Engage your customers in more meaningful ways
Conducting business in today’s environment has become more complex than ever. Customers and prospects are now more informed, savvy and digitally connected through technology, enabling them to evaluate multiple solutions before making a purchase.
A common experience among sales - An opportunity fell through as you have not heard from the prospect for some time and you subsequently learnt that he or she has chosen a competing product due to a lack of tools and processes to ensure proper tracking and monitoring of your prospects (which could be hundreds or thousands of them).
Traditionally and perhaps, a common misconception, is the belief that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are only designed for enterprise businesses. It is however, critical that small and medium businesses that are experiencing growth be equipped with the right tools to gain access to business data and insights timely.
CRM solutions are now lightweight, hosted in the cloud and readily available on mobile devices, packed with more features from maintaining visibility of all sales, customer service, and marketing activities- anytime, anywhere.
What are the key considerations before you dive into a CRM solution and how could you potentially benefit from it?
Central platform to store and share information
As your business grows, the challenge of tracking your activities, prospects and customers increases. Dave in Marketing might have a list of potential leads in an excel spreadsheet, while Sara in Sales notes down a collection of referrals on her iPhone. Your customer service engineer just carried out a maintenance and there were feedbacks given by the customer. It is critical that every data is detailed down in a single platform.
A CRM consolidates data from all touchpoints into a single, unified system that is constantly updated, giving every business unit real-time and relevant data to work on
Connect your business units
Another common challenge for businesses lies in the coordination of efforts between sales and marketing. Dave have sent a prospect a promotional material through an e-newsletter and unknowingly, Sara sent a promotional e-mail to the same person later in the day. Excessive engagement could potentially dissuade a customer from working with you and pushing your content one step closer to spam messages.
Roll out coordinated and relevant communications in a timely manner, as a connected team.
Track and report your marketing activities
As listed above, the growing number of touchpoints that your business utilizes to reach out to customers can be overwhelming. Ensure that every prospect is trackable through an actionable qualification lifecycle. Track and gain insights into your various activites to understand which works best for your business. Consequently, this enables you to allocate the right budget for activities that generate your business the most ROI.
Profiled customers; Personalized communications
Many businesses possess valuable customer data and information but they do not possess the capability to turn them into useful insights, leading to a “one size fits all” engagement approach. It is a daunting task to profile your prospects and customers data individually and manually.
With a CRM, you automate the process of profiling your prospects into segments so you can send them targeted messages. By providing relevant information, you increase your chances of getting a response and striking a meaningful conversation.
Most importantly, increase your top-line growth
The access to real-time data - anywhere and anytime on multiple devices – provides you with the relevant information to help your customers make a purchase decision, faster. Provide a summary of what was last discussed and follow up promptly with relevant marketing materials. CRMs of today can go one step further by offering quotations and invoices instantly. Provide concise information timely so that your customers can make timely decisions, leading to productive engagements and ultimately, faster order closures.
Staff turnover is inevitable, although there might be ways to reduce them. The key is to minimise disruptions during such periods.
In the event of any staff turnover, it is critical that the CRM contains a thorough record of all past and current interactions that occurred, a clear understanding of every opportunity’s status that were being pursued, and the critical next step, with a clear timeline. This enables a new or existing staff to continue the engagement and prevent lost opportunities. Such continuity will translate to lesser resistance from your prospect, as you now rely on a “corporate memory” instead of any individual that had vacate a position.
A CRM solution streamlines the way you interact with your customers, as well as enhance your ability to manage them. If you have a rapidly growing customer base that is increasingly difficult to manage, a CRM solution could be the perfect tool to manage your business expansion.
With the CRM market expected to grow to $36 billion by 20171, it is evident that more and more companies are taking advantage of these solutions. While these types of advanced solutions used to be only for MNCs, they are becoming increasingly user friendly (to set up and to use) and affordable.
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