Think Outside the Box When Selecting a CRM Solution

When selecting a CRM Solution Are you struggling to differentiate one CRM solution from the myriad of others? Of course you are and here is why. For the most part the majority of CRM systems targeted at small to mid-size businesses are all the same, differentiated primarily by price.

These systems are generically designed to capture, track, manage and share information. But let’s face it, how many ways are there to add a new company, a contact, or a note into a CRM system? There’s only one. How about adding a new lead, a sales opportunity or a follow-up activity? One again. So if the majority of the systems you are evaluating are all alike how in the world are you going to identify the best one for your business? Read on and I will tell you.

First, you need to start by thinking outside the box. If the majority of the CRM systems you evaluating all have similar features and functions, then you need to expand your evaluation criteria beyond just features and functions. Start with an evaluation of the company. How long have they been in business, where do they host your data and what type of back-up and recovery services do they provide. Have them explain the on-boarding process and what type of training will be provided. What level of professional services does the company offer? Do they have expertise in providing best practices for improving sales execution, target marketing and automating customer service? Will you have telephone access to these resources or will you be required to send an e-mail and hope for a response? How will they ensure that you will realize the maximum value from their software? These are the areas that differentiate one CRM provider from another and they are very important, but we are not done yet.

The key thing you should be doing to be comfortable that you are making the right decision is what I refer to as “Proof of Value”. CRM vendors will all try to convince you that they have more features than their competition and that their product is easier to use. That’s all well and good, but that’s not why you are looking to implement a CRM system. You probably started off looking for a solution to address one or two specific business challenges. That’s the priority. Don’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in a feature function war because it’s not about who has the most features or the lowest price – it’s about who can best address your specific business requirements. What you need from the solution provider is Proof of Value.

Proof of Value means you need to see how the solution provider will successfully address your business requirements.

Let’s say for example that your company is not generating quality leads. You are getting leads, but they are not qualified and fizzle out very quickly leaving the sales team and management frustrated. This could be the result of several issues. Perhaps you do not have the proper marketing mix for lead generation. Maybe your message is attracting the wrong prospects or you have not properly targeted the right audience for your product or service. That’s why you need a CRM solution right? Well not so fast, I am sorry to tell you that no CRM solution on its own will address this problem. Sure you can use CRM to create some templates and send bulk e-mails, but this business challenge requires more than sending more marketing campaigns. Let’s take a step back and revisit my recommendation for thinking outside the box. Most CRM systems have a marketing module for sending out bulk emails and they are all pretty much the same, so you need to be looking at those that can add value services for “Proof of Value.” – Read more

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Improve Your Sales Outcomes by Using CRM Predictive Analytics

Organizations typically utilize multiple sales tech software to bring in more customers. However, having more of these tools doesn’t necessarily equate to more products sold. Sometimes, the only thing that your sales and marketing team needs is the right CRM system and its predictive analytics to secure more deals.

So how can CRM predictive analytics boost the company’s sales outcome? By discovering qualified leads, organizing prospect contact, tracking call outcomes, proving better product prices, and retaining more customers, the secured sales of a company may increase steadily thanks to CRM predictive analytics.

What CRM Predictive Analytics is and How it Can Improve Your Business

Customer relationship management (CRM) software serves as the anchor for the sales team in an organization. In 2019, around 74% of businesses in the country utilize CRM for better access to their customer data. However, most of these businesses are not aware of the full capabilities that the right CRM software can bring them. Most CRM software feature AI-informed predictive analytics which can help the organization boost sales outcomes.

Predictive analytics is simply the utilization of historical data on customer behavior to create a more accurate prediction of future results. Thanks to machine learning and other technology like CRM software, predictive analytics can parse more data and produce more accurate predictions without requiring long manual processing hours.

There are several predictive analytic theories out there, but only three of them can help you create smarter decisions about improving the sales in your company.

3 Types of Predictive Analytics

1. Sequencing

This type of business analytics is about analyzing the probability of a potential customer buying the product if they perform other actions. For example, if a person downloads a whitepaper and clicks a pricing page, what’s the possibility that they will buy the product too?

The concept of sequencing came from the works of A.A. Markov, a Russian mathematician. His works about probability theory state that an action is equally likely to happen if the two previous actions occurred first. All you have to do is observe the historical patterns of actions A and B to predict the likelihood of action C happening.

2. Cross-Selling

Cross-selling utilizes the analytic data to predict what companion products a buyer may purchase. The best example of this predictive analytics is the “frequently bought with” suggestions – an effective marketing strategy found in online selling sites like Amazon.

This strategy has a higher success rate for existing customers than potential ones. Using the key customer data collected by the CRM, it’s easier to analyze their buying habits and suggest companion products whenever they visit a pricing page.

3. Lack of Action

While the first two types are about interpreting the existing data about a customer, lack of action focuses on the behavior of the customers that have stopped buying from the company. One of the possible reasons why a customer’s communication with a brand wanes is due to an unsatisfactory product or service. By identifying the cause of their dissatisfaction, it’s possible to reach out and save the relationship.

CRM is helpful in this case because the software can analyze trends or patterns that you can use to create a “fall-off” model. By combining the pattern collected in the “fall-off” model and the sequencing data, the team can identify which buyers are likely to buy the product.

5 Ways to Boost Your Sales with CRM Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics has become widely used by different companies and organizations because it is an effective sales strategy to boost sales outcomes. Here are five ways that CRM predictive analytics can help your business grow:

1. Discover Qualified Leads

Lead scoring is a practice that’s much older than machine learning or predictive analytics itself. It’s the method of determining which among the potential buyers are likely to purchase the product using luck, guesswork, and spreadsheet data. But with the recent advancement in technology, lead scoring has become more accurate and less time-consuming.

CRM predictive analytics allows the sales team to determine which among the interested parties can become customers, as well as how long they can continue buying from the brand. By identifying which potential buyers to focus on, the team can dedicate most of their time and efforts to fruitful transactions.

The predictive analytics today can allow the team to access important information about the buyer, such as how similar the product is to the customer’s needs and how far a potential customer is from buying the product. It can even predict which member among the sales team is likely to secure the purchase.

2. Organize Prospect Contact

Analytical solutions like CRM predictive analytics allow team members to have more productive transactions. With the right information, agents will have to spend less time on the wrong transaction.

The right information can advise the team which customer to call and when it’s best to call them. CRM predictive analytics analyzes the information about the potential buyer, including the number of calls needed before a conversation is reached. It also includes data such as email open rate and length of sales talk time from past interactions.

These kinds of information help the sales team form a strategy and the marketing team plan a campaign while reducing administrative tasks and increasing contact time with the prospect. – Read More

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How CRM Helps Manufacturing Businesses Accelerate Their Marketing and Sales

As a manufacturer, it can be tempting to ignore your need for customer relationship management software (CRM). After all, your focus is mostly on your supply chain, production, and distribution. However, leaving your customers as figures on a spreadsheet can close many marketing and sales opportunities to you.

So how can CRM systems help manufacturers boost their sales and marketing? A strong CRM system primarily assists manufacturers by fostering a better understanding of who their customers are. With CRM functions, a manufacturing company can efficiently track sales pipelines, implement marketing campaigns, and perform more activities that improve their customer engagement. 

Why You Need CRM For Sales and Marketing

Customer relationship management software are tools that enable you to manage and improve your relationships with prospects and customers alike. CRM technology is built to give businesses a database about their customers and how these customers interact with the enterprise at every touchpoint. The two departments in every company that benefit the most from using CRM are sales and marketing.

CRM for Sales

As sales reps do their research and field work, they come back with plenty of data about customers and prospects. With CRM, they can spend more time building relationships and nurturing leads instead of manually typing or organizing information.

Aside from helping sales reps perform better, a centralized CRM also allows sales managers to track sales team performance and identify any bottlenecks that are clogging up company growth. Since everyone shares their information on one platform, performance hurdles become much clearer to upper management.

CRM for Marketing

Even better, the customer database on a centralized CRM won’t be limited for sales team use. They can share relevant, updated information with marketing so this team would know the customers to best prepare campaigns for. Maybe a prospect had a question and the sales rep typed this in the CRM. Instead of forgetting or misplacing a note, marketing would be able to see the query and maybe create content around that concern.

Marketing would have a better handle on what can capture potential customers and create more focused, targeted messages with CRM. Your marketing team would also see which campaigns were successful and can easily replicate what worked.

To sum it up, CRM can support your business in its marketing and sales efforts by cutting down the time you spend on manual data-entry and providing you valuable, fresh insights about your customers.

CRM vs ERP: What’s the Difference?

Businesses rely on two software solutions to automate their core business processes. CRM is one and enterprise resource planning (ERP) is another. Both are crucial data repositories that provide support for multiple departments. The best way to describe what makes them different is that CRM is for front-office management while ERP focuses on back-office tasks.

CRM mostly takes care of customers and tracks how they interact with the business. Initially, this software was conceptualized as sales force automation (SFA), with customer service and marketing thrown into the mix later on.

On the other hand, ERP combines financial and operational data onto a central database so businesses can make data-driven decisions quickly. Originally, ERP began as material requirements planning (MRP) which served as a system for manufacturers to monitor and manage all the resources they needed to operate the enterprise successfully.

At its core, ERP technology is all about managing finances, orders, inventory, and the supply chain. Some ERP software also touch a bit on production, procurement, distribution, and even HR or eCommerce.

In the manufacturing industry, ERP is an essential tool to have so it’s highly likely that you’re already using one. However, nearly all growing companies will eventually need to use both platforms to promote sustainable, scalable growth. After all, you can’t take on more customers without the right resources. You won’t be able to tap into all the rich data by relying on spreadsheets and sticky notes alone.

Whether or not you’re a small-midsize business or a thriving enterprise, it’s best to integrate CRM with your ERP rather than maintaining them separately. – Read more

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