CRM – Fashionable If You Know How
CRM is just a system. Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS) comes in many formats and services attached to it. In some companies CRMS is used to store customer contacts, purchase records, sales amount (current and lifetime) and administrative reports. Some CRMS come with additional marketing tools such as email marketing, analytics and trackings (and charts), buying patterns and newsletter facility. And some complicated ones come with end to end order fulfilment to customer support. All in one. Nonetheless the objective is the same; to know and assist customer relationship.
Although not many companies buy the idea of CRMS, if your company already in the business for more than 5 years, CRMS will pay-off quite handsomely. Choose basic CRMS and you will see how it is quite useful to centralize your contacts and customers data. Basic CRMS cost is within RM15k-RM25k. One of my clients recently bought a basic CRM around that price after close to 20 years in business. This is tedious because as I say CRMS is only a tool thus you need information for it to benefit and remember; garbage in garbage out. Putting balkanized data should be resisted although the tendency to have strong ‘back up’ is always there.
For nascent company or start-up, CRMS is waste of money because you don’t really have anything to digest from the system. Assuming you already been in the business for 8 years and thinking of owning a CRMS, here are some of the business benefits. Business benefits mean the outcome that you are likely to get for you to generate better revenues and give you economic benefits. And being fashionable is not one of it.
Some of the business benefits of using CRMS:
a. Customers profile:
Customers are important for any business. Say you have a number of sales people, how do you ensure they follow up on the right customers? How do you track their customers list? Well, I can go on and on. Salespeople have so many things to do especially reports and not many of them well organize. They may overlook some of the important clients in the expense of immediate business of current clients. Even you as business owner for that matter.
Therefore having CRMS you will be able to see and centralize all customers profile where you can roughly know who else do you need to see and introduce your company. In CRMS you will also be able to see what are the existing clients purchases.
b. Buying patterns.
We all know sales cycle and buying cycle, but we hardly track them. From CRMS you will be able to see some patterns from specific customer or industry. Buying pattern is helpful for you to stock up certain items at particular time or offer other than ‘the usual’ to the same customers. You can also take the opportunity to introduce new product or service and they can become your early adopters.
Besides, you will also be able to see sales volume of this customer. Additionally you can also analyse pricing point and discount with certain customer. Do you know different industry reacts differently to same product and price? The same logic applies to different companies. Knowing this information is good to increase profitability and adjust customer service.
c. Marketing campaign
In marketing management, the hardest to do is timing. Right timing harness the best result and wrong timing can costs unwanted wastage. Using CRMS will help you time your marketing campaigns better. For example when you see in your CRMS that customers are buying X product more during end of the year, you can increase consumption with bulk purchase, pair up with other slow moving products, increase price reasonably, increase appeal to new customers and so on.
You can also improve your tactical campaigns because you have the sales data and customers profile. Developing close to reality marketing plan has always been a challenge for many companies. But with CRMS your marketing campaign is more targeted.
d. Managing risk
Even though risk here not involving those investment risk, it helps to note that if you can minimize risk of stocking unwanted items and optimize your supply during peak period to reap the most benefit, CRMS certainly can solve some of this (sometimes perennial) problem. Moreover with CRMS you will be able to touch base to some ‘old clients’ that you may have overlooked for various reasons. You probably have heard that ‘old customers’ are still the best to touch base.
e. Performance review
Another subtle benefit of CRMS is the ability to constantly check your team performance. You want to know how many new customers vs current customers sales, which industry gives you their attention now and how big is your sales pipeline. Left unchecked, you will soon realize you and team are busy, but hapless results.
These are just some of the benefits of CRMS. You know what, the problem with CRMS you can only gain these benefits if you analyse, massage and synthesize the data. If you just do nothing and hoping it to tell you something insightful you are unlikely to get it. It is worth to repeat that, ‘garbage in garbage out’. Please do something about it, because it is only fashionable if you know how.
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