MyCRM Daily CRM News 25-11-2014

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CRM is not just about IT knowledge

Many business managers think that in order to implement and launch their customer relationship management (CRM) system, they only need IT knowledge, but nothing could be further from the truth.

This isn’t to say that new technology or IT knowledge isn’t an integral part of a CRM strategy, but those things are not the only factors influencing the success or failure of CRM.  In fact, any solid CRM strategy actually involves every player in the company – all the way from top management to marketing and sales.

Getting it together

Once the decision to implement a CRM strategy and a dedicated CRM system has been made, there must be someone in charge of the entire process.  In some organisations, every department seems to defer to the IT department when it comes to understanding and using the CRM system, but in reality it isn’t the IT department’s responsibility.  Sure, they can help work out the kinks and modify the system to best suit the company’s needs, but the IT department is definitely not in charge of maintaining customer relationships and enhancing the overall experience.

Therefore, in order to avoid any confusion and maintain a smooth-running CRM strategy, there has to be someone in charge of the CRM efforts.  Often, this is going to be someone in upper management, but it really can be anyone dedicated to the daily operations of the company.  The key is to be consistent and organised in order to make the most of the CRM strategy.


CRM overtaking ERP as most valuable business application

Customer relationship management (CRM) may very well be supplanting enterprise resource planning (ERP) as the most valuable business application, according to recent trends.  As most business managers know, CRM focuses on the customer and his or her experience while ERP is more about the business and its efficiency.

While both aspects are important to the success or failure of a business, it seems that CRM is taking the lead.  After all, the customer is the driving force behind most business models, and unhappy customers do not come back for repeat business.

"CRM is not just for sales and marketing anymore," explains Nucleus Research’s VP of research, Rebecca Wettemann.  "The data is more actionable and current than on aging ERP apps."

There are CRM systems for almost any industry and many of these systems can be used across a variety of sectors, but niche players are starting to become the norm.  For example, there are now CRM systems made specifically for the financial sector, life sciences, non-profits, and other sectors.

Businesses can make the most of their CRM strategy by taking a look at several different CRM applications and seeing which can facilitate their industry-specific needs in the best way.

As the CRM industry continues to grow, CRM vendors must constantly rise to the challenge of supporting a large number of users, which means they are using the cloud more than ever.  This allows CRM vendors to remain viable even in a market that is evolving quickly.


CRM can help manage B2B relationships

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a lot more versatile than many people might think.  Today’s CRM software programmes are designed to not only boost a company’s bottom line by improving the overall customer experience, but they also help to manage business-to-business (B2B) relationships.

Most CRM systems are so robust that they have just about everything including the internet, intranets, and extranets, not to mention reporting, analytics, and so much more.  This is precisely why they are quickly becoming an essential aspect of any business’ operations.  Today’s increased need for information sharing has motivated CRM providers to evolve even further to provide an organisational reach that spans across various markets.

Current behaviours show that in order to successfully manage a B2B relationship, businesses must embrace social networking.  Recent statistics have shown that almost 75 per cent of all B2B customers use social media to purchase products and services.  Social media is also integrally incorporated into decision-making, communications, and organisation.  The CRM systems that are available today often incorporate social media platforms into their models.

However, not all CRM platforms are created equal.  CRM software must be flexible so that a business can create opportunities and brand value, evaluate and monitor sales and marketing efforts, build a sustainable and strong customer base, and align values and goals.  This means that companies must know both their competitors and customers very well and be able to track their respective behaviour.

Taking all of this into account, it is clear that CRM software can offer an ideal solution for managing critical B2B relationships just as well as it can help manage the customer experience.


Partner management is key

In most cases, selling direct can be pretty simple; the business controls everything from the salesperson to the training to the payment structure and the marketing.  Selling can get a bit more complicated when a business sells through the channel as more and more depends on partners.

How can businesses ensure solid selling when working with partners?

Incorporating customer relationship management

On average, partner companies work with about eight different vendors, although some work with as many as 15.  In order for a company to enjoy success with partners, they do need a few things including a good economic proposition, the ability to fulfil customer expectations and a compelling product.  Additionally, businesses should be easy to work with.

Although customer relationship management (CRM) is usually associated with direct sales, the principles behind it are also effective when dealing with partners. Remember, partners aren’t just a conduit to the customers – they are also customers in a way.  If partners have a good experience, they are more likely to show results and more sales.

Fine-tuning the CRM experience

Businesses should provide effective and efficient portals that are frequently updated.  The portal should be a one-stop resource for partners, training, marketing materials, applications, registration, and other things that are critical to the relationship between vendors and partners.  Using the CRM system to manage partners is an effective way to profile partners and use that information to deliver specific content tailored to their needs.

An effective portal system and method for managing partners leads to a greater wallet share, which is something every business owner is after.


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