Strategies for CRM Implementation
CRM stands for ''Customer Relationship Management'' and refers to a structured approach to managing relations with your customers, from the lead/prospect stage, during the sales process, sales closure, to customer support and marketing.
CRM software is normally 'hosted' (installed) in-house, meaning you buy or lease servers and buy the software and licenses to own the software and hardware outright.
Or, more recently, the trend is to run the software in 'the cloud', which means a 'cloud service provider' looks after the hardware and software and all upgrades, fixes and data backups for you, and users 'subscribe' to the service, normally via a monthly fee, and access the system via the internet and a browser. No hardware is required, no software, no IT support team.
An example on a cloud CRM solution is Zoho CRM.
How Does a CRM Benefit My Business?
CRM software can be of tremendous benefit to all kinds of businesses of all sizes. Whether you are a one man show working from home, a Sole Trader building up a business, a small business or large enterprise, a CRM can help in the following ways:
- Automation of labour intensive processes such as emailing, quotations, invoices
- Mass mailing to prospects and customers to advertise products, services and promotions
- Accept leads from your website, convert them to sales
- Log important sales activities such as appointments, calls and emails
- Integrate with Zoho Books for small business accounting
- Integrate with Zoho Projects for project management and task tracking
- Integrate with Zoho Support to provide automated customer service
Before implementing a CRM strategy we recommend thinking about what areas you need to improve and to come up with some basic 'metrics' that you can measure, such as:
- Reduced sales lifecycle time
- Faster turn around time for quotations and invoices
- More efficient emailing
- Greater upsell opportunities
- Higher sales volumes
- More efficient customer support
You do not need to go into minute detail, indeed the chances are that you may not be able to take any measurements of current metrics as you may not have a tracking system. But by identifying the main 'pain points', you can start to think about areas of CRM you want to implement first and of certain metrics you consider important to improve.
Businesses that implement a CRM solution often see substantial improvements in business processes, team collaboration and business profit.
Most normal CRM systems are divided into three (but not restricted to) three main modules:
- Customer Service
The CRM marketing functions allow you to create marketing strategies for your business. For example, if you are a sole trader but you want to offer your existing clients a special Xmas discount, you can add the 'campaign' in the CRM, along with all associated tasks: create flyers, distribute mails, send email campaign, etc.
You can also tie the email campaign in with a link to a form on your website and then all interested leads that are generated from the campaign will be associated with that campaign.
Ultimately,any sales that result from the campaign will be recorded in the CRM as revenue, giving you an accurate 'Return on investment' (ROI) on your campaign.
Implementing a CRM is about thinking ahead and building the foundations for your business,so that is has the infrastructure to expand. Don't make the mistake of thinking "I'm just a home business, I don't need that"! Marketing 'campaigns' can be anything: Xmas offers, Summer discounts, trade shows,TV ads, magazine commercials, newspaper ads, Facebook campaigns... anything that is designed to generate new business.
The point is: the CRM makes the whole process more efficient, more structured and gives you an accurate idea of how well the campaigns are doing in terms of revenues earned and therefore return on your investment.
The CRM Sales module helps you to really analyse and improve your sales processes from start to finish including lead generation and capture, to lead qualification and conversion, through to quotations and invoicing.
Whether you are a Sole Trader, a home business, or a small-medium enterprise, a CRM allows you or your Sales teams to convert more leads to sales by capturing important interactions with customers (calls, meetings, emails etc) and tracking the sales life cycle from start to finish, even integrating sales to your accounting system, for example Zoho CRM, integration with Zoho Books.
Typically information stored on an opportunity is as follows:
- Prospect – company details etc,
- Type of sale (service, support, product etc)
- Expected sales revenue
- Expected closing date
- Key people in the sale and their roles (decision maker, influencer etc)
- Key sales-related dates and milestones
- Communications with the prospect at each stage of the sale
A CRM system can help improve sales efficiency as it provides function to help reduce sales time, such as repetitive email templates, call scripts and so on, plus quotation and invoice templates, thank you notes and reminders and so on.
Quotation and Invoice Management
Hopefully,at some stage in the sale you will need to send the prospect a Quotation or better, an Invoice! A CRM helps automate this process by exporting professional looking templates and pulling in the information you or your sales team enter in the above sales stage.
Accounting and Payment Tracking
CRM systems such as Zoho CRM integrate with other Zoho business solutions such as Zoho Invoice, or Zoho Books, an online accounting system, so that you can track payments for the invoices you issue and even accept online payments via PayPal and other online payment gateways.
If you already use another business accounting solution, it is possible to integrate Zoho CRM to other 3rd party accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero via our Zoho Connectors.
This concerns the third part of the 360 degree view of your customers - how you support them after a sale has been made.
A CRM allows you to manage customer support by structuring the process in terms of being able to log support 'cases' which have unique ticket numbers and also solutions to commonly occurring cases.
Zoho CRM also integrates with a more powerful online HelpDesk solution called Zoho Support, which provides extensive customer-centric functions such as dedicated support email parsing, self service support articles,support request responses, live chat and more.
The end result: a better support platform for your customers, resulting in happier customers, resulting in more repeat business!
The greatest thing is about the above is that all of this can be done from your mobile phone or tablet wherever you may be! You / Your team are no longer restricted to working from the office only, they can be fully mobile and as the data resides in the cloud, it is updated in real time via their mobile device. Scenarios where this is really useful are field sales, field support, project management, on site invoicing and more.
Whether you are a Sole Trader, a home business doing e-commerce, a small business or large enterprise, a CRM solution can substantially improve your business processes by providing visibility into your business and thus giving you critical business intelligence you need to make important decisions. In addition it makes you and your teams far more efficient. your teams more efficient.
Contact us for more information and ideas on how Zoho can be implemented in your business.