Customer Management Software
Customer management software provides the means for users to access a wide range of customer profile data. It is designed to help direct salespeople, marketing managers, credit control staff, and other customer support staff to do their jobs effectively...
Managing Your Business Contact and Sales Leads
Customer management software is a business orientated desktop tool, that businesses can use to manage and exploit their customer facing information. Businesses rely on accurate and timely customer data to manage existing relationships, promote new products and services, and ensure their sales cycle runs smoothly. Have a practical way of developing the relationship with existing clients is essential. The cost of sales to generate new business clients, if far greater than the cost to manage existing client revenue streams.
So to develop trusted relationships, it is essential for the sales team to have the ability to access and share information about significant customer orders, buying habits and preferred methods of doing business. Customer management software is a fantastic tool to help improve sales forecasting accuracy, manage the order management process, and improve the efficiency of direct salespeople chasing that next big deal.
What is Sales Management Software?
Sales management software brings all business data together through one interface, orientated around each customer record, that ordinarily would be stored across a selection of popular business software applications. Customer management software becomes exponentially more valuable to customer-facing firms. In particular, it helps sales driven firms that have to manage lots of new business sales leads, support a large number of existing clients, and allocate resources during long or complex sales cycles.
Its most basic function, is to save the contact address details of each prospect and customer. This usually includes their name, addresses and contact telephone numbers. The software will prompt sales staff to record notes of all conversations, and links to related correspondence documents and letters including memos and email. Even if this data is stored in different applications, it can still be linked together by the business contact management software. Central to the software, is a logging all customer contact points, (whether verbal, electronic, paper-based or otherwise) and orientated around a single sales objective or a unique customer ID. These contacts include fields to define tasks and actions, roles and responsibilities, geographic locations and dates and times. This data can be invaluable for sharing throughout a sales team. Alternatively, it can help when a salespeople unexpectedly leaves. As a result, a complete audit trail exists for new starters to pick up the activities of a salesperson who has left the company. This helps to minimise the disruption to the client.
Most online contact management software also provides the ability to manage orders. This means the progress of an individual transaction (from prospect right through to order and invoice) is recorded. Users will be able to know where they are in the sales cycle, relative to their sales targets. Normally large sales teams will have different authentication access to the system. Consequently, sales managers can oversee details of recent sales orders to compare these with the current sales forecast. The software will allow the manager to drill down to understand each deal. To track order status, most of the popular packages and services (such as ACT, Goldmine and Salesforce.com) provide a range of reporting capabilities. These include summaries of sales achieved, activity logs and an audit of telephone conversations. This help sales managers understand the detail and keep tabs on staff, to ensure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Most sales contact management software will integrate with popular Windows-based programs, (such as Outlook, Word for Windows, Excel and PowerPoint). By integrating and storing data centrally, business information becomes more timely and accurate. Most packages also provide online connectivity, so field based sales people can login and retrieve product price lists, view customer data from other colleagues, or make sales notes from recent meetings or telephone conversations. Likewise, online diaries of the entire sales team can also be checked and updated. This means future customer meetings, sales calls, presentations, supplier visits can all be quickly arranged without conflict or delay.
Choosing the Best Package for Your Company
Some contact tools also integrate with customer relationship management software tools, which adopt a broader view of the strategy employed to deal with larger clients. CRM software deals with a broad range of issues to address including business strategy, buying habits and opportunities to up-sell. Using full CRM software is probably overkill for smaller businesses. Where as most Contact Management Software (CMS) is relatively low-cost, providing an easy to learn and straightforward interface to keep track of all customer contacts and activities.
It can be a bit confusing testing suitable applications, when the functionality is blurred between different sales functions. If you are looking for a basic web content manager, you may want to consider subscribing to a trial period for one of the large application service providers. Their online interface will be incredibly uncomplicated to use and easy to understand. Subscribing to an online service eliminates the need to purchasing PC based software. Although most contact management software is relatively low-cost, the importance of this tool to the success of the organisation will become paramount. So take time to evaluate which package is best for you, before committing to any long term purchasing decisions!