Making profit is the ultimate goal of any business. To achieve it, you need to use all available tools, including optimized relationships with customers. In business, the need to automate processes has become commonplace. It is important both in mega-projects, as well as in small and medium business. CRM-application is a powerful tool which is used for control, planning and analysis of work with clients through automation of specific working issues. It is not surprising that the popularity of these applications is increasing with every year, which was confirmed by the Grand View Research study.
We will detaily discuss all the aspects of this software in our series of articles regarding CRM. For example, we will tell you about custom CRM, what to pay attention to when developing such applications and much more. In the meantime, though, let’s take a look at the phenomenon itself, what it is and how it benefits the business.
What is a CRM application?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a set of tools to help you manage relationships with real and potential customers. The application stores contact information about customers (name, phone number, e-mail) and other data that you filled in after the phone call or learned from the application on the website: date of birth, region of residence, interests, size of clothing, and so on.
CRM application is a single database accessible from multiple computers of a single company, which collects all information about the customers of the enterprise. Who previously worked with this client, what are the results of this work, what were the questions and problems, etc. It contains all available information about the clients and the entire history of relationships with them. Next time you contact the client, you will be able to look at the information and understand how and what to say in the future. The program organizes data about customers and transactions, carefully stores the history of interaction, systematizes letters and calls records. It also automates work: sets tasks, creates reports, generates documents by template, reminds about deadlines.
To put it simply, with CRM-application managers won’t forget to call or send an email. They will be able to pay enough attention to each and every client. People will feel loved and important - the number of sales and loyal clients will increase.
The more you know about customers (or potential customers), the better, as you can build your sales more competently. Therefore, investing money in a CRM-application is absolutely justified expenses, which pays off relatively quickly.
What tasks does the CRM-application solve?
Using a CRM application allows you to optimize your business processes. You no longer need to count how many calls, messages, and stuff like that are made. The managers just do their job: make calls to customers, hold meetings. The only one thing is required is to keep records not on a leaflet, not in the head, not in Outlook, but in CRM. The program becomes a notebook, a scheduler, a report and a manager training tool. It is difficult to overestimate the capabilities of the CRM application , because the effectively implemented CRM application allows:
- Record and "do not forget" each and every of your clients;
- To keep the whole history of relations with the clients;
- To reduce the company’s dependance on the manager;
- Predict the growth and decline of sales;
- To correct mistakes in work with each client;
- Train managers;
- Free managers from all reports;
- Increase sales;
- Automatically generate reports on managers' activity and efficiency;
- To conduct analytics on problem stages of sales;
- Gather marketing information within the company;
- Make the working day of the sales manager completely transparent for the supervisors;
- To automate the interaction of the sales department with other departments;
- Get rid of paper approvals.
According to polls, the application is more often implemented by enterprises associated with telecommunications, IT, Research & Development. However, the CRM is also useful for companies that sell goods and provide services. The application improves the efficiency of the individual employee and the entire sales department. Thus, the Salesforce survey showed that the tool helps to increase sales up to 29%, productivity - up to 34%, and accuracy of forecast - up to 42%.
Benefits of CRM applications for business
.1 Reducing costs
The application allows you to save on communications - it has built-in tools for communicating with customers: calls, chats, video, SMS. All this reduces the cost of phone conversations with colleagues, partners and customers. CRM reminds to contact a specific customer on time, i.e. reducing customer churn.
It will be possible to save money on service as well. Firstly, you have specialists who see the whole cycle of the company's customers relations and know how the application works. Secondly, the unification of managers' work guarantees a coherent sales process. In total, the implementation of CRM allows you to reduce the errors cost, price for customer support, attract new customers, as well as reduce the cost of production.
.2 Automation of business processes
CRM automates the processes: it generates documents and invoices, tracks deadlines and important dates. Managers will not have to spend valuable time on these tasks. It means that the same number of specialists will spend more transactions for the same period of time.
The application won’t lose a single lead, as well as help identify the most profitable segments and bottlenecks by working with the lead and the client. On this basis, managers will perform cross-sales and offer beneficial terms of cooperation. It all starts with the fact that the sales manager has a detailed and complete picture of each sale and customer profiles. Knowing the stories of the most successful deals, they can apply effective approaches in sales and share them with colleagues. In the base of knowledge lies the experience exchange - everyone can add and get information on how to increase the volume of closed transactions and properly build customers relations. This also applies to handling objections and scripts. Thanks to the multifunctional interface and automation of processes, it is easier to trace a stage of the transaction, the buyer status and to make forecasts on it.
In a clients profile and history of work with them it is convenient to define the best offers. For example, preferences-based questioning and purchase history-based questioning increases your average check and total profit.
.3 Increased control and security
CRM insures business against loss of customer base. Sometimes sale managers go to competitors and take valuable data with them. Since the program works with access passwords, the manager can quickly block former employees from accessing the database.
The software is much safer and more convenient than spreadsheets in Excel. The data will not have to be sent by mail or, worse, as links somewhere on the Internet. Plus, the entire editing history will be preserved.
Benefits of CRM applications for Top-Managers
.1 Tracking managers' performance
You no longer need to control your employees - just request a report from the application. CRM will generate a document where the actions and performance of each individual manager will be presented.
.2 Transparent sales analytics
At any time, you can see which goods and services are well selled and which should be given more attention. Transparent analytics will help you develop and use optimal management solutions. In addition, you can analyze customer information in a convenient format, identify the preferences of the target audience and think about more effective sales strategies.
.3 Control from anywhere in the world
The manager can be at home, on business trip or vacation and successfully monitor the company. The only thing you need to access the program is the Internet. Sales will not stop for even a single minute.
Benefits of CRM applications for managers
.1 All services in one platform
Specialist will not have to keep open over 9000 tabs in different programs, because CRM is mail, database, social networks, Excel and telephony in one single piece of software. All this saves time and simplifies interaction with clients.
.2 Freedom from reports
There's no need to waste time on reports - the application will do everything on its own. The managers won’t be distracted and will be able to devote their working time only to sales.
.3 Productive working day
A pre-compiled task funnel will show you which tasks are of higher priority. The working day will be planned with maximum benefit. Instead of keeping a client base manually, it is enough to set up automatic recording of incoming requests in CRM.
Moreover, the manager does not have to decide and keep the calculation - to whom, when and how to address with a reminder or additional proposal. In CRM, the client's profile is analyzed automatically, or statuses and reminders are added. This means that you don’t have to keep track of every status. At the right moment, the application will notify the manager about the upcoming activity or launch the processes itself - for example, will send an email to the post office or show ads in social networks.
.4 Saving time
Managers can do routine work faster. Information about a particular customer will be in a separate card which you can access in two clicks. Managers will be able to do more as many operations are performed by the application for them. So, with less staff, you can process more requests and make more sales.
Types of CRM applications
There are several ways to separate CRM into different types and subtypes. Despite the fact that powerful CRM applications can combine all of the following, a popular CRM classification is by the intended use.According to these the applications are divided into:
- Strategic - focused on creating and maintaining a customer-oriented business culture. The goal of a strategic CRM application is to concentrate and gain knowledge about customers and use this knowledge to improve and individualize interaction with consumers. Thus, a long-term relationship is established with them. This is important, because retaining an old customer is easier and more important than attracting a new one;
- Operational - the main goal of such applications is to integrate and automate sales, marketing and customer support. These functions are implemented through boards that provide an overview of all the activities of the company, and through separate pages for each client of the company. The latter contains information about the customer, sales history, calls, important customer dates, etc. This is a “squeeze” of the relationship between the consumer and the company. Operational CRM consists of 3 main components: sales automation blocks (including the steps from entering contact information to turning a potential customer into a real one), marketing (for example, weekly email newsletter about promotions) and service (for example, integration with IP-telephony, mail etc.);
- Analytical - the role of analytical CRM applications is to analyze user data collected from various sources and present this data so that business executives make more informed decisions. For example, through an analysis of the buying pattern of an individual customer base, a company can understand that in recent years, sales among these customers have fallen. Based on the data received, a decision to launch a marketing campaign is made aiming at promoting products among this customer base;
- Cooperative. An important goal of cooperative CRM applications is to unite external stakeholders: suppliers, sellers, distributors. The sharing of customer information between these organizations is also important. For example, feedback is collected through support calls, then the data is used in the marketing department.
CRM is also divided into two large groups depending on the technology used:
- SaaS - software and data are hosted on the server of the service provider. There are fewer options for changing the functionality compared to standalone products. But the installation process of SaaS application is much easier, as well as its support. An example of such a CRM is the Pentroy CRM developed by MassMedia Group.
- Standalone - you buy a license to install and use the software, then install it on your own server. Detailed customization is available, but more installation and maintenance costs are required.
Conventionally, CRM can be divided into:
Applications with standard functionality. A standard set of functions for the sales department without reference to a specific field of activity.
- For particular industry
Designed for a specific industry, taking into account the characteristics, business needs, goals of enterprises from a particular area.
In addition, there is a classification of CRM into:
Immediately after purchasing a license and installing everything is ready to work. Such solutions are divided into cloud and desktop. The application in the cloud looks like a website. The employee enters, signs up and gets to work. Desktop CRMs are installed on a computer. The main shortcoming of such applications is standard functionality. There are many functions, but there may no necessary ones. Out-of-the-box application is integrated by the supplier. If you plan to cope with it on your own, then you can’t do without technical knowledge or specialists. Implementing a turnkey solution in a company with complex infrastructure is long and expensive. If there is no established interaction between departments or full-time IT specialists, it will also be quite difficult. When integrating an out-of-the-box solution, the business owner is responsible for data protection.
Custom CRM applications take into account the company's strategic development plans. It is easy to add a new feature if the business requires it. Sometimes an out-of-the-box CRM is cheaper and faster to integrate but it is not an easy task to adapt it to specific business processes. Some modifications are acceptable, although it will require time and money. Custom CRM is implemented by the development company. In addition, company teaches your employees how to use the application and integrate it into the IT infrastructure of the company. This includes bindings to IP telephony, ERP, Skype, social networks, etc. If your company lacks expertise in process structuring, you can use the consulting services of the developer company. This service allows with the help of analysis and expertise to translate business objectives, ideas, needs and requirements into a detailed technical plan. It aims on creating an IT product that is perfect for business. IT consulting includes assessment, planning and expert advice on creation, implementation, development and integration of the created product to improve the efficiency and quality of its implementation, as well as to optimize costs.
Besides, custom CRM solves concrete business problems, is supported as much as it is necessary by people who developed it and it is possible to add new functionality. Also, such applications are characterized by increased security, because if the CRM-application is tailored, then the data can be stored by the developer. Only you will receive secure access, and the responsibility will be on the solution provider. You may also store information on your server, if you prefer so. A good example of such a CRM is the Greek Capital Management developed by us.
So, you’ve familiarized yourself with the types of CRM. But how do you know if you need CRM after all?
How do you understand whether you need a CRM application or not?
- You process a lot of leads every day.
- Work is aimed at long-term cooperation with customers.
- Business involves multiple sales of goods and services.
- You want to automate processes, free managers from routine tasks and sell more.
- You need a centralized source of information.
- You need a transparent sales process.
- You are tired of manual reporting.
- You need data security.
- You want all your customers to have the same good cooperation experience.
- You need a consistent sales process.
- You're not using digital solutions and you're not going to change anything;
- You're not looking for new customers or interested in a long-term partnership;
- Hold an offline trading point where customer traffic is chaotic and volatile;
- Operate in non-market conditions or are a monopolist in the market: clients are constant, have to buy from you and cannot influence the terms of the transaction;
- Sales are based only on the personal acquaintances of the sellers.
Conscious work with CRM application is the first step to building an IT infrastructure for your company. It is the core around which the entire sales strategy can be built. By implementing CRM, the company goes up to a new level. From a boy it becomes a man and opens new horizons for growth. The main thing is that it really corresponds to the company specifics, closes its business needs and is qualitatively implemented. Strive for more, work only with high quality specialists who give a comprehensive solution and maximum involvement in the project, and the result will not take long to wait.