What exactly is Customer Relationship Management or CRM?
You can ask this question to a dozen experts and they are all likely to give you a different answer. The important thing is to understand the benefits that your own organisation can enjoy by adopting a CRM strategy and this is where the team at Prior Analytics can help you.
Historically, the meaning of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has evolved in the seventeen years that Prior have been helping organisations to deploy CRM best practice. The term now encompasses all the aspects of communication and interaction that an organisation has with its customers and stakeholders. These may be internal or external and product or service related. Specifically, the CRM function typically encompasses the following key business areas:
This is the traditional well-known CRM function. Prospect, customer and supplier data can all be easily consolidated into one convenient location to enable sales, marketing, and service teams to view consistent information and gain a holistic view. Daily activity management, calendaring and Outlook integration enable all users to manage day to day communications and see a complete history of what has been said, to whom and when.
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Sales Opportunity and Forecast management
A well-conceived CRM system will empower salespeople and their managers to maintain a consistent sales process and to view ‘real time’ information about the status, source and potential value of any Opportunity within the sales pipeline.Accurate forecasts allow managers to understand the potential value of sales and their likely closure times and keep the sales team focused on reaching their targets.
Marketing and Leads Management
arketing automation is a key feature of CRM and should include the ability to create, deliver and measure campaigns based on targetted subsets of data via multichannels – e.g. – email, direct mail, telemarketing and links to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Lead management features should be able to track and measure the number of leads generated by the various campaigns and track sales for closed loop reporting.
This is a more recent development in the CRM arena. An effective Knowledge Management Tool allows users to locate, capture and share vital information which improves staff productivity, elimates time taken searching for disparate documents and, ulitmately, leads to improved customer service and cost savings.
Customer Service and Case Management
Service is at the heart of the CRM ethos and an effective system should enable users to quickly capture, track, resolve and report upon all service requests received from customers through to resolution. The system should use workflow to deliver requests to the apporpriate skill sets, manage escalations and alert managers to any potential breaches of service level by the use of Dashboards, alerts and reports.
During challenging economic times, CRM is all the more focussed on profitability and return on investment and the goal is to retain customers profitably for the long term by selling to them more effectively. In this context, CRM can be viewed as the process of building partnerships with customers and includes strategic planning, technology, targetted marketing techniques and internal business processes. CRM closes the loop between sales and marketing, customer service, support and finance to build a relationship that adds to revenue margins and boosts productivity.
It is important to understand the difference between a CRM strategy and a CRM solution. For example, a CRM strategy may have the following objectives:
- Increased sales through better timing due to anticipating needs based on historic trends.
- Identifying needs more effectively by understanding specific customer requirements.
- Cross-selling of other products and services by highlighting and suggesting alternatives or enhancements.
- Effective targeted marketing communications aimed specifically at customer needs
- Increasing value from existing customers and reducing the cost associated with supporting and servicing them.
- Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention.
The CRM solution - product plus implementation - is deployed to help fulfil the objectives of the CRM strategy so the correct choice is vital. Whilst the technology involved is a key consideration, the selection of the right partner to advise and deploy it will, ultimately, have the greatest impact upon the outcome of the project. End-users need to be consulted and involved with strong management support and training to ensure adoption and the solution needs to be delivered on time and within budget.
To discuss your requirements further contact us on 0845 6588 121 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org