, marketing and service professionals.
Faster customer service: A CRM such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM can streamline the process of responding to customer requests and issues. It supports a unified help desk view, enabling consistent, accurate responses that do not require you to go hunting through folders and documents to find the information you need.
Extensibility platform: Your CRM shouldn’t be an island. The right CRM acts as an integration platform to enable all your individual front office solutions to work together from one database, as well as integrate with financial solutions and Office 365. Additionally, out-of-the-box customizability in a CRM solution makes it easy to track a wide range of business relationships and processes without having to break the bank on integrations.
Deep insights and customer awareness: Being proactive is important in building relationships with customers. For instance, CRM can allow you to segment your customers based on a growing understanding of them, and shed light on how effective your messaging and positioning is, i.e., how many people are opening the messages and how many of those get converted to actual sales.
The right deployment model for you: Some solutions only offer cloud-based deployment, but Dynamics CRM gives you the full range of options. You can utilize CRM Online as SaaS, bundled with Office 365 for a relatively low cost, purchase Dynamics CRM and have it hosted in Azure or a private cloud, or run the solution entirely on-premise.
All of these capabilities go far beyond what a sales team could do with a bunch of spreadsheets or a legacy application. Now, Dynamics CRM further improves customer satisfaction with comprehensive field service management included, enabling customer and field service reps to provide consistent and personalized service, whether on the phone or onsite.
CRM may be implemented or upgraded in response to a variety of challenges, ranging from lost sales opportunities to poor segmentation of customer contacts (which results in poorly targeted messages). No matter the reason for making the change, it pays to make sure that you have the best possible guidance along the way.