Meaning Of Customer Relationship Management and Sales Process
In the current competitive market conditions, companies are under great pressure to survive and stay afloat. They are adopting new marketing and business techniques in order to achieve their sales target. They are embracing technology like never before to catch up with the customer in the current fast paced environment. The recent trend across the globe indicates that implementation of CRM Software has become part and parcel of Sales Strategy of every business. The long list of success stories from business speak for the popularity of this particular category of software.
What is CRM?
CRM by general definition is an approach of company to manage its interaction with customers and prospective customers. The key to this approach is data analysis based on customers past history with the company. The objective here is to retain the customer in order to drive sales growth.
Sales Process :
Companies to sustain and reap benefits in the market need to sell a service or a product. The more the sale, the more the revenue generated. Hence, companies invest a lot of time, money and manpower in Sales process. Even though sales process may seem like a very simple process with steps that take sale from lead to closure, it is in fact a very complex process. Further, there are multiple factors that can influence the process of selling.
Sales CRM :
Sales CRM is a sales management software. As mentioned above, there are multiple factors that play a key role in the process of sales. A company has limited time, opportunity, manpower and capital to invest. Taking help of CRM, a company can optimize the usage of its limited resources and at the same time achieve its sales targets.
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Impact of CRM on Sales process:
In the current competitive market environment, business cannot think only for today. Their decisions should be based on data and the outcome of their decisions should address the needs for tomorrow, for next five years and possibly for the next decade. CRM applications facilitate managers to analyze the data from varied perspectives. The application allows its user to forecast trends taking into account customer behavior.
This helps business design successful strategies that could address the needs of customer for today, tomorrow and may be for the near future as well. When business is able to address the current and future needs of customers, it creates a positive impression about the company in the minds of customers, thus building a long term relationship with customers.
Increased customer loyalty drives sales growth. Now that we have understood how critical a role CRM application can play in driving the sale growth and thereby generating the revenue of the company, let’s take a closer look at how CRM can impact the sales process:
Contact Management :
CRM has the ability to categorize the contacts by editing the properties of the contacts. Based on the engagement level with customer, the properties of the customer can be changed to lead, customer or an opportunity. This way, sales team can take informed decisions about what needs to be done with a particular contact.
Manage Leads :
Different leads require different level of interaction. With the help of CRM, sales team can trigger an email or schedule a face-to-face meeting with the leads. This efficient way of managing the leads not only saves time but also makes the job easy and convenient for sales team.
Identifying and managing customer needs :
Unless a product meets customer’s needs, no matter how good the product might be, it will not survive in the market. Further, what is good for customer today, may not remain the same tomorrow. Customer’s purchase history, contact information, his likes and dislikes stored in the CRM can help understand and anticipate customer’s needs and also help efficiently address them.
Product Management :
Once the company is aware of its customers’ needs, they can make adjustments to the product such that it meets the customer’s needs.
Now that we have discussed extensively about the areas of the sales process where CRM can have a positive impact, let’s relate the above to a real time example from companies that were benefitted after successful implementation of CRM.
Activision, a company headquartered in Santa Monica, California, US, is an American leading video game publisher known for its popular games such as Call of Duty. The company to its credit has the record of collecting $400 million in the first 24 hours of its most successful entertainment launch of Modern Warfare 3 in 2011.
Revenue is one of the criteria of measuring a company’s success in the market. However, there are parameters such as customer support and customer satisfaction that also build the reputation of the company in the market.
Activision has been committed to its customers in providing continuous customer support long after customers have made the purchase. Activision with the help of its CRM Marketing Cloud, is able to monitor its customer’s social media conversations that are relevant to its product.
The CRM then provides the ability to follow up with its customers on these conversations. Implementation of CRM and its adoption in providing customer service, helped Activision achieve savings of 25% in customer service expenses. Activision found that they are able to reduce cost and at the same time, they are also able to achieve greater customer satisfaction with implementation of CRM.