This is a guest post by Terence Orpilla, AvePoint Product Manager
(Note: This is part of our series “Collaborate with Confidence”. Previous posts: SharePoint Productivity: Apps Aren’t Just for Smart Phones)
Many businesses today are implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms worldwide to help standardize and track sales progress and productivity. There are many challenges in CRM implementation that center on aligning the CRM process with sales team processes, as well as user adoption or user buy-in. Once these challenges have been overcome, productivity increases tremendously. How? Here are five ways a solid CRM system can increase business productivity.
CRM allows you to keep a history of all your records.
A good number of sales users like to keep all of the history surrounding each account in one place: their heads. This may work for the salesperson, but it’s not useful for the rest of the team. If managers want to review an account, they would have to get in contact with the sales rep via email, phone, or in-person, just to get a single detail. If every touch point with the customer was logged and tracked in CRM, the managers could review the account on their own time, making knowledge transfer that much quicker.
What happens if the sales rep leaves the company or gets transferred to another department? How will anyone know the history of those accounts? A new sales rep would have to schedule a sync-up meeting with the customer and start from scratch. If the history of communication was kept in CRM, the new sales rep could easily pick up where things left off.
CRM allows for better reporting and analysis.
CRM is a great repository for business intelligence (BI) analysts to analyze and report on trends that are occurring in an organization. The problem is, if CRM users are reluctant to log all information into the system, reports can be inaccurate. Garbage in, garbage out. Let’s say that a BI expert comes in and tries to perform an analysis on support cases. One particular trend that’s interesting is to see whether or not the number of cases has reduced over a period of time. If the trend shows the number of cases is going down, this can mean that customer experience is improving, or that support reps are reluctant to log all of their support cases. If strict policies are set in place for logging CRM data, trend analysis and reports will get more accurate.
CRM integrates with many business applications.
CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrates with a wide range of other business applications. For instance, there’s a Microsoft Outlook plugin that can be installed where all emails can be automatically attached to a customer record. For phone call activity, there are various integration tools that allow you to connect your CRM platform to a Private Branch Exchange system of your choice. Also in Dynamics CRM, business analysts can easily export data into Microsoft Excel or PowerPivot to take advantage of their analysis tools.
CRM is getting more social.
There are more than one billion people using social media to communicate these days, according to a recent report. It’s safe to say that a good majority of people today are comfortable and familiar with how social media works. This is why other software vendors are including more social-type functions into their platforms. Dynamics CRM has integration with Yammer, an enterprise social network. Salesforce.com is using its Chatter functionality for social as well. With social features enabled, employees can view a timeline of activities that are happening throughout the company and comment on each other’s actions for collaboration. Sales managers also have a much easier way to review the progress of the day as opposed to running a custom report.
CRM automates day-to-day tasks.
CRM systems allow you to customize the platform to align with your sales process, but also allows you to automate some day-to-day tasks as well. Whether this means automatic emails being sent out or having an easier way to generate quotes for a customer, CRM can be utilized to minimize the amount of steps it takes to complete a certain task. With this much automation in place, you can free up some time so that your CRM users can spend it having longer interactions with more customers.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are many challenges when it comes to user adoption of any new system – including CRM. With rigorous design, planning, and training, you will gain trust with users. Once a CRM system is fully embraced, you will see your organization become more productive, allowing you to expand and grow your business.#BusinessIntelligence #customerrelationshipmanagement #productivity #ElectronicRecordsManagement #Records-Management