MyCRM Daily CRM News 19112014

Here is the latest from our round up of CRM industry news.   Today we firstly look at a story from Enterprise Apps Today talking about the importance of improving customer focus.

Moving onto utilising external data into your business, compatibility with your current systems and three great tips for implementing CRM within your business.

Bringing customer focus to CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are intended to organise data on customers and sales practises.  They are not designed to actually improve customer relationships; that’s where the CRM strategy comes in.Without a customer relationship, is there really any point in implementing a CRM system? 

Instead of trying to put everything into the CRM system and ending up with too much data that is impossible to sort through, here are four important tips that can help every business manager bring the customer focus back to CRM. 

  1. Don’t try to do it all.  The best way to get started with a solid CRM strategy is to start off slowly and focus on an initial plan point.  Ease into it rather than trying to do everything that the CRM system is capable of all at once.  

  1. Make sure CRM support is ready.  The marketing, service, and sales teams all must be trained on the new processes and workflows that help them deliver excellent customer service.  Each department should be aware of the other’s policies and procedures so that no one is in the dark.
  2. Give customer service reps information.  Ideally, the CRM system will bring all channels, processes, and context together within a single mechanism that everyone has access to.  This allows customer service representatives to do their job because they will have access to complete and consistent data at all times.
  3. Keep the customer’s perspective in mind.  Offering a tailored experience to customers as they interact with the company is an excellent way to build a loyal client base.  At every step, make sure that the context is understood and content is relevant to the customer.  Allow customers to customise their own experience when possible. 


The benefits of integrating CRM data from different sources

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows business managers to create reports from different data sources to produce robust information that can really help to boost the bottom line.

A good CRM system will use both external and internal data sources to integrate related facts and information and report on the findings.  Internally, the system uses the data obtained and maintained by the business, such as account data and general business information.  External data sources come from outside the business and can shed new light onto business practises.

All managers know the value of comparing a report showing only internal information with one that interprets and analyses information from a number of sources.  The evolution of CRM software has made this type of reporting even better, with findings based on comparative analysis, deductive analysis, and predictive analysis.

Preferences, configurations, and settings are all customisable within the CRM system application to the extent that managers can set rules and special conditions that shape their analytical findings to match the business’ needs.  However, it is worth mentioning that the CRM system is still capable of producing business intelligence dynamically.

An integrated CRM system with both internal and external sources is an invaluable asset to any business hoping to find niche data to help hone marketing campaigns and retain existing customers.  A streamlined and integrated system can also improve the productivity of the sales and marketing departments, provide multichannel access to customer data, and give a clearer insight into customers.

So, why would any business not want a fully integrated CRM system in this Information Age?  Given all of these benefits, it simply doesn’t make sense not to have one.


Is your CRM system compatible with other applications?

If there is one lesson that children learn at an early age, it is the importance of playing well with others.  This same principle should apply to a business’s customer relationship management (CRM) system.

In today’s world, many companies need to work with other businesses in order to sell their goods and services.  This means that in addition to maintaining relationships with their customers, they must also manage relationships with their business partners.

Most CRM systems are actually designed to achieve this dual goal, but some of them do a better job of integrating with third-party applications than others.  In fact, some CRM systems have add-ons that are made for partnership management.  These add-ons often work to help manage the reseller-seller channel better.

Partner relationship management (PRM) applications

Many companies simply don’t use the add-ons available to them or their CRM system doesn’t integrate sufficiently, so managers often resort to spreadsheets to manage their partner relationships.  However, there is a subclass of CRM systems that focuses on partner relationship management, which is mostly marketed to larger companies.

PRM systems are usually marketed to larger companies because they often have a more complex operating system and maintain multiple relationships with a variety of sales channels.  However, a PRM system could benefit smaller organisations as long as there are resources to integrate it.

For smaller companies that don’t have the time or financial resources to fully implement a proper PRM system, their existing CRM system can be used to manage both customer and partner relationships.  This means that they will need to make use of the available add-ons or make customisations to their workflow.


Three great tips for smooth CRM implementation

There comes a time when a business can no longer squeeze efficiency and performance out of its legacy system, which means that existing workarounds are simply not making the cut.  When this happens, it is time for a customer relationship management (CRM) system to be adopted.

Adopting a CRM system sounds like a great idea; after all, it can reduce the workload, improve efficiency, boost sales, and make customers even happier.  However, it is the implementation that can wreak havoc on daily operations, especially when no one is prepared.

Successful CRM isn’t just about getting the software to work. It is also about complementing processes and people connected with it. In order to make the most of implementation, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Never assume.  Get rid of all assumptions and the mind-set that certain things must be done a specific way.  Evaluate business processes and eliminate extraneous steps.  This can be done before implementation.

  2. Start off small and build from there.  Regardless of the developer, CRM systems are robust and offer a ton of features including reporting, processing, integration, communications, and tracking.  There is no rule that says a business must use them all right away.  Start off with the easy stuff and take it from there.

  3. Listen to the staff.  The most important voice to hear, apart from the customer, is the staff.  After all, the staff will be the ones using the CRM system daily and dealing with the customers.  Give employees the opportunity to learn about the new technology and embrace it.  Sharing their concerns is beneficial to the entire organisation.

By making the implementation process as smooth as possible, the end goal of a cleaner, more organised operation will inevitably be achieved.  Keep in mind that this is a process as much as it is a goal; adopting a CRM system is only as effective as its implementation and practise. 



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