If we’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s this: sales and marketing no longer exist in silos; they can’t afford to. According to Forbes, businesses who fully utilize their CRM systems increase sales by 29 percent. In a rough economy, it’s those little touches that a CRM system can bring to the table that allows companies to better serve their customers, but if CRM isn’t integrated with the back end financial data, companies aren’t getting a full view of their customers.
So, what’s all the fuss about integrated CRM? We’ve learned that one of the biggest advantages of integrated CRM is that all the data about a customer is in one place for easy access. This allows companies to view the customer journey from first contact to quoting and order fulfillment, which helps identify sales opportunities. Companies are also better able to project figures and order dates, and without having to repeatedly enter data into multiple systems, which can lead to errors as well as lost time.
When you put integrated CRM into practice, you get this: Acme, one of your largest and long-time customers, has increased the frequency and amount of orders of a part you make for their popular Widget. By using integrated CRM, you can gauge when Acme will call, how much they might order, what materials and labor you’ll need for the job, and provide them with an accurate quote. If they don’t call, you can follow up with them to find out if there’s anything you can do for them, if the last order didn’t meet their expectations, or if their Widget sales were low.
Integrated CRM also gives you the chance to follow leads into production. Amici Company has been looking for a manufacturer and calls you. Instead of their information floating around in a Word document, e-mail, or even a piece of paper, that’s information in the system that you can use for follow-ups and quoting. You’re able to show Amici that you’re on the ball from the get-go, and in today’s competitive market, that’s what gets new business.
CRM will certainly continue to be a huge factor in helping you to maintain your relationships with your customers and grow your business. However, if it’s not integrated with the back end of your business, you won’t reap the benefits. In what ways do you currently use CRM in your small business? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions for Exact