How can CRM help grow your business?

World class customer experiences begins with your people. By providing them with the right tools to propel their productivity and amplify their impact, they can drive your organisation to achieve its goals and generate maximum return.

Phil Callaghan

Phil Callaghan

This is the value of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, a truly experienced and proven way to build lasting growth. However, implementation of any CRM solution must be carefully thought through, and the support of experienced professionals can pay dividends in the long run. CRM technology, when placed at the heart of an organisation, can have an almost immediate impact on the top line, helping organisations to win profitable customers and to better serve existing customers. There are three ways to harness the power of CRM:

1. Acquire profitable customers

A well implemented CRM application will bring together multiple sources of information to support decision-making, allowing marketing campaigns to be targeted and managed most effectively.
A sales force is a valuable and possibly one of an organisation’s most costly resources. With this in mind, it’s imperative that sales people spend their time selling, and less time chasing fruitless leads or navigating administrative hurdles.

The CRM tool should act as a sales force’s compass. It should help the organisation understand where it stands today, and point in the direction it needs to take. It should be an integral part of the sales team – at the start of the sales cycle it should help qualify leads, allowing resources to be directed appropriately.

Automatic triggers can be built into your CRM system to ensure the desired contact programme is fulfilled, and subsequent win-loss data can be collated and analysed, allowing organisations to continually hone their strategy for optimum success.

2. Retain and maximise existing customers

It’s commonly known that it’s significantly cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. So it makes sense to focus resources that help to build customer loyalty, increase spend and encourage longevity. CRM allows you to analyse customer spend, joining up your marketing and sales processes. Additionally, you can build detailed customer profiles – all of which aids the reduction of customer churn.

A great customer experience must be balanced with the need to control cost. An effective CRM tool can help make service improvements whilst reducing costs associated with managing customers, both by making agents more effective, and by automating data entry processes.

For advisers, the automatic generation of information, complete with pre-populated standard fields means advisers have the necessary detail available to handle queries most effectively, which can save valuable time. And because all information about the customer – including historic data – is held in one place, the adviser can more quickly handle queries as they have access to contextual information.

3. Gain efficiencies

Processes Improvement: All businesses operate with a series of processes, often built around the most basic functions of the organisation and almost always repetitive tasks. These processes are vital to an organisation’s success – they are what drive consistent service levels, fast decision-making and best practice.

Successful processes are key to all successful organisations. CRM reporting makes it easy to identify the most effective processes, and to ensure they are established across the organisation.

Help employees to excel: In an age where information is all-important, CRM tools can play an important role in ensuring employees are able to work effectively, adding maximum value to the business. Customers want to be helped quickly, and by the first person they speak to. They want quick solutions and correct answers. CRM means employees have the right information in the right place at the right time, empowering them to be effective and provide high quality service to customers.

Simplify your IT assets: As organisations grow, IT infrastructure tends to grow too. Soon, a number of disparate systems are in use, often with overlapping and conflicting data. It can be a time-consuming and costly exercise to unravel the discrepancies, and produce a less than ideal experience for customers. In addition, it can be more complex to maintain a number of systems, and adds to training costs too.

Providing one unified system with a single user interface, means employees can access all the necessary information in one place, without the need to switch from one application to another. This makes it easier for them to make good decisions, and reduces the risk of wasted time and effort.

A good CRM system will continue to evolve with an organisation, comprising accessible configuration tools to enable companies to further tailor the user interface. It should also allow companies to further develop their capabilities.

Conclusion

Companies must keep focused on their strategy and find ways to achieve more with less. Tools which help companies maximise revenue opportunities and reduce operational costs will strengthen the organisation and position it well for a secure future. CRM is a powerful tool which, if fully harnessed, can play a vital role in sales, marketing and service provision.

However, to produce the required impact, it must be implemented with care. Correctly integrated with other IT applications, and aligned with business processes, a CRM tool can be immensely powerful, helping an organisation to gain better market positioning beyond an economic downturn. Working with experts reduces the risk of wasted time, effort and money and means you can reap the full benefit of a CRM system from the outset.

Phil Callaghan is managing director of Batley based Caltech