Why Does Your Business Need CRM?

‘Customer is king’ has been the underlying foundation of businesses and their related processes since the advent of the concept. Companies have gone up and down the success curve trying to satisfy and retain their customers. Companies are always up to the challenge to meet the dynamic customer demands and supply the best in class,value added services at optimum profit margins. A well maintained, progressive and delighted customer base is a boon for any business to survive in today’s competitive market scenario. With changing customer requirements, dynamic market, trends, globalization, advent of technology and companies moving into the automated space, a well - thought CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will help businesses deliver the best both in terms of quality and customer satisfaction.

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

CRM is an end to end system to manage a company’s interaction with its customers on an ongoing basis for a win-win relationship. Technology is used to organize, automate and synchronize different business units like sales, marketing, relations, reporting and finance into a streamlined process to provide end to end customer support solutions. A good CRM ensures storage, tracking, reporting, predictability, accountability and sustainability of business processes.

Benefits of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Companies need to understand the benefits that can be reaped from a deploying a good CRM system in their organizations.

  • Competitive Advantage
    Knowing customer’s preferences well is always an added advantage over other competitors and also for business growth. An insight into customer requirements based on historical data can help in forecasting customer demand and serving them at the right time.

  • Storage
    Storing customer information, data, emails, status and many more is one of the other important advantages of having a system in place. This helps in centralization of data which can be accessed by employees as and whenever required. The data can also be used as case studies to train employees. Similarly, centralization of emails can too help in connecting missing dots in the communication.

  • Security
    A good CRM system can ensure that all important information is kept safe and secure both from tangible and intangible losses. Having an automated system also helps in minimizing information storage on papers, which stand more risk of being easily manipulated or tempered with human intervention. Using CRM, you can set access control on the use of information and track or monitor how, when and by whom the data has been accessed.

  • Efficiency
    Delivering the right solution at the right time is very important for business continuity and gain a competitive edge in the market. Employees can act optimally if they have access to the right data at the right time. CRM leverages this idea to facilitate employee efficiency by allowing proper dissemination of data by which they can schedule tasks accordingly and serve the customer better. This also helps the employer to keep attack of assigned task of the employee through various interfaces and see how customers have been served.

  • Storage
    Storing customer information, data, emails, status and many more is one of the other important advantages of having a system in place. This helps in centralization of data which can be accessed by employees as and whenever required. The data can also be used as case studies to train employees. Similarly, centralization of emails can too help in connecting missing dots in the communication.

  • Customer Acquisition and Retention
    CRM can support in identifying the target audience, focusing on the right mix of marketing efforts and providing prompt solutions, which enhances customer satisfaction and ensures customer loyalty. In this way,both acquisition and retention costs reduce to a considerable extent

  • Integration
    CRM integrates all the applications, processes and interfaces to aim at superior customer services and solutions. By making the flow of data seamless and allowing applications to talk to each other, customer information can be churned properly to produce better and faster results.

  • Growth and Improvement      
    CRM systems can generate reports and metric based on data using advanced intelligent methods to help know how the business is doing and where it needs improvement or which processes to be streamlined. The system indicates actionable items for creating a niche customer base.

    Almost all businesses today have deployed a CRM system to support their business growth and diversification. According to Gartner Press Release, February 2014, CRM software revenue is likely to touch $24 billion by 2014, which is proof enough of its growing popularity and usability.

Do Small and Medium Businesses Need CRM?

CRM as a customer service tool was earlier considered a luxury only that large enterprises could afford. However,with cloud technology spreading its wings around, it has become much easier for small and medium companies to leverage the benefits of CRM. Having a valued CRM system can speed up their sales considerably and give them faster results. Irrespective of which CRM system is implemented, it can bring a number of benefits for small and medium sized organizations.

  • Client Management
    A good CRM system gives visibility to the customer base and encapsulated customer information can be utilized for utilized to formulate long-term profitability plans.

  • Profitability Tracking
    CRM system enables speedy book-keeping for these small firms so that they can track revenue at each step.This helps them move up effectively in the corporate value chain.

  • Automation
    Moving to an automated system from a manual system helps small businesses to utilize their workforce productively in other important business processes.

  • Sales Strategy
    Small businesses can use the data available from CRM to target the right segment of customer and will waste time and resources in the wrong way.

  • Better Customer Service
    Using a CRM system enables employees to serve customers better and prevent wastage of time from repeated iterations.

    CRM is one of the growing needs of businesses today and companies are ready to pay for the application according to their needs. The Marketing Budget Survey Report 2014, published by Econsultancy in association with Responsys, indicated that around 49% of surveyed companies are planning to invest in CRM as their major technological investment which is 4% higher than the figure last year.

Features of a Good CRM

  • The CRM should be able to seamlessly integrate with other business applications and processes of your    organization.
  • It should facilitate easy management and retrieval on customer contacts by their name or company.
  • It should allow the employees to punch in and access entire customer information from anywhere.
  • It should be able to generate analytical reports to track the growth chart and employee performance.

How to Choose the Right CRM?

Whether you want to implement a hosted or licensed CRM really depends on the size and nature of your business.Hence before investing in CRM system, you should consider following factors:

  • Cost: Business should understand the cost vs return tradeoff before purchasing a CRM system. Small       businesses can opt for a simpler one rather than a high-end system.
  • Business Objectives: A CRM system should match the business objectives and needs rather than a generalist       one. businesses can opt for a simpler one rather than a high-end system.

  • Scalability: The purchased software should be able to grow with your business in future and employees      should have the expertise to operate the same. It should be easier to just integrate a new system into the      existing one in case the business grows in a specific way. It should be easier for the company to train their      employees on the purchased application.Businesses can opt for a simpler one rather than a high-end system.
  • Vendor Reputation: Companies should try to purchase the best in the industry system but within their       budget.Businesses can opt for a simpler one rather than a high-end system.

CRM as a customer service tool was earlier considered a luxury only that large enterprises could afford. However,with cloud technology spreading its wings around, it has become much easier for small and medium companies to leverage the benefits of CRM. Having a valued CRM system can speed up their sales considerably and give them faster results. Irrespective of which CRM system is implemented, it can bring a number of benefits for small and medium sized organizations.