In today’s financial atmosphere, it is important for companies to maximize sales and one important tool is CRM Systems.
The financial markets today demand that all companies increase their profits every year or face certain death.
Companies must do everything in its power to not only keep the customers it already has, but obtain new customers all the time, and sell their whole customer base more and more merchandise every year.
This is a tall order.
The only way to accomplish this is to employ technology to figure out what attracts people to their business, and people to use the results of that analysis to contact more and more potential customers as well as encouraging current customers to buy more and more merchandise.
To this end, customer relations management software, hardware, and experts are becoming ubiquitous in today’s market economy.
CRM System Goal
The goal of a customer relations management system is to maximize a company’s sales profits by finding multiple ways to reach out to customers and potential customers and turn them into financial assets that will increase the company’s bottom line for years to come.
The most basic task of a CRM is to integrate several different modes of customer contact into one data base, where a customer name can be typed in and a full set of that customer’s interactions with the company will show up on a “dashboard” if you will.
It will show records of any telephone calls, emails, social media interactions, snail-mail contacts, and an up-to-date record of the customer’s account, if such a thing exists, with the company.
It can show everything from a complete sales history (everything the customer has ever purchased from the company) to payment methods (cash, credit, or debit) to their normal shopping schedule and location.
When all of this information is collected in one computer program, it can analyze trends and recommend a course of action that would seem to be the way to go to boost sales.
The company will call what they are doing “customer support” in most cases, but the reality is more like “more profit” and the customer’s needs, rights, and privacy are reduced to meaningless buzzwords.
At one time, when small stores were the norm instead of an anomaly, the “CRM system” was a cashier or manager who knew their customers and their buying habits from long years of experience.
They would remember that Mr. Jones always came in Friday afternoon and would buy ten of a certain item if they were in stock, so they could make sure that ten of those items were in stock by noon on Friday in order to maximize their sales.
Today, of course, that is not possible, since the cashiers of today have nothing to do with ordering, stocking, or indeed any say in the running of the business at all, and the sheer numbers of customers frequenting a given business would make it impossible for a person to keep track of their information.
One of the side effects of the way money and our financial system works is the eventual and inevitable consolidation of all businesses into one, and as businesses increase in size, so do their customer bases.
What does the CRM Do?
The main goal of a CRM system is to integrate sales, marketing, and customer support, and tie all of that into an automated system that links the information together and allows the company to take advantage of the knowledge gained and the contacts initiated.
When a company can integrate and automate the sales force, it gives them the ability to track a client’s history, from potential client – with the promotional materials and advertising that was directed at that client prior to them becoming a client – to actual client.
Once they are an actual client, the system can track every contact they have with the company, as well as correlate promotional efforts with buying habits, track payment methods, and put all of that information at the fingertips of any sales representative throughout the company.
The marketing aspect of automation and integration means that a company can streamline their marketing process to make customers feel more involved in and engaged with the company.
This means that the system will focus on advertising in places where their potential customer is sure to see the marketing materials, and hopefully turn that potential customer into an actual customer.
CRM Marketing Coordination
The system may coordinate emails, social media ads, and call center activity to maximize the exposure of the potential client to the business.
After all, name recognition is one of the key components of customer acquisition. Once the potential client has become the actual client, then comes the automation of service.
The customer will receive support through many different channels, such as email, FAQs, telephone calls, and post-contact surveys.
This will increase the client’s interactions with the company, and hopefully result in a happier client who spends more money with the company.
After all the data has been collected, it is analyzed by the CRM software, using things like pattern recognition, data mining, and correlation to sort the information, resulting in the presentation of the information in a way that is easy to understand, and easy to extrapolate future actions from.
This allows the company to formulate future advertising and marketing plans, as well as allowing the company to understand current buying habits and shopping styles.
Marketing executives can then come up with ways to increase customer purchases through innovative programs incorporating everything from direct marketing to purchase incentives and rewards.
It is also possible to use this analysis to market products specifically to a subset of customers by identifying a unique need among those clients that is not shared by the bulk of the company’s clients.
CRM Information Sharing
CRM systems are ideally suited for information sharing between different aspects of the business community.
If a retailer shares customer purchasing information with a supplier, the supplier can better judge what type of inventory sells the best, and supply more of that and less of the items that do not sell as well.
When suppliers shares that information with a manufacturer of goods, more of the best-selling items are produced and less of the ones that don’t sell.
If many customer complaints are coming in through social media regarding the quality of an item, that information can be shared with the manufacturer’s quality control department, giving them the knowledge they need to rectify the problem.
All of this information sharing should, in theory, improve the client’s experience with the company, and streamline the company’s response to the client’s needs.
CRM System Goals
Any successful CRM system must be able to adapt to changing needs and requirements of the company’s clients, so that as the customer’s needs or buying habits change, the system can adapt to those changes and those charged with making the decisions can see the change and implement new ways to interact with those clients in order to continue to meet their needs.
Sorting customers into different groups with different needs can allow the company to individualize offers, rewards, and incentives that will boost sales from each group individually.
It is important, however, for the company to avoid giving blatantly unequal rewards to different groups for no discernable reason, as the perception of unfairness is a sure way to lose customers.
People can only be manipulated so far, after all.
CRM System Goals
The ultimate goal of the CRM system is to maximize profits through creating supremely satisfied customers that will spend large amounts of money at that company for the rest of their lives.
The system must focus on providing things that the customer wants.
Things like excellent customer service, seamless information sharing across different mediums, personal service and high-quality products.
The trick is to make the customer believe that they are receiving all of those things, while spending as little as possible on those aspects of the business, and maximizing sales at the same time.
Customer satisfaction is a crucial aspect of any business, and CRM systems can help a business to enhance customer satisfaction.
CRM System do this by analyzing everything from buying habits to demographics to customer complaints.
A trained manager can receive this data and discern areas where customer service could be improved.
Where marketing campaigns could have better effect.
And where the business could be more responsive to a certain group of clients.
They can see where a product needs improvement or where improving customer knowledge of products or services could boost sales.
CRM Data Analysis
Analysis of the CRM data can also show where the company is failing to show optimum performance levels, leading to better training and education for staff so that they interact more effectively with customers.
This should, in theory, improve the customer’s experience with the company, and turn them into a loyal, repeat customer.
Many large firms have implemented CRM analysis systems into their operations, and they report large increases in sales.
They believe that the CRM system enables them to offer the right product to the right customer, which in turn increases sales volume greatly.
It remains to be seen just how far the CRM system method can go in terms of increasing profits, but so far it shows great promise.