Smart businesses of every size have always understood how important it is to build and maintain good relationships with their customers.
Good administrators and sales managers would accumulate information on their best accounts and file it away mainly in paper records or random spreadsheets but often only in their own personal memory. Gathering information that way was time-consuming, inefficient and actually of limited value. It could easily be overlooked or lost and deriving value from it was much more art than science, depending on the intuition of the person closest to the customer.
Today, the rise of digital technology means factual information on customers is freely available, in unprecedented detail. Guesswork, however intelligent, is no longer the only way to try and develop a competitive edge.
Clearly the adoption of technology is essential for business survival. But is it only larger organizations that should follow this trend? The answer is no, definitely not. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of local economies across Asean, in some countries employing as much as 70 percent of the workforce, and they can benefit from digital technology just as much as their larger cousins.
Even the smallest enterprise has valuable information about its customers, suppliers, leads and many other vital bits of business knowledge, but these tend to be scattered and disorganization. What is needed is a Customer Relations Management (CRM) system.
With the power of a CRM system, SMEs can use their customer data to improve the customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty over the long term.
CRM is designed to help a business gain insight into its sales performance, so that it can adjust strategies based on trends. It will also help the sales team stay on task by setting up automatic workflow rules so interactions with potential customers don’t fall through the cracks. And it goes beyond managing business contacts by also managing relationships with vendors as well as internal sales and marketing teams.
SMEs in Singapore and the Asean region recognize the need to invest more in technology in order to succeed under increasingly challenging conditions. A 2018 study found that 3 in 5 (60 percent) of Asean’s SMEs would focus their investments on technology over other fixed assets to help drive business performance. Seventy-eight percent say they would invest specifically in software such as improving their websites and creating mobile apps. They believe such innovations would enable them to create better customer experience and to increase customer loyalty.
CRM is a must buy for SMEs
Here are five ways CRM will add value to an SME:
Understand customers better
Once an a business has imported its list of leads, contacts and customers into its CRM system, it can start to track the sales and account management team’s engagement with these key targets in a consistent, efficient way.
The deeper understanding of customers that results from this means that cross-selling and upselling opportunities become clear — delivering the opportunity to win new business from existing customers.
With better visibility, businesses will also be able to keep their customers happy with better service. Happy customers are likely to become repeat customers, and repeat customers spend more — up to 33 percent more according to some studies.
Improve retention, less costly conversion of new customers
A CRM system makes it easy for the sales team to follow up with outstanding proposals by scheduling automatic reminders and creating a set of email templates.
Today’s customers expect fast, personalized support, at any time of day or night. Email tracking makes follow-up more accurate and ensures opportunities are not overlooked.
A CRM system can help provide the consistently great service that customers are looking for. Agents can quickly see what products customers have ordered, and they can get a record of every interaction so they can give customers the answers they need, fast.
A CRM can improve the customer’s experience right across departments including sales, customer service, marketing and more. This high degree of personal attentiveness leads to repeat business from satisfied existing customers and generates confidence and commitment from new customers.
Productivity and responsiveness
The automation of workflow that a CRM offers provides a clear view of essential information and metrics, including the latest conversions. CRM facilitates better follow-ups through task orientation, mails and calls. It allows sales teams comprehensive insights into the customer lifecycle and provides swift response to any customer contact..
Customer management solutions can speed up and improve how SMEs locate, win and keep customers happy.
The purchase journey of today’s shoppers involves multiple options — they seek information, compare product offerings and finalize their purchases via various online channels likewebsite, email, chat, phone call and social media as well as physical stores. A CRM system can break down digital silos and permit better communication with customers and prospects. Sales reps can convert website live-chats to phone conversations, support agents are able to make or answer calls from within their ticket interface, and marketers can convert social media interactions into tickets to get problems solved faster.
Information can be captured through webforms embedded into website contact pages, pushed to the CRM and assigned to the appropriate sales person, which allows for quick follow up so sales are not lost.
With complete, accurate information about clients and prospects accumulated from multiple channels and held centrally, sales and marketing can focus their attention and energy on the right clients.
Mobility of data
Easy sharing of data across teams and the ability to collaborate is critical for successful customer relationship management.
The CRM system will let you schedule weekly, emailed reports, so each of the sales team members will know how close they are to achieving their monthly, quarterly and annual goals.
CRM is able to break down forecasts by salesperson, team and territory to gain insights about the team’s performance. Businesses can make better forecasts by accounting for completed sales, current targets, deals about to be closed and shortages in the sales pipeline as well as Identify the bottlenecks using real-time data and boost the team’s performance.
A CRM system pulls together all the available information on an SME’s customers, enabling the company to track the organizations and customers that they deal with, manage contacts, log information and market to them more effectively. CRM helps small and medium businesses build a relationship with customers that, in turn, creates loyalty and customer retention — key elements that affect a company’s revenue.
In fact, it may well be argued that CRM is not so much a technology as a strategy that results in both topline growth and increased profitability.
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