In my 10 or more years in the IT/CRM space, I have come across many businesses from various industry verticals. However, all of them have the same business needs no matter which industry they are from. I have compiled the Top 10 needs of most businesses and will explain how a CRM strategy and implementation can fulfill this wishlist. Here we go!
1. “I want a central place to store all my customer contact info and interactions (appointments, emails, tasks, etc). I currently have to rummage through Outlook emails and countless Excel sheets. I want info to be accurate and not have duplicates.”
A CRM solution captures all your prospects and client information in a central place (usually accessible from a web browser or any mobile device). You can integrate your Outlook tasks, contacts and Calendar (if need be) and also capture all your incoming and outgoing client emails so its all accessible from one place. Most CRM systems alow you to import your data through excel CSV files and even have a duplicate checking function so you can clean up your data quickly and easily.
2.“I want customer demographics info at my fingertips. E.g. I may want to send a promotion to all my customers who are in the Tourism industry and live on a certain street in the central business district.”
If you have your data in excel sheets and Outlook it may be difficult to find specific client or prospect information to carry out targeted marketing. A CRM solution can give you this information a the push of a button with it’s powerful search and querying facilities.
3. “I want to keep track of customer purchases, know who my repeat customers are and which products /services they purchased.”
A CRM solution is very flexible and can be integrated with other solutions such as a shopping cart on your website or accounting software. This allows you to capture information from various sources but have all your customer data in sync and up to date. Knowing who my repeat customers are and which products or services are selling best is very powerful market intelligence which can help me identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
4. “I want to track enquiries and make sure they have been attended to promptly. If I am sick or my staff changes, the business should continue running as per normal – all customer info and interactions should be accessible by the people taking over.”
This is a major gripe with most businesses where all client information and interactions are stored in separate systems. A CRM system has information on all customer (or potential customer) calls, meetings, proposals, quotes etc in a central location which can be accessed by the appropriate staff members with permission.
5.“I am doing a lot of things manually in my business like preparing quotes, and tracking and sending follow-up emails. I would love to have some of these tasks automated.”
I really get thrilled when I can help my clients save their precious time by automating everyday manual tasks such as event management, preparation of quotes, follow up emails and reminders etc through a CRM system. A lot of solutions have ‘workflows’ which can be configured to automate a lot of tasks that you normally would have to do manually.
There are even more wonderful things a CRM solution can do for you. So stay tuned for Part II.
Dr Vish Ramakonar – CRM Consultant/Analyst
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