Everyone knows that “The customer is always right.” However, in a lot of businesses, there are two big difficulties with this piece of wisdom: They don’t know quite who their customers are and they may not have a good feel for what the customer wants or thinks. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions offer a way to stay in touch with customers and keep them engaged for ongoing revenue growth.
These solutions, which started out as glorified digital rolodexes, now enable highly sophisticated sales forecasting capabilities, customer support, and marketing management. They also integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions—potentially giving everyone in the business a clear picture of the customer at any given point in time. With that in mind, here are 7 benefits of adopting CRM, especially when it’s integrated with ERP:
1. Improve customer relationships
This sounds pretty basic, but it’s one of the most important elements of a growing business. CRM gives your team the tools to be in touch with key accounts and stay engaged with them as their needs evolve. With CRM, you can instantly get a complete view of the customer, including proposals and orders in progress, new leads within accounts, customer service history and more.
2. Manage sales more effectively
CRM gives sales managers a total overview of customer accounts. Sales reps can use the CRM solution to create opportunities and build sales forecasts, one customer at a time. CRM creates accountability in the sales team, with the potential to drive revenue growth.
3. Understand the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
CRM solutions usually have marketing campaign execution capabilities, though in many cases, separate marketing systems integrate into CRM. Either way, marketing and sales managers can use CRM to track which marketing initiatives are creating sales prospects. And, of these prospects, which become accounts. Thus, CRM offers a way to show Return on Investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns. It measure how well marketing money is being spent.
4. Establish and maintain customer master data
Customer data, especially for accounts with multiple locations and contacts, can easily get disaggregated. With duplicates and missing data, customer data management and communication suffers. CRM gives your company a standard master data record for each customer.
5. Grow sales with quote-to-order capabilities
CRM, when connected to ERP and outfitted with quote-to-order functionality, lets all relevant stakeholders in the sales and order delivery process to know exactly how a particular customer relationship is doing with regard to orders. You can also keep customers in the loop on issues with quotes, e.g. delays in the supply chain that might affect an order.
6. Get better at upselling and cross-selling
With CRM, sales team members can be given suggestions on cross-sell and upsell, e.g. adding a service contract to sale of a product. Sales managers can also then track how well reps are doing at cross-sell and upselling.
7. Deliver better customer service
The customer support module is often activated when companies deploy CRM. Doing so provides mutual visibility between sales and support, which can be helpful in maintaining good customer relationships. For example, if customer support gets a seemingly minor issue from a customer, they can see on CRM that it’s a multi-million dollar account, so it deserves a high priority. Or, if a sales rep is calling on an account, he or she can use CRM to see existing support tickets.
We have worked with many companies on the implementation of CRM solutions, both on a standalone basis and as part of an extended ERP system. To learn more about CRM or see a demo, please visit our CRM page.