For many companies, the decision to use a CRM system is one of the first major investments in technology. Essential for growth, the move from something like contact and lead management in Excel to a fully-functional CRM solution is a logical and natural progression when you start to bring on more people to manage sales.
The Many Reasons CRM Helps Companies Thrive
Over the past few months, we’ve talked about why strong customer relationships matter, how CRM can cut hours off the quote-to-cash process, the role of CRM in business process alignment, and how CRM helps you focus on the relationships instead of the manual process that go into building them.
What Departments and People Benefit from CRM?
If you’ve been following along, you know that the decision to put a CRM solution into action can deliver intelligence to a variety of departments, it can ease the strain that goes into multi-department processes, and it can align people. In turn, businesses empower their people and their teams to do more and do it more effectively. Here are just a few of the ways CRM helps the entire organization.
- Sales teams get to understand how buyers move through the pipeline.
- Sales managers get to understand how well a team is working.
- Marketing teams better understand the budget and the customer journey.
- The legal team reduces the time and effort it takes to create and finalize contracts.
- Customer service and success teams can provide service more efficiently.
- Procurement teams get better understanding of buying trends and inventory needs.
- HR teams get data-driven results to improve reviews.
- Hiring teams can use CRM to improve the hiring process.
- Finance teams can easily allocate expenses to activities.
- Accounting teams can reduce the time it takes to recognize revenue.
- Customer retention people get to see and prevent churn.
How Functionality in CRM Can Deliver These and Other Benefits
But how does it provide this? Whether it’s through integration with other tools, automation of manual processes, or the use of templates to create better communications, CRM simply makes your job easier, and we’re looking at how this happens.
But it all comes down to the functionality that comes in a CRM system. CRM is built to handle processes—but those processes can be used differently. In this, decision makers can look at the different ways that departments could use a well-provisioned solution.
Account and Contact Management
One of the most important and commonly used features of CRM is contact management. Contact management, once tracked and organized on the Rolodex, has evolved—albeit slowly. For too many, companies use contact management tools as little more than a list of names and phone numbers.
However, those who use CRM effectively can take contact management into new areas by connecting contacts to activities, and focusing on how a contact flows through the pipeline.
With this, you can easily:
- Keep track of any interactions or activities associated with an account or contact
- Leverage workflows and create automatic date specific reminders to keep track of important events
- Get a 360-degree view of your accounts and see how they relate to everyone else in your database
With contacts in place and tracked by the company, they can use this information to start focusing on opportunity and lead management. Opportunity management in CRM empowers business users to collaborate on tasks and CRM continues to track the efforts.
Your marketing team might send over a few pertinent resources, track the activity, and update the information in the CRM. Once they know that this is an interested buyer with specific needs, they can in turn pass this information on to the sales department, who can continue to move the contact through the pipeline.
In turn, Opportunity management helps you to:
- Track, segment and maintain visibility to all of your opportunities, with all the essential information you need in one central location
- Create personalized quotes with specific pricing information and streamline the process from quote to order to invoice
- Easily track revenues and success against competition
Workflows and Automation
Just as the use of contact and opportunity management can benefit users across the organization, it also will facilitate the workflows and increase productivity. Rather than manually moving a potential buyer through the sales process, a standardized workflow will automatically pass on the information when it is right to pass on.
By standardizing and automating workflows in CRM, you can:
- Reduce the amount of effort required to complete a cross-department process
- Design a clear path to purchase and trigger events based on your business process.
- Stay ahead of important dates, reduce churn, and understand how the business works.
A Single Source of Truth
One of the biggest benefits of CRM is its ability to keep people on the same page. Salespeople don’t want their prospects poached by someone else on the team. Prospects don’t want to get calls from different people in the same company. A unified CRM helps to prevent this by keeping everyone on the same page.
Information is readily available for anyone who needs it. Once John Smith at XYZ Corp. is added to the database, those on the team have a clear picture of who this is, what actions have been taken, and who is the main point of contact.
With an always connected cloud CRM, you can:
- Eliminate duplication of effort by keeping everyone on the same page.
- Allow salespeople to work together and eliminate the risk of poaching.
- Keep track of customer activities even if an employee leaves the organization.
Integration and Intelligence
However, one of the biggest benefits of CRM is its ability to work with other products. Open APIs, common languages between software, and workflows have allowed organizations to connect CRM to a variety of tools ranging from ERP to inventory, field service management, and more. This connected solution helps you to connect business processes, not just buying processes.
For example, you can integrate CRM with ERP and business intelligence to:
- Improve inventory accuracy by understanding how forecasts match up with ordering.
- Elevate workflows and connect them across the business. For example, provide your purchasing department with better and more up to date information with CRM/ERP integration.
- Take steps to better understand sales, salespeople, and customers by presenting the information in an easily understood BI dashboard.
Many More Benefits Await: Connect Your Business with Help from MIBAR
Businesses of all sizes have turned to CRM software to track, organize, and improve their customer relationships. But those who connect this powerful application (or select a CRM built into the ERP) get even more from their efforts and investments.
As a leading provider of business management software in the New York Metro, we understand how to help your business do more with ERP and CRM solutions customized for your unique business. Get to know more about our company, the work we do with CRM, and contact us for more information.