Using CRM Software to Increase Sales


How CRM can help you plan, achieve and manage your sales better

No sales, no business. It’s as simple as that. Finding new leads, negotiation, customer acquisition, post-sales support and sales planning are all too important to leave to chance. Using the appropriate customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you make the most of your customer data and help your salespeople do better. Even in very small companies, using CRM software to coordinate sales can bring big dividends.

How can CRM help the sales function?

  • Customer Data in one place. Sales teams spend too much time putting together customer data stored in different locations. CRM software lets people access data on customers’ past purchases, behaviour, preferences, usage as well as demographic and contact information quickly. Regularly updating this data ensures that sales teams do not have to scramble for information at the last-minute before a call or a meeting.
  • Qualifying Leads. Not every lead converts into a sale. So the question is: how do you improve the ratio? CRM software can track past performance and identify metrics, for example, past purchase value or demographic indicators such as income or age, that indicate which leads are ‘hot’ and which are not. This allows you to devote more attention to the best opportunities.
  • Cross-Selling. With better and more updated knowledge of customer behavior and preferences, salespeople have a higher chance of re-selling or up-selling to existing customers.
  • Manage Cash Flow. All businesses and especially small- to mid-sized ones find predicting and managing cash flow one of their biggest challenges. Using CRM software gives businesses a clearer picture of the sales pipeline. How many leads exist? Which are likely to convert to a sale? CRM helps you answer these questions.
  • Team Management. You can more easily track your team’s activities. CRM lets you see who is performing well and who needs help. It can also simplify bonus calculations by giving detailed reports on sales. More importantly, because everyone has access to the same data, teams can avoid mistakes, oversights and delays.
  • Future Planning. Modern CRM systems provide for detailed reporting, including the ability to link sales results with different inputs such as campaign spends, customer research scores or sales staff employed. This can help businesses analyse the cause of both success and failure, and plan better for future rounds of sales activity.




5 Ways to Measure Social Media Customer Service

As with any marketing and/or social media effort, it’s critical to set your objectives and create related metrics to assess your success. Here are five metrics to help you monitor integrating social media into your customer service delivery.

  1. Number of interactions. Track the number of fans and followers. Bear in mind you may need to entice consumers with special deals and bonuses. Additionally, understand how each platform works and how to be part of the community, or your actions will backfire.
  2. Number of issues identified and responded to. In addition to participating in the conversation on your website and tailored company outposts like Twitter and Facebook, use brand monitoring tools to find and reply to consumer issues.
  3. Content creation. Track the amount of content that users contribute in terms of ratings and reviews, social media interactions, photographs, videos, and other formats.
  4. Sales. Measure sales related to your social media customer service efforts. Have they contributed to your overall sales? Are these efforts helping customers decide what to purchase and do they contribute in a positive way to your brand association and company revenues?
  5. Customer service resources. Consider these three important elements. Are you reducing customer service inquiries via other channels? Social media translates to a lower cost channel in many cases. Are you allocating customer service headcount appropriately? Do you have enough people assigned to each channel? Also, monitor for increased usage as this channel becomes more efficient. People who didn’t want to deal with customer service may do so on social media.

A good CRM solution can enable you to track these metrics by allowing you to:

  1. Create  custom fields in your customer’s profile to capture their usernames/profile  in Linkedin Facebook, Twitter etc.  You can then update  and keep track of interactions with your customers in your CRM system.
  2. You may also set up a link within your CRM system to a social media monitoring tool such as Social Mention to monitor your brand name, product or service.
  3. By creating a Marketing Campaign linked to your Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter page, you can track how many Potentials Sales/Opportunities came  from these Social Media tools.

Social media has changed how consumers and companies view customer service. Now, customer service fulfills a variety of different functions including enhancing your marketing. Is your firm ready to meet these new opportunities?


Why have a customer portal that is integrated with my CRM application??

As discussed in previous articles,

CRM is about acquiring and retaining customers, improving customer  loyalty, gaining customer insight, and implementing customer-focused strategies. A true customer-centric enterprise helps your company drive new growth, maintain competitive agility, and attain operational excellence. “SAP

Before engaging with the customers, we should have some basic and general behaviours of our customers. I.e their age group, what generation category they fall into. Knowing some of this basic information like something along demographics….

  • How old are they?
  • What gender are they?
  • Where do they live?,

By understanding the demographics, the nature and buying behavior of the generation of buyers who will be our customers, the business will realize the increasing importance to use more technological savvy modes of marketing and communication.

The customers will be increasingly from the current Generation Y group. A brief explanation of the 3 major Generations will be discussed shortly.

born between 1946 – 1965 – The baby Boomers

born between 1966 – 1982 –  Generation X

born between 1983 – date – Generation Y

Baby Boom Generation is a term that portrays the people born during the middle part of the 20th century. The birth years of the Baby Boom Generation are the subject of controversy. Historically, everyone born during the post–World War II demographic boom in births was called part of the Baby Boom Generation.[1][2]

One of the features of Boomers is that they tend to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In fact, the Baby Boom Generation is often tagged “The Me Generation”. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.[5] This rhetoric had an important impact in the self perceptions of the boomers, as well as their tendency to define the world in terms of generations.

Generation X was coined by the Magnum photographer Robert Capa in the early 1950s. He would use it later as a title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately after the Second World War. The project first appeared in “Picture Post” (UK) and “Holiday” (USA) in 1953. Describing his intention, Capa said ‘We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with’.[7] Author John Ulrich explains that, “Since then, “Generation X” has always signified a group of young people, seemingly without identity, who face an uncertain, ill-defined (and perhaps hostile) future. Subsequent appearances of the term in the mid-1960s and mid-1970s narrowed the referent for “Generation X” from Capa’s global generation to specific sets of primarily white, male, working class British youth sub-cultures, from the spiffy mods and their rivals the rockers, to the more overtly negationist punk subculture.” [6]

The term was used in a 1964 study of British youth by Jane Deverson. Deverson was asked by Woman’s Own magazine to interview teenagers of the time. The study revealed a generation of teenagers who “sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as ‘much’, dislike the Queen, and don’t respect parents.” Because of these controversial findings, the piece was deemed unsuitable for the magazine. Deverson, in an attempt to save her research, worked with Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett to create a book about the study. Hamblett decided to name it Generation X.[8]

The term was popularized by Canadian author Douglas Coupland‘s 1991 novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, concerning young adults during the late 1980s and their lifestyles. While Coupland’s book helped to popularize the phrase “Generation X,” in a 1989 magazine article[9] he erroneously attributed the term to English musician Billy Idol. In fact, Idol had been a member of the punk band Generation X from 1976–1981, which was named after Deverson and Hamblett’s 1965 sociology book—a copy of which was owned by Idol’s mother.[10]

In the U.S. Generation X was originally referred to as the “baby bust” generation because of the drop in the birth rate following the baby boom.[11]

Often defined as those born from 1982-2000, Generation Y’ers are growing up, and therefore becoming increasingly important in world affairs.

Gen Y is growing up. The oldest of the generation are now 26. They’re beginning to take to the workplace. As a result, a plethora of articles has turned up in business magazines worldwide, suggesting creative ways for employers to deal with this new, seemingly odd, generation. This article looks at who they are and why they matter.

This young generation is the first native online population. This alone has set the tone for how they act, react, and see the world. They are vastly different from their parent’s generation.

Ninety percent of Gen Y’ers in the US own a PC, while 82 percent own a mobile. And, perhaps not surprisingly, they spend more time online than they do watching TV.

Characteristics of Generation Y

They have grown up engaging with the Internet. This had led to their expectation of being able to obtain information at exceedingly rapid speeds.

Gen Y is also known for caring about the world and its problems, forming a large part of the worldwide Green movement.

Generation Y numbers is smaller than Generation X, or those born between 1961 to 1981. There are 78 million Gen Yers in the world. They make up about 25 percent of the US population. In some countries (ex. Iran), this percentage is much higher.

Understanding that our customers are more tech savvy, and internet depended, it is only logical to find ways and means to engage your customers through the internet, by implementing a customer portal that is integrated to your CRM application.

With a customer portal, your customers can get service on their own, 24 hours a day. They’ll get case updates and search the knowledge base, all without picking up the phone. Your customers and agents can even interact in ideas and answers communities. You’ll see loyalty go up while your service costs go down.

With a customer portal, your customers can log cases and get updates 24×7. All via an easy, user-friendly GUI and applications that can be run on mobile phones; all the methods which the current Generation is familiar and comfortable with.  The result: higher customer satisfaction at a lower cost.

Your business can grow by Connecting with Customers and Vendors through a Customer Portal.

A customer portal is a private, secure Website that enables businesses to share documents, calendars, and project information with customers. Commonly known as a customer extranet, a customer portal enhances customer relationships by providing complete 24×7 access to collaborative tools with just an Internet connection. It makes excellent business sense to use the customer portal as a means of getting and dissemination information to the customers, especially now that we have a better understanding of our customers.

Through a portal that is integrated to the CRM, a customer can raise tickets, view the solutions, check the products and services provided by the business, look up the FAQ to get their information, even chat online with the CSR. The customer can also update their personal information online, so its all done at their own pace and own time, you reduce the time and cost incurred to hiring people to telemarket and call customers, lets face many people, you and I included hate getting calls from telemarketers, this is a perfect solution for this.

This current generation of customers expect access to the most reliable, accurate, and up-to-date information. A customer portal provides a cost-effective solution without the anxieties and costs inherent with supporting complex virtual private networks (VPN). Provide each customer with access to an online portal to share important project documents, schedules, billing notices, and much more.