Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is still extremely important to any business that has anything more than one contact, and where business success needs accurate and consistent data about your customers,  prospects, contacts, teams, suppliers and vendors.

However, to be successful your CRM needs executive sponsorship, and a buy in across your business teams from sales, marketing, product, commerce and customer service.  Additionally, a CRM alone will not just work.  You will need to ensure that there are processes in place to ensure data quality is maintained by everyone and the maintainable of good data practices should be built into your internal training plans and rewarded in your appraisal processes. 

What started as a replacement for what used to be a rolodex has become the repository of the “Crown Jewels” for any successful business.  A good CRM implementation provides a single customer view and consistent reporting across your business.  As well managing your contacts, customers and prospects, todays CRM solutions provide many more features which we discuss in this article. 

Here are 5 CRM features that are essential for your business 

  1. Omnichannel communications
    Todays CRM tools provide omnichannel features so you can communicate with your customers on their terms and using their communication method of choice.  A CRM should support the obvious: phone calls, email and chat but also be able to support newer comms methods including WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and twitter.    
  2. A single version of the truth
    You can share information across your business identifying sales success, marketing metrics, product issues and become a much more informed and dynamic business reacting to changes and market fluctuations.  With all of your teams “trusting” this single version of the truth they can work together and you can automate processes to trigger any actions based on data changes. This can include product being notified of product issues, sales teams being advised of marketing offers and triggers using built in AI to identify “next best action”.

    Your CRM can store all of your customer communications so that you have a record of every customer conversation so that any team in your business has a consistent customer view.  With connected marketing you can also automate your marketing with follow up actions and further offers based on a customers marketing communications (marcoms) interactions whilst also providing your customers with a personalised experience.  

  3. Consistent reporting
    Once you have all of your data in your CRM you can the ensure that your reporting is consistent and provide meaningful reports and dashboards informing your teams on how the business is performing.  No need to run complex spreadsheets where errors can be deeply embedded in an incorrect formula, to report on your business.
  4. Collaboration
    Todays CRM platforms are built around collaboration.  They tend to be “open” in that one team or individual can chat (message) another team or individual using built in chat tools within each record and within your reports and dashboards.  You can automatically post dashboards and reports into your chat and add a narrative to them to explain any anomalies or simply send some praise to another colleague or team.

    Collaboration can be used in real time and so your call centre or online using chat, can request help from one of your teams to advise the customer there and then.  With Social Media becoming the norm the need for instant gratification and information can be provided to your teams and customers.

  5. API-first
    The goal of API-first is to provide a set of modular, interoperable APIs which, when combined creates a platform that fosters innovation and makes your data accessible across your systems.  Todays CRM solutions provide an open API capability whereby you can connect your CRM to other key business solutions.  For example, integrating a customer portal and your ecommerce to your customer and product data.

In summary a well implemented CRM can be at the heart of your business, providing your teams with the right information at all of the touch points they need it.  The data will be consistent and the CRM can support a customer first business and a collaborative work team.

 

There are many more benefits of implementing a good SaaS-based CRM platform not least an ability to work from anywhere but that’s something for a future article.

 

Please get in contact so we can start a conversation on how your CRM can work for your business.  

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