Selling at the Speed of CRM
Customer relationship management software products, or CRM, are automated systems used by businesses to track every step in a customer’s journey. From initial contact, to lead generation, to conversion and nurturing, CRM software provides marketing and sales professionals with the information they need to make a sale and improve the customer experience. CRM data reveals customer preferences and habits, which sales personnel can use to extrapolate customer interest in or satisfaction with a product or service.
Customer information has been collected since the mid-century and earlier, but the advent of cloud computing has increased the speed at which customer satisfaction can be gauged and conversions can be made. Early entrepreneurs organized contact information, kept receipts and monitored their advertising space in local newspapers using print and paper. There were few touchpoints between customer and company.
But today, with online advertising, digital sharing, influencer marketing, print ads, television, cable, YouTube, LinkedIn and other sources, the sheer number of touchpoints can overwhelm marketers and sales personnel. CRM organizes touchpoints and stores information so that marketers are able to hone their marketing campaigns and improve ROI. At the same time, CRM enables sales personnel to efficiently track the customer journey and respond in real-time to customer behaviors. If an online ad is receiving few clicks, then marketers will know within a few hours if they should change content or try other venues.
Rather than pen and paper, CRM employs dashboards through which employees are able to easily access various touchpoints and view their data in numerous ways, including easy-to-understand bar graphs or other visual data graphics. The next stage of a typical customer journey provides another example of real-time information’s value. Once a customer is aware of an organization’s product or service they tend to conduct further research. They will likely visit the company’s website, read online reviews and spend more time on certain company web pages than others.
CRM can facilitate the ease with which a sales person can follow up with the researching customer. If a customer clicks through to a website’s landing page, then CRM will collect that information. If the customer fills out a form, then their contact information is automatically loaded into the CRM’s database. Once loaded, a sales person can instantly view the information through their dashboard through a range of filters. CRM filters are able to sift through data quickly and find the information a sales person needs. If a sales rep wants to find leads who were directed to the landing page from a particular advertisement, then they can do that in an instant. If a sales rep wants to find a lead who engaged with the product within the last 48 hours, they can do that, too.
Finally, we come to the purchase stage. CRM stores information on price points, time of sale, whether the purchase was made in-store or online and even how the customer paid. In this way, CRM provides the information businesses need to continuously improve the customer experience, eliminate pain points and increase sales.