Customer Relationship Management is a software that tracks every interaction you have with prospects and customers. A properly deployed CRM system is an immensely useful and robust tool that every sales team should have because it helps in building value for your brand. Different CRM delivery model options are:
1.On-Premise CRM – An on-premise CRM is a CRM system housed or kept locally at the workplace where it is required and used from. On-Premise CRM can be kept in a dedicated server room, or even in a closet. Generally, an on-premise solution requires the business to buy either a server or a computer that can act as a server. Installing CRM software on that server usually requires intervention from an in-house IT department.
On-Premise CRM systems can be easily integrated with your other systems. Most CRM vendors offer cost-effective flexible packages that are suitable for small and medium businesses (SMBs). They can often take a long time (months or even years) to implement fully. There are many CRM systems that are available for purchase off-the-shelf. These can then be tailored to your needs. Companies such as Siebel, Oracle, SAP, and Cordiant are well known in this area.
2.Cloud-Based CRM (On-Demand) – A cloud-based CRM system can be managed digitally by an offsite team of experts via the Internet. As on-demand CRM’s generally do not require software installation or an IT department for management purposes, they are also referred to as software as a service (SaaS). You just need to log in online and begin using it. Cloud-based CRM has real-time on the fly accessibility, and they can be accessed by anyone with login credentials and approved within the business to use it – even through handheld devices like smartphones and tabs.
3.Hosted CRM – It comprises of web-based applications for CRM with no software to download. In Hosted CRM, the CRM system resides online and you rent the service on a monthly basis. Examples include Sage Software, Microsoft Dynamics, Entellium, Clear C2, SAP, NetSuite, VanillaSoft. Hosted CRM is often and commercially viable option in the short run (monthly fees run from about $65 to $150) and appropriate for businesses with standard CRM needs. It requires little or no internal IT support and can be implemented quickly, often within a few months. The drawback with Hosted CRM is that it cannot easily be integrated with other back-office systems and 3rd party tools. And the fact that you have to trust and allow someone else to control your customer information and data, which can sometimes be sensitive or even classified.
4. Social CRM – A relatively new approach to CRM being used with increasing frequency is Social CRM. Social CRM leverages social listening and social publishing tools to engage and attract the right prospects and consumers. With Social CRM, brands can easily monitor conversations happening around their brand, products, and services across different touch points in the social media realm. Companies such as Vitrue, HootSuite, and HubSpot offer web-based applications to help you effectively publish content, monitor responses, eavesdrop on focused keywords and track brand mentions on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Social CRM can be a very effective CRM approach for your business as it considerably increases your reach and visibility, and helps identify the right touch points for immediate engagement with your customers and right prospects. As most brands use social networking sites like Twitter as an extension of their customer support hub, it presents an opportunity to solicit valuable feedback from your customers regarding products, services, and your brand. Social CRM can also be implemented quickly. Brands must align Social CRM with overall marketing strategy and brand management. Further, brands need to be extra careful as they usually have limited control over trolls and any negative feedback that may be posted about their brand, product or service. Also, implementing Social CRM requires social media knowledge or training.
Important factors while evaluating and procuring CRM software:
- Organizational goals and objectives to be achieved
- Roll-out and implementation timeline
- Pricing and add-ons
- Ease of use and support
- Email, mobile, and social features
- Marketing automation
- Integration with existing and third-party tools
- Reporting and analytics
- Level of information to be collected for actionable insights
- Data security
You must procure a CRM software when:
- You are unable to prioritize high-value prospects or customers. It’s a typical situation where you don’t know whom to cater first.
- You are unable to remember the last interaction you had with prospect or customer.
- Confusion, chaos and communication gap prevails across teams.
- You loose valuable customer-specific information and data whenever a critical resource or asset leaves the company.
- Different teams in your company are asking for a more streamlined workflow or tool to better manage customer relationships.
- Marketing is being blamed for losing key business prospects.
- People are unsubscribing and conversion rate is declining for unknown reasons.
Key areas for creating a successful CRM strategy are:
- Stakeholder buy-in – Identify how your brand can benefit from CRM. Perform competitive research to find out how your competitors are benefiting from CRM, so you can convince your senior management and stakeholders. Illustrate with analogies, case studies, and success stories to provide a point of reference for stakeholder-buy in and cohesiveness from those involved in the initiative. The trick is, you need to convince management that there is an immediate need to initiate CRM across your organization.
- Define vision – Clearly define a CRM vision addressing how organizational goals and objectives can be achieved with a well-deployed CRM system and identify the steps to achieve this vision, and monitor progress towards these goals. Establish quantitative and qualitative metrics and key performance indicators (KPA’s) for measuring the success of your CRM efforts and initiatives. Teams that drive the initiative should be composed of three key roles: a sponsor, facilitator and project/program manager.
- Situation analysis – Audit and analyze the performance of your past CRM efforts and initiatives. Solicit participation and feedback from participants and key stakeholders who were involved in CRM. Ask them what were the pain-points, nuances, teething issues that they faced while rolling out, deploying and implementing CRM. Try to find out what worked and what not. Take inputs on what changes they would like to make to the previously used CRM system and workflows. Ask them if they have any new features requests to be incorporated in CRM system. Further, notwithstanding the success or failure of past project executions, ensure that all project assumptions, business cases, and goals remain valid and are taken into account and recorded in CRM audit and assessment report. Make sure no shortcuts are taken in the process of information gathering. Information should first be gathered from external sources, and customer, consumer, and end-user feedback should be given highest weightage.
- Map the journey – The CRM strategy should be incorporated into the entire business model and aligned with strategies from other areas such as marketing and sales. Classify and align the customer’s key value proposition, goals, and objectives to your CRM strategy. Also, take note of all the factors that motivate your customers and drives brand loyalty and advocacy.
Further, revalue the company basis the potential of its customer base rather than revenue or profits. Develop processes, workflows, and systems that can be dynamically customized or altered in real-time as customers move or switch between segments. Establish 3-5 topline goals and objectives for CRM efforts and initiatives, and make sure they are well communicated to all involved stakeholders, sponsors and executives.
“The big benefit of CRM is the visibility of everything relating to customers going on in your company. If you want to provide a better service to your customer, you have to be able to manage everything from complaints to sales opportunities.
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