Why is CRM essential for a successful business? Because we now live in a customer experience economy. Customers will stay with you, or quickly leave you, based on whether or not you deliver a consistent, high-quality experience.
Now you may think, “Peter, that’s the way it’s always been. Haven’t you heard the saying, ‘the customer is always right?’” True, but based on my 20 years in this industry, I can tell you that things have changed in recent times.
The Internet era has arrived and become firmly entrenched. Statistically, new businesses have a shorter life span than those formed 100 years ago. Traditional factors such as expertise, being local, or even having the best price, used to drive customer loyalty. These days, the customer experience economy is changing the way we choose whom we will deal with. If you disappoint a customer, in just a few clicks of the mouse, your customer has found one of your competitors and left you, perhaps for good.
Think about the way you interact with your vendors. Do you choose to do business with those who consistently deliver, and always have what you need? Those who always treat you well and have answers for all your questions? Now think about your customers and prospects. Do you provide them with that kind of experience? If you don’t, they’ll eventually find someone who will.
Common Business Killers
Failing to provide a high-quality customer experience is what leads to the demise of the modern business. And I believe that failure is directly related to fragmented teams within the organization, giving rise to a list of “business killers”.
What do I mean by fragmented teams? The sales team is separated from the service team. The accounting team is separated from both of them. Everyone is operating in their own little worlds. Next comes inconsistent messaging, then slow response times, and uninformed responses to the customer. The end result is unsatisfactory to the customer, pushing them to a competitor.
How does this happen? The number one root cause behind fragmented teams: Silos of information and expertise.
I’ve personally witnessed a massive shift during the last 20 years. When I got started as a CRM consultant, the primary sales methodology was account-based. Account managers had their client list, or were assigned a region, and basically operated alone as long as they produced results.
Today’s fast-paced marketplace demands that a company’s salespeople work as a team to deliver a superior customer experience. While an account manager may take the lead in servicing a client, he depends on the team to answer questions or take orders when he’s not available… And if those team members are disconnected, problems crop up.
As an example, a common pain point for customers is checking the status of their order. Imagine being put on hold for a minute, or two, or even five as the representative is pulling up a separate application, making a phone or a video call to the shipping department, or worse yet, having to walk down there to ask about the customer’s order. On a good day, the client waits patiently; on a bad day, they hang up in disgust. Either way, they notice the delay.
Information silos frustrate customers and employees alike. They cost you serious money in the form of wasted time and lost sales.
CRM promises to empty those silos into a single system, pulling together all the fragments to make one unified team.
What else can CRM do for your business?
CRM gets you organized. All your data lives in one place. Sales, email and other communications, calendars, accounting, operations… It’s all there. Everyone has access, helping each team member make informed decisions and enabling them to answer customer requests as if they were their primary account manager.
CRM keeps you on task. Nobody’s perfect; we all forget sometimes. CRM makes up for that. Process automation, timely reminders, and robust calendaring assist you so you don’t miss any step in the process – and you complete them on time – delivering a high-quality experience.
CRM is wherever you go. Salespeople have always needed to be mobile, and the recent pandemic has intensified the need for remote access. Access via a browser or a mobile application has become essential to keep salespeople functioning as a team – anywhere, anytime.
CRM helps you make smart decisions. You need to keep tabs on Key Performance Indicators for your business. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. For example:
How long is your average sales cycle?
Does your sales cycle differ from product to product?
What is your retention rate?
What is your close rate?
CRM answers those questions for you, helping you make data-driven decisions that will improve your operations and services. In turn, your customers are happy, your prospects more readily convert into customers, and you see a steady increase in revenue.
CRM connects you with your customers. Think of how easy it is for you to check your order status, purchase history, and edit your account information on Amazon.com. Creating a web portal that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and delivers 24/7/365 access to that information for your customers is more affordable than you think. You provide an elevated customer experience, and as a bonus, your team is freed up to handle more important revenue-producing activities.
How Will Your Organization Benefit as a Result of CRM?
Once implemented, and you’ve realized the above-mentioned benefits, how will it benefit your company over the long haul?
You will have a unified, collaborative team.
You’ll create a culture of consistent follow-through on leads, orders, and more.
Customers will delight in a high-quality, personalized experience.
Your team will become effective; they will be doing the right things. They will become efficient; doing those right things in the right way and at the right time. With that winning combination, you’ll keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
Peter Wolf is the president and founder of Azamba. He has spent the last 20 years focused on helping small and medium-sized businesses become more profitable through effective and efficient usage of CRM.