Web CRM Software
Customer relationship management software is sometimes referred to as CRM software. It can help small-business owners increase profitability, by building stronger relationships with their customers. So how does it work to deliver real results in the workplace?...
Software to Help You Understand Major Customers
CRM software systems have traditionally been implemented by larger businesses. This type of software has helped multinationals manage thousands of customers, in industries with complex sales cycles and high associated running costs. Yet many small firms are now beginning to wake up to the potential a web based customer relationship software package has to offer. The leading CRM software vendors are SAP, Oracle, Salesforce.com, Microsoft and Amdocs.
For small businesses fighting to survive in harsh economic conditions, the importance of keeping hold of existing customers has never been more acute. Most entrepreneurs already know that it is more expensive to win new business customers, than it is to develop sales revenue from existing customer accounts. So building up a complete picture of all customer contact points is essential, in order to make the right sales and marketing choices. In addition, most firms rely on personal recommendations from these key customers. So the need for accurate and timely management information becomes critical.
Many customers are becoming more and more disloyal, fickle and impatient with poor customer service and ill thought through attempts to win their custom. Prospective customers, hate the 'scatter gun' sales tactics used by many organisations, whose sales staff do not bother to find out customers individual needs. For example, poorly trained telephone advisers using aggressive cold calling, highlight a lack of management information and complete disregard for prospective clients needs. The opportunity exists to streamline sales and marketing functions, as well as increase customer satisfaction for key clients. So to improve the collection and interpretation of customer data specialist CRM software can help...
What is CRM Software?
CRM solutions are designed to capture customer data, automate, streamline and add value to the sales, marketing and customer service business functions. This information is organised and distributed in a meaningful way. It can be accessed and shared by everybody across the company. In particular, the application can help improve the lead management and sales forecasting processes, to convert more quotes into sales. Some programs integrate with popular Office based applications to mine valuable data.
The longer and more complex the buying process, the more appropriate a CRM package is in assisting everybody involved in the sales process. Workflow processes become accessible for salespeople, sales managers, support staff and customer service representatives. The virtual team are more able to browse the progress of a prospective big deal, from qualification through to order to after sales support issues. It also helps to standardise sales processes, where manual paper based and ad hoc processes may have caused inefficiencies in the past.
Web Based CRM Software
Most applications are now web enabled, and increasingly being provided on a pay-as-you-go basis. This avoids the traditional client/server approach, in which high initial investments have to be made in in-house hardware and networking infrastructure, to host the CRM application. The new cloud based computing model, allows firms to access high-value functionality at a relatively low cost per user. It also means that the time to implement is drastically reduced, as any technical updates can be done centrally by the vendor. This frees up your IT managers time to concentrate on convincing and training users how to use and exploit the new web based application.
Online CRM applications prompt users to retain the right kind of information and keep it current. Most web based packages provide authenticated access to any number of users, from any location, via a secure browser. There is quite a lot of free CRM applications available to download from vendors websites for you to experiment, test and compare.
Remember that the detailed reporting is only as dependable as the accuracy of the data in the first place. CRM software is simply an enabling tool to assist users to take actions that will help improve the relationship with their clients. If people fail to act on pertinent information, there is not much point having the tool in the first place.
Like all new business systems and changes in working practices, employees feel naturally defensive and resistant to change. The quality of training offered by the vendor and in-house may become a critical factor in implementing the application correctly and getting buy in from users. A small firms sheer survival may depend upon users decisions based on the CRM management information available at their finger tips.