Customer relationship management (CRM) is simply a piece of software used for managing all of your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. However, a CRM is not a tool or software it's a behaviour. In fact, unless you're living alone on an island you are already managing relationships to some degree. The question becomes are you managing them well? Let’s break down customers, relationships and management to more clearly identify how each can be positively impacted by the implementation of a CRM.
The customer is traditionally viewed as a person or organization who procures a product or service. However, the definition of a customer is much broader than that for many organizations. For our purposes let's redefine customers as any person or organization with whom you communicate as part of doing business. This could include:
- Legal counsel
- Outsourced agencies
- Prospective employees
- The list goes on and on….
These are all people or organizations with whom you must maintain a strong relationship to be successful. Having a CRM in place allows you to easily track communications with your customers to make sure they do not get forgotten or fall through the cracks.
Relationships are built naturally between individual people while conducting business. In the absence of a central place to capture the highlights of interactions whether email, phone or in-person those relationships remain owned at the individual level. The impact of a lost business relationship extends well beyond any single employee in your company. So, why would you allow any relationship to be owned by a single employee? Just as it's true that strong personal bonds are formed on an individual or one to one basis, it also becomes true that strong customer relationships can be formed on an organizational or many to many level through the use of a CRM system.
Managing relationships as a team seldom happens naturally. Rather, it requires transparency supported by the right set of processes, tools, and training. It's by working as a team that we build redundancy into our relationships and ensure a consistent experience with our customers, partners and business ecosystems. For example, what happens when Johnny your superstar lone wolf salesperson leaves the company? What will happen to the customer relationships that he owned? if Johnny's customer lacked an organizational relationship with your company the effort required to retain his business may be the same effort needed on a new opportunity. Effective CRM behaviour helps you to ensure that your key business relationships though formed by individuals, remain owned by your organization.
CRM Systems Are Not Just for Sales
Traditionally CRM providers have focused their marketing around the sales department. Why is that? Well, it's probably because revenue is directly tied to the sales manager's ability to forecast accurately and hit sales targets. Every minute wasted manually entering and re-entering data into spreadsheets is time that salespeople are not in front of customers generating revenue. A CRM system helps to ensure that sales processes are followed, customer communication is transparent and it brings an element of predictability in the sales performance. It accomplishes this with the duplicate data entry that often accompanies managing the same tasks and spreadsheets. In the case of sales, the return on investment in CRM is obvious and direct.
The Future of CRM
Today, however, more and more companies are seeing the benefits of CRM well beyond the sales department. Packages often include many options for customization that would allow you to tweak them to fit your unique business processes strong CRM platform incorporates workflow or business process automation, reporting, robust security options. As well as social media and mobile device integration. MasterSolve has extended CRM capabilities to help its clients manage:
- field service operations
- customer contracts
- customer support
- loan processing
- inbound and outbound call centers
- case management
- custom quoting
- partner management
- And much more! (Check out cool ways were combining AI and CRM)
If you are wondering how to improve your organization's CRM behaviour or need help implementing the right tools to support your team. Contact one of our CRM specialists today! We will help you to implement the right processes and technology needed to create strong customer relationships that last a lifetime.
MasterSolve is a business and technology consultancy with offices in Toronto, St. Louis and Montreal. We are your trusted business partner with expertise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. We live and breathe CRM and process improvement, we use a combination of best practices and common sense to help you find, implement and support, the software and technology you need to run your business and meet your goals.