Posts from August 2012.

Top Benefits of Sales Lead Management

Experienced sales managers know just how crucial every new lead is. It’s important to file it carefully and not let it get lost in the daily downpour of data. Many systems are developed toward this end, but tend to break down when complexity and volume increase beyond a certain point. If you are to benefit from sales data, you first need to tie it all together neatly.

Top Benefits of Sales Lead Management

Top Benefits of Sales Lead Management

The best way to do this is manage sales leads with the help of a CRM solution, which brings the following benefits:

  • Increased productivity: A CRM solution is easily customizable and flexible. This ensures that the salesperson is not spending most of the most in doing manual data-entry or keeping the database in correct shape. As a result your sales force becomes more focused and productive.
  • Learning from sales data: Without a good tool to analyze sales data, very little can be learned from the countless details you collect every day. The solution comes in the form of CRM, which has enterprise-class analytics to help you mine useful trends from your data.
  • Better monitoring: A CRM solution gives you a complete snapshot of the sales process – all the time. Every lead can be meticulously recorded and reviewed at any stage, letting you benefit from past information. This leads to a deeper understanding of the customer, which in turn boosts your sales performance.
  • Forecasting: When you have a clean database and powerful analytics tools, it becomes easy to forecast sales data and predict changes. As a result, you find yourself well-prepared to meet the market challenges in advance, letting you keep the operational costs down.

What other systems do you use for sales lead management? And what kind of problems do you generally encounter? Please describe in the comment section.

Towards Better Contact Management

The customer is the most important feature of every business, and the more you know about the customer, the better. However, tracking customer activities is complex and cumbersome for most businesses, depriving them of the benefits of deeper customer insight. But with a CRM tool in place, you can overcome challenges and move toward better contact management.

Toward Better Contact Management

Toward Better Contact Management

Here’s why contact management through CRM is recommended:

  • Email integration: It serves no purpose if your email conversations are stored separately from other customer data. That’s why CRM ties everything together into one place, making sure you always have a 360-degree view of the customer.
  • Easy categorization and search: It’s a good idea to classify customers on different factors, such as geography, sales record, potentiality, income level, and so forth. A CRM software makes it easy for you to get a finer control on categorization. Powerful search functions are convenient to get the right information quickly.
  • Sales tracking: New contacts are invariably linked to some sales, whether imminent or potential. This information needs to be tracked side by side, which is one of the most useful features of a CRM system. The next time you are looking up a new customer, you’ll also know what the sales history is.
  • Scheduling: Follow-ups and prospecting are important activities, but depend on the availability of the customer. This is where a good scheduling program comes in. A good CRM software makes it easy to plan appointments and meetings with customers and improve sales efficiency.
  • Document management: As your database grows, so will the documentation associated with various sales tasks. With a good system in place, it’s easy to create and archive documentation, be it related to casual inquiries, opt-ins or repeated sales.

There are many possible ways to efficient contact management, but doing it through the CRM brings the added benefits of centralization and seamless access. Have you used CRM-based contact management? If yes, what benefits have you experienced?

CRM for Small Businesses

Many small business owners think that CRM systems require massive investment of resources that is simply beyond their reach. As a result, they are left managing the day to day operations on their own. However, CRM today is not the prerogative of large enterprises only. The dynamics of software delivery and utilization have changed significantly, allowing small businesses to benefit from solutions like CRM.

CRM for Small Businesses

CRM for Small Businesses

Here’s why CRM is possible and essential for small businesses:

  • Customized solutions: CRM solutions are now available in leaner versions as vendors are increasingly recognizing the specific needs of small businesses. That means you’ll be up and running in no time, with virtually no learning curve.
  • No infrastructure constraints: Enter cloud computing, and suddenly you no more need giant warehouses and mind-boggling processing power to drive the CRM solutions. All resources exist on the cloud, and can be scaled up and down according to business requirements.
  • CRM on the go: CRM solutions deployed through the cloud allow small business access on the go. Data can be updated through multiple devices and from any location, while centralized data repository makes it easy for everyone to generate relevant reports.
  • Customer insights: For small businesses, getting to know the customer is very important if they are to sustain growth. CRM makes this possible through cutting-edge analytics tools. This improves customer retention and gives you an edge over the competition.
  • Cost reduction: Once the CRM system is in place, it galvanizes different departments efficiently and reduces operational overhead. This results in a significant reduction in running costs.

Are you a small business owner who opted for a CRM solution? How has it helped you manage workload and perform more efficiently? Let us know in the comments!

Blogging As an Essential CRM Tool

For most companies the mention of CRM conjures up images of sophisticated software and process workflows, with a lot of sales management to go with it. On the surface, blogging seems to have very little to do with it. And yet that is precisely what successful businesses are doing – using blogs to communicate, address complaints, and announce new developments, all of which forms the core of CRM.

Blogging As an Essential CRM Tool

Blogging As an Essential CRM Tool

Here are some of the many important roles blogs play in managing customer relations:

  • Brand awareness: Blogs are powerful branding devices, enabling you to instantly connect with your audience. Consistent and value blogging ensures that recall is high and customers keep coming back for more.
  • Lead generation: Content-driven marketing is the norm these days. Blogs allow you to create a knowledge base that attracts the right kind of customer and rouses curiosity. This gives you high-quality leads with much better conversion rates.
  • Feedback: Corporate blogs play the sensitive and important role of gathering feedback. Companies that maintain a corporate blog and respond to feedback quickly, succeed in creating lasting trust and brand loyalty. The views posted by customers will also help you improve your business model.
  • Repeat business: New offers can be announced on your blog, which are automatically delivered to people who are subscribed to your feeds. This keeps your brand fresh in customers’ memory and brings repeat business.
  • B2B communication: A good corporate blog is also a great platform for communicating to your peers, letting you benefit from shared learning and mutual insight about evolving practices in CRM.

A new look at CRM

It’s worth reminding ourselves that CRM is not just a set of tools and processes. It’s a holistic paradigm that improves customer relations throughout the organization. This calls for a long-term flexible strategy, and blogs form an integral part of this. How has blogging helped your business in improving customer engagement? Tell us in the comments!