Sales Force Automation (SFA) used to be the primary tool for salespeople. It helped organisations to manage and support their sales representatives, and it generally consisted of contact management, opportunity management and pipeline management. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) arguably evolved from it, but with some differences.
CRM concentrates on using data to create a 360 degree view of potential and existing customers. The purpose of this data-driven insight is to enable organisations to develop new offerings, to retain them and to inspire loyalty by encouraging customers to buy more of the same or related products and services.
Time showed the need for a higher degree of integration, co-operation and customer data-sharing between Sales and Marketing – thus improving the ability of marketing to segment customers, to develop new products and services, and to develop new marketing and communications channels. This integration also enables sales to increase its performance through cross-selling and up-selling propositions based on a single view of each customer.
Modern CRM systems
Modern CRM systems are increasingly about how to use big data analytics to gain a deeper level of customer insight than was possible a decade ago. To earn customer loyalty, organisations have to learn about customers’ habits through an increasing array of channels: the web, mobile, email, social media, e-commerce, contact centres and through bricks and mortar outlets.
Are your teams CRM-ready?
One of the traditional reasons why CRM fails, falls down to resistance from those that are going to use a modern CRM system. People and process design come before any successful implementation. Effective communication about the benefits of modern CRM systems, training and the development of a new collaborative culture are essential before the technology can be used effectively.
The benefits of a modern CRM system include…
- Easy access to lead intelligence for sales from one location and in a way to enable sales and marketing to share customer insight – including customers’ transactional histories.
- Better sales and marketing alignment by applying and sharing metrics to show how each function is performing. This information can be used to develop new sales and marketing strategies, and realistic goals and objectives that have to be:
- Help Sales prioritise its pipeline through segmentation – say for example into key accounts (highest value customers) – and by making customer trends more visible. This can enable salespeople to target customers more effectively.
- Closed-loop reporting lets marketers improve their marketing campaigns. By sharing sales and campaign data marketers can determine which campaigns are most successful and look for insight as to why they are achieving their goals and objectives.
- The automation of simple, repetitive tasks and processes. These tasks and processes may be administrative, transactional, or related to specific activities such as e-commerce, inbound contact centre management, etc.
- Improved campaign and project management because a number of modern CRM systems employ a dashboard to make the metrics associated with a project or campaign more transparent and as available in real-time as possible to enable better decision-making. Campaigns and projects often need tweaking. Dashboards make this possible.
- With a modern CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM it becomes possible for Sales and Marketing to see each other as partners.
- To achieve this collaboration there needs to be a high level of systems integration across all of an organisation’s functions – not just between Sales and Marketing, but also with finance and logistics for example.
- Together these departments can become even more profitable than if they were to maintain a culture of us and them. Modern CRM systems make this possible.