10 Hosted CRM Features That Will Help You Build Customer Loyalty

How to improve close rates and average deal size with the right CRM solution and features.

Hosted CRM solutions are not all created equal. Some cater to a company’s sales force automation needs, while others focus on marketing campaigns and forecasting. There are vendors that offer both hosted and on-premise CRM tools, and those whose bread and butter is strictly delivering on-demand offerings. But regardless of a solution provider’s area of expertise, all of today’s CRM solutions should include the following features:

  1. Lead Management: Lost revenue is often a result of allowing prospects to fall through the cracks. With lead management, however, every lead is promptly routed to the right salesperson. What’s more, leads can be tracked and managed through the entire sales cycle, from initial identification to final sale.
  2. Feedback Management: By capturing customer feedback across all channels of communication, salespeople can capture a better understanding of the needs, wants and buying patterns of their customers. Furthermore, armed with feedback from countless touch points, a company can establish the processes required to deliver an optimum customer experience.
  3. Order Management: When more than one department plays a part in processing an order, the margin for human error grows, as does the mound of paperwork. With order management, however, quotes are easily converted to orders, modified and saved in a single system.
  4. Territory Management: Keep your sales reps from stepping on each others’ toes with territory management, which easily creates sales territories and manages territory-based processes with workflow rules and reports.
  5. Email Management: One surefire way to anger your customers is by failing to respond to their emails. These days, email correspondence is used to log complaints, issue requests and offer feedback. Fortunately, email management can chronicle customer-related communications with automated tracking of customer emails. As a result, emails can be responded to in a timely fashion, and end users can establish alerts if a message has not been handled within a predetermined time frame
  6. Contact Management: When it comes to staying on top of your customers, Microsoft Outlook is simply not enough. That’s why most CRM solutions include a contact-management component to provide employees with a complete, 360-degree view of their customers. Sales reps can view all contact and account information, as well as a customer’s purchasing history, from a central location. And reps can better manage their to-do lists by establishing alerts notifying them of upcoming tasks and events so that each customer is treated in an individual manner.
  7. Reporting: From standard templates to heavily customized documents, CRM tools can generate detailed reports featuring contact information, opportunity pipeline information, lead-status analyses and specific customer case studies. In the end, these reports are an ideal way to organize a company’s collection of customer information and insights.
  8. Opportunity Management and Forecasting: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Opportunity management and forecasting provides a complete view of the sales and production pipeline so that businesses can accurately and quickly handle the orders they’re generating.
  9. Marketing Campaign Analysis: How do you know if you’re getting the bang for the buck you’ve invested in a marketing campaign? CRM solutions can help monitor and analyze your advertising efforts, from trade shows to direct mail, so that every marketing dollar spent is spent wisely.
  10. Marketing Revenue Tracking: So positive customer feedback isn’t enough to convince upper-management that a costly marketing campaign produced results? With marketing revenue tracking, a company can identify the marketing activities that generate the most sales revenue by directly linking every sales dollar back to its related campaign.

Reference: http://www.insidecrm.com
photo credit: aolin via photopin cc

 

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.

Ref: http://h41112.www4.hp.com/promo/obc/uk/en/business-it-advice/increase-your-sales/using-crm-software-to-increase-sales.html

 

2012 Trend….Implementing, using a CRM application as a business strategy

Increase your sales through CRM

CRM seeks to re-create the position where you know your customer and understand what makes them tick. It uses the recent developments in software that allow mapping of complex transactions and relationships to give a holistic picture of a customer and, in theory, gives the client the same level of service through a range of possible channels.

Magic Johnson sums it up, “With businesses, you go to the same places because you like the service, you like the people and they take care of you. They greet you with a smile. That’s how people want to be treated, with respect. That’s what I tell my employees.. Customer service is very important.”

Peter Drucker drives it home, “The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.”

So what must my CRM application have???

  • Sales force automation

Sales force automation (SFA) involves using software to streamline all phases of the sales process, minimizing the time that sales representatives need to spend on each phase. This allows sales representatives to pursue more clients in a shorter amount of time than would otherwise be possible. At the heart of SFA is a contact management system for tracking and recording every stage in the sales process for each prospective client, from initial contact to final disposition. Many SFA applications also include insights into opportunities, territories, sales forecasts and workflow automation, quote generation, and product knowledge.

  • Marketing

CRM systems for marketing help the enterprise identify and target potential clients and generate leads for the sales team. A key marketing capability is tracking and measuring multichannel campaigns, including email, search, social media, telephone and direct mail. Metrics monitored include clicks, responses, leads, deals, and revenue. This has been superseded by marketing automation and Prospect Relationship Management (PRM) solutions which track customer behaviour and nurture them from first contact to sale, often cutting out the active sales process altogether.

  • Customer service and support

Recognizing that service is an important factor in attracting and retaining customers, organizations are increasingly turning to technology to help them improve their clients’ experience while aiming to increase efficiency and minimize costs. Even so, a 2009 study revealed that only 39% of corporate executives believe their employees have the right tools and authority to solve client problems.

  • Analytics

Relevant analytics capabilities are often interwoven into applications for sales, marketing, and service. These features can be complemented and augmented with links to separate, purpose-built applications for analytics and business intelligence. Sales analytics let companies monitor and understand client actions and preferences, through sales forecasting and data quality.

Marketing applications generally come with predictive analytics to improve segmentation and targeting, and features for measuring the effectiveness of online, offline, and search marketing campaign. Web analytics have evolved significantly from their starting point of merely tracking mouse clicks on Web sites. By evaluating “buy signals,” marketers can see which prospects are most likely to transact and identify those who are bogged down in a sales process and need assistance. Marketing and finance personnel also use analytics to assess the value of multi-faceted programs as a whole.

These types of analytics are increasing in popularity as companies demand greater visibility into the performance of call centers and other service and support channels, in order to correct problems before they affect satisfaction levels. Support-focused applications typically include dashboards similar to those for sales, plus capabilities to measure and analyze response times, service quality, agent performance, and the frequency of various issues.

  • Integrated/Collaborative

Departments within enterprises — especially large enterprises — tend to function with little collaboration.  More recently, the development and adoption of these tools and services have fostered greater fluidity and cooperation among sales, service, and marketing. This finds expression in the concept of collaborative systems which uses technology to build bridges between departments. For example, feedback from a technical support center can enlighten marketers about specific services and product features clients are asking for. Reps, in their turn, want to be able to pursue these opportunities without the burden of re-entering records and contact data into a separate SFA system.

For  any type of business, basic client service can be accomplished by a contact manager system: an integrated solution that lets organizations and individuals efficiently track and record interactions, including emails, documents, jobs, faxes, scheduling, and more.

These tools usually focus on accounts rather than on individual contacts. They also generally include opportunity insight for tracking sales pipelines plus added functionality for marketing and service.

  • Social media

Social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are amplifying the voice of people in the marketplace and are having profound and far-reaching effects on the ways in which people make purchases. Customers can now research companies online and then ask for recommendations through social media channels, making their buying decision without contacting the company.

People also use social media to share opinions and experiences on companies, products and services. As social media is not as widely moderated or censored as mainstream media, individuals can say anything they want about a company or brand, positive or negative.

Increasingly, companies are looking to gain access to these conversations and take part in the dialogue. More than a few systems are now integrating to social networking sites. Social media promoters cite a number of business advantages, such as using online communities as a source of high-quality leads and a vehicle for crowd sourcing solutions to client-support problems.

Companies can also leverage client stated habits and preferences to “hyper-target” their sales and marketing communications.

Having a CRM application with the above mentioned features will not be enough and give the business overnight customer satisfaction for all its customers.

The business from its top management, all departments, and the front end staff need to use the application, need to be trained to use the application to improve their ability to keep the customer happy.