The feckless Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman might have been satisfied managing customers using a file box stuffed with business cards. But that’s not enough to succeed in today’s competitive sales environment. If you’re ready to trade in tattered Rolodex cards for something that’s more efficient and delivers better value, customer relationship management applications can help you out.
There are a number of tangible business benefits to be obtained from a good CRM system, including increased revenue and decreased costs. CRM software can also help you retain existing customers and gain new ones. Key elements of CRM allow a business to collect and maintain valuable data such as customer contacts and history of purchases; maintain profiles of customer preferences; improve customer communication channels; and identify new selling opportunities.
An improved response to customer queries and a better understanding of customer needs helps build customer loyalty and reduce churn. It’s much less expensive to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. CRM lets you keep closer to your current customers so you can keep them as customers.
CRM can also reduce operating costs. You may be able to handle some customer queries by less-expensive Web or e-mail communications instead of through a call center. If your business struggles to maintain multiple mailing lists for different groups of customers and prospects, CRM can help you better organize your customer communications.
CRM can open up more cross-selling opportunities with a single contact point. This will let you sell more products and services to existing customers. CRM can help turn prospects into new customers. It can help you close orders quicker due to improved handling of requests for information and leads. A good system will ensure that sales leads aren’t dropped due to lack of follow-up.
An accounts receivable application will track sales and payment and credit information regarding a customer. Valuable information is contained in these customer, sales, and accounts receivable databases. But CRM goes beyond these financial matters and includes tracking of other nonfinancial interactions with customers, such as phone calls and e-mail. CRM software can help you reap future value from this historical information.