Many of the clients who come to us today are still managing their business relationships manually in notebooks, rolodexes or individual spreadsheets that they may occasionally share with their colleagues. All of these are fine as long as you're the only person in your company who interacts with that customer. In today's business world, however, that's becoming increasingly rare and not knowing who is engaging with customers—or how—will stunt the growth of your business. It's becoming more and more important to know who in your organization is interacting with which customers and this can't be done when those relationships are managed in separate silos.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system will help fill in the gaps and grow your business in a number of ways.
1. Threading data across your sales team
The more data you have, and the more employees you have maintaining their own information, the more room there is for mistakes. When Employee A reaches out to a potential customer to discuss a possible solution or provide a quote, Employee B may not be aware of this when they reach out to the same customer. This could be embarrassing at least and disastrous at most. Or imagine an existing customer has an issue which Employee A is working to resolve but Employee B, unaware, proposes a new solution to the customer—this could easily undermine the overall relationship.
The right CRM solution is a system that's front of mind for your employees all day long and makes it easy for them to keep information current and accurate. At Amaxra, our employees can update our CRM directly from Outlook, where they spend most of their day anyway, so it's simple. And the simpler something is, the more likely people are to do it. A spreadsheet, no matter how well maintained, requires an extra step that somebody has to think about doing. If your staff needs to think about that extra step, it's likely they won't do it.
2. Instant Marketing Feedback
So what about the marketing side of your business? Traditionally, once you sent out an email communication all you could do was cross your fingers and hope your customers read it. If an email campaign didn't produce results, you couldn't possibly know whether it was because nobody received your emails or nobody bothered to read them. It's far better to get instant feedback and know for sure what's working and what's not.
A CRM enables inter-business communications. It's intelligence and the real power comes from the way your CRM can interact seamlessly with other technologies. There are many solutions out there. At Amaxra we chose to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with ClickDimensions as together this allows us to see how many touches we have with any client as well as how those clients are interacting with our content. This is important because it answers that all-important question: is what we're doing actually working? Is our marketing/outreach investment actually resulting in improved connections that will result in increased revenue (the goal for every business)?
The right marketing tools will tell you what's wrong—and right—with your marketing. They tell you whether people are receiving your communications, reading your emails or clicking on the links you provide. You can know what people do when they come to your website and which links they're clicking on. You don't have to guess what works for your target audience and what doesn't—you know for certain.
3. Updating Everyone, Everywhere, Instantly
Our setup at Amaxra ensures we're reaching all of our contacts and targeting them with communications that directly address their needs. There are many excellent tools out there, but we chose Dynamics CRM with ClickDimensions because it updates our CRM in real time. The moment a contact opens an email, ClickDimensions records it. So our finance team, sales and every other department has the most up to date information at any given moment, no matter where they are. Everyone across our organization is on the same page, whether they're in the office, working from home or catching up in an airport in Berlin. We also use ClickDimension's subscription management, which helps readers stay engaged on their terms. If a reader receives something they're not interested in and goes to unsubscribe, we can offer them options that don't cut them off completely—we can even promise to only send them one newsletter a month, which may persuade them to hang around a bit longer.
Your business has a better chance of making a sale not only because your sales team is all on the same page, but because you're able to maintain your business relationships and stay up to date with your contacts. Plus, all the information for each contact is in one place, so your sales team is never calling cold. Today every business needs to be smarter than ever about how to engage with customers and an awareness of each customer is going to help your teams start a conversation and stay in touch.
4. That Warm Fuzzy Feeling
In this day and age, people have done the majority of their research before they ever reach out to you. A good CRM helps you nurture relationships effectively to make people want to come to you. In Amaxra's case, a person may call us about Office 365 or Dynamics CRM. There are multiple companies who can help them set up these tools, so what is it that will make them choose to contact Amaxra? It's the connection.
Cold calls don't work anymore. It's that warm fuzzy relationship you have with people that makes them eventually choose you when it's time to buy. You want people coming to you because of your knowledge. A good CRM lets you capture those people and then properly maintain those relationships—far more relationships than you can manage on that trusty old rolodex of yours or a spreadsheet on your computer you update when you remember.
Check back next month for part two of this blog. We'll continue examining the many ways a CRM helped grow our business and can do the same for yours.
Want to know more about how Dynamics CRM can help your business?
Contact me at Rosalyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.