In my first post, I introduced the concept of an organizational shift in focus regarding CRM systems, whereby the focus is not so much on the functional/tactical expectations (i.e., being a sales force automation tool), but rather on the desired business outcomes, and how this shift is driving solutions with greater efficacy. With this new approach, the CRM solution is aligned with the business objectives that are tied directly to business growth goals.
- Improve customer relationships
- Improve business optimization & efficiency
- A better experience for everyone involved including the sales and customer service folks
In this entry, I’d like to highlight what many of our customers consider the first priority for achieving that alignment: Visibility.
When I refer to visibility, I am referring the ability to monitor, present, and take action in real time. So why is this increased visibility so important? It is really fairly simple: we are constantly expected to do more with less; to be ready with answers when our prospects/customers/clients asked for them; therefore, it is necessary to be positioned to respond efficiently, in a manner that demonstrates competency and builds trust with every interaction.
Here are 6 of our customer’s most common goals when it comes to visibility, and few examples of how a more advanced CRM solution can be applied to guide them to improved business outcomes:
Goal #1: The ability to see and understand all of the organization’s interactions with a prospect, customer, or client in one, easily accessible location, including information from the organization’s other systems.
- Allows for efficient preparation for both planned and unplanned prospect/customer/client interactions, demonstrating efficiency and productivity
- Provides answers quickly, and address questions from internal and external resources regarding a specific prospect/customer/client
- Reduces time spent in pursuit of other department team members attempting to ascertain status and activity related information regarding a specific prospect/customer/client
Goal #2: The ability to quickly understand the information gathered, and identify the data needed to accurately access the status of a business opportunity or case (customer service), determine the appropriate next actions, and have confidence in the accuracy of the pipeline/forecast/case list based on that information.
- Ensures that the appropriate information is either requested, or shared during interactions with prospects/customers/clients
- Plan strategy for how to approach and engage prospects/customers/clients
- Utilizes a consistent, proven process to address a sales opportunity, or a client service request, in a manner that is effective for both the internal team as well as the prospect/customer
Goal #3: To have all team members, from across departments and who are interacting with the prospect, customer, or client, contribute to the activities or engagement points pertaining to that account, and to be knowledgeable regarding any activities that may affect the relationship.
- Facilitates the inside and outside sales teams to work together; enables understanding of the activities and interactions with prospects/customers/clients, ultimately driving efficiency, as well as a positive “customer” experience
- Ensures that the inside and outside sales teams see all of the marketing activities and responses relative to a specific prospect/customer/client, resulting in effective, accurate responses to inquiries from specific marketing messages or documents
- Allows the customer support team have access to the account profile, enabling them to be aware of the potential for additional opportunities, or pertinent information that could influence this customer/client’s engagement, experience, and satisfaction
Goal #4: Desire to proactively communicate specific messages with prospects and customers/clients based on actions, and have each message tracked, analyzed, and processed in the system to increase awareness of, and support for, the activities of the business teams.
- Visualize every “engagement” with your organization, such that activities may be tracked, processed, and assigned to the appropriate resource for timely, professional follow-up
- Search and view a database in real-time, providing your team members with information on products, services, processes or issue resolution, as well as answers to inquiries, or general information that supplies your team members with the tools to satisfy prospects/customer/client inquiries in an expedient, efficient manner
- Evaluate the reaction to an email message sent to a group of prospects/customers/clients, and can perform real-time adjustments in order to increase your message’s impact
Goal #5: The ability to see all information regarding a specific topic, function, or prospect/customer/client, presented in multiple formats to help identify trends and opportunities
Goal #6: The ability to see and understand the actions and activities of each team member to assist them in the performance of their job responsibilities and duties to help them excel in their roles.
- Provides leaders with easy access to information regarding how their team members are using the processes available in the system, presenting the opportunity to coach your team on the best way to maximizing their strategy or increase productivity, thus advancing an opportunity, a case, and ultimately, boosting their overall performance
- Lends itself to a better understanding of team members’ current workloads, allowing for review and adjustment of those workloads so as to not compromise prospects/customers/clients support
- Quickly assess leads/inquiries, or existing prospects/customers/clients who have not interacted with the organization during a specific time; then create activities for team members to follow up on to generate opportunities, improve relationships, and drive greater customer satisfaction
In my next entry, I’ll focus on how our customers are making the shift to use their CRM system as a means to improve the way their teams work and collaborate.
If you would like to discuss how your team could benefit from realigning your CRM system with your business goals, please contact me here, and I’ll be happy to coordinate a time to talk with you and your team.
Read the other blog posts related to the Affiliated series on CRM Optimization: