“A business absolutely devoted to Customer Service Excellence will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”
-Sir Henry Ford
In the 1980’s many businesses began exploring database marketing to build and customize communication channels with customers to drive sales. Customer relationship management or CRM software was born out of this initiative and became a tool that enabled companies to develop personalized sales and marketing messages and disseminate to their customers in their database.
But it was only in the 1990’s when the prominence of personal computers and server architecture grew sporadically that CRM software expanded to push out of more robust software platforms like sales force automation and contact management software.
The dotcom bubble burst in the early 2000s and many more disruptions that unfolded until 2010 and beyond such as the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) shaped CRM software into becoming a globally disposable, technology asset.
Today, the adoption rates for mobile CRM solutions are commendably large and as per the worldwide CRM market research findings by Gartner, the global annual revenue of the software reached 36.8 billion USD in 2017. The report also suggests that the CRM software has the annual growth rate of 16 percent and will continue to lead the list of fastest growing software markets.
Cloud-based, mobile enabled CRM and SaaS CRM software development with a range of functionalities have flooded the markets, offering modern businesses of all sizes the cost, customisation, integration and implementation conveniences. But the core reason for its multitudinous growth is its sheer ability to tap into siloed data of customers to analyse interactions, engagements and optimize communications and services to build strong customer relations.
However, the purpose of CRM software is not just limited to managing customer interaction, it acts as a sound platform for automation of sales processes and activities and leveraging sales data for valuable insights.
To dive deeper into the advantages of CRM software listed below are ways it can optimize sales processes:
Capturing Leads: CRM systems are intuitive applications that can capture information about probable leads and potential customers browsing through the company’s website or webstores. The data about the prospect offers enough understanding of the customers and their needs that are useful to devise responses or sales pitches.
Easy Share and Access to Sales Information: CRM solutions enable addition of customers and sales data and sharing it with respective teams in real-time. But more importantly, these platforms are capable of extracting relevant data from information silos to share across the department, thereby expediting decision-making and pre-sales processes.
Monitor Sales Activities: CRM solutions enabled with real-time activity monitoring helps track sales processes, performances and targets to understand the pace at which the sales activities are taking place and accordingly take actions. Monitoring activities is a great way to assess areas and operations that are unproductive and optimize on strategies that increase capacities to attend to leads.
Email and Social Media Integrations: New age marketing approaches take over traditional practices like cold calling, networking, trade shows, telemarketing, etc. Email and social media integration features on CRM systems help the sales and marketing teams to skip through the task of switching between systems to interact with customer audience and disseminate sales and promotional messages in large volumes, all in one go!
Smart Document Storage: Sales departments need more than one localized folder to store and share sales documents to engage in sales activities on the go. CRM systems with robust storage features allow users to attach files in various formats and integrate into document storage systems like Dropbox, Zoho CRM, Google Drive, etc.
Marketing Automation: CRM platforms integrated with marketing automation are common among 89 percent of its users, suggests a study by Agile CRM. The objective behind integrating CRM with marketing functions is to slash additional marketing costs and also connect sales activities with marketing efforts to determine the most impactful strategy and approach for capturing leads and sales conversion.
Mobile Access: Mobile CMR platforms offers the flexibility and convenience to engage with customers that are geographically dispersed and residing in different time zones, thus impacting sales performance and exceeding targets. Besides, the mobile-responsive CRM sites and applications give users the convenience of anytime, anywhere access to sales and customer data on their smartphones and mobile devices.
Custom Reporting Benefits: Regular platforms for sales and customer relationship management do not provide the custom reporting features to its users and as a result, the sales organizations end up spending significantly to create reports based on key metrics and indicators. CRM solutions with inbuilt reporting abilities and dashboards not only provide in-depth view into analytics and also carry plug-in features to integrate reports and results with native software like Word and Spreadsheet. In-built customization features enable users to manage the report generation frequency and engage in creation of report data for various aspects of sales functions.
Request Management: CRM software mostly deals with customers data but sales and customer relationship management departments require a comprehensive view of the actions, requests and responses from customers to prioritize sales actions. CRM solutions that can intuitively categorize requests and manage customer accounts can send timely reports to sales personnel to take necessary decisions that impact sales and boost experiences.
Sales Automation: Traditional sales processes involves a set of daunting activities that have be executed on repeated basis. From identifying prospects, to categorization, devising communication strategy, marketing campaigns and typing email responses, the CRM solutions can take over the full-cycle of sales activities by enabling automation of the entire sales process. This reduces time taken to respond and attend to customers, bring down the spending on activities other than sales and implement cogent methodologies to boost sales and increase revenue generation.
The bottom line for today’s businesses is that CRM systems go hand-in-hand with their sales and revenue generation approaches. The agile, cloud-based and mobile-first design of CRM platforms offer many other benefits that are unique to each business and enterprise from financial, management, technology and business point of view.