No matter what kind of product or service you offer, your customers are at the center of your business. But as you know, keeping track of them and managing those relationships throughout the sales cycle is no easy feat. You need to be able to easily and quickly identify new leads from current customers. You need to send the right marketing messages at the right time to each customer, so first-time buyers become repeat customers and repeat clients become brand champions. Your customer support team needs to have access to the same information as your sales, marketing, and tech support teams if you want them to provide your clients with the best possible experience.
However, many companies are failing in one or more of these instances because they are mismanaging all of their customer data by storing it in multiple, disconnected systems. When you have just a handful of clients, this approach might be ok, but it is certainly not scalable as your business grows. And, ultimately, running your business like this will result in missed opportunities and lost revenue. You can avoid these pitfalls, and many more, by using a contact management software solution.
Contact management software also called customer relationship management software or CRM for short, is much more than a digital phonebook. It brings together core business-oriented apps for customer service, marketing, sales, and even finance into one unified solution. It serves the needs of your business from every angle by streamlining all of your interactions with each customer, so anyone in the company can know a customer’s history and how to best move forward with them.
By far the biggest benefit of having a contact management software in place is the fact that all of your customer data – from conversations to purchase history and everything in between – remain together. Every team will be able to be more efficient and productive since they don’t have to toggle from one application to another to see the behavior of a customer and how to serve them best when interaction is needed.
You can’t use scraps of paper and sticky notes to keep important information organized. In order for you to effectively communicate with your customers, you need to be able to record every interaction in the same place. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to repeat their history every time they contact you. With a contact management solution implemented, one glance at the contact’s digital file is all you’ll need to be up to speed.
This is where the old saying “garbage in, garbage out”comes into play. Data entry is one of the most tedious tasks any employee has to face, and it’s all too easy to make a typo. Today, businesses rely on customer data to inform their strategies and decision-making process. The best CRM automate much of the data entry process which greatly reduces human error and keeps your records as clean as possible.
Do you send out a special offer after a first time purchase in order to encourage repeat business? Maybe you initiate a flow of email campaigns when a new lead fills out a form on your landing page. Keeping track of these types of activities and trying to handle them manually is a time-consuming task and one that often falls through the cracks for some clients if it’s not automated. A contact management software solution will take care of all of this for you, freeing up valuable time so your team can focus on bringing in new leads or closing more deals.
When your team uses multiple applications, each has its own interface and user experience. Buttons are in different places, features function differently, and so on. Teams need to learn each platform which takes time and results in lost productivity. However, since contact management software combines all of your business apps into one solution, the experience becomes unified. And, since CRMS have been around for a while, most providers have had plenty of time to build user-friendly solutions which cut down on time-to-use.
Today’s best client relationship management solutions are cloud-based and for a good reason. We no longer live in a time in which customers are ok with companies operating 9am-5pm, five days a week. Customers expect service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so a cloud-based platform enables your team to access information at the drop of a hat. Remote employees or those who work on the weekends won’t be hampered by the fact that they aren’t in a physical location and sales teams can update info in real-time as they meet with new clients off-site.
Even though you are using your client relationship management software for a lot of communication, marketing, and sales tasks, you are also collecting a ton of data on customer behavior – both at an individual level and as a whole. For example, if you need to know what type of customer is buying a particular product, you can generate reports from your CRM and check your data. This can lead to business insights that are undiscoverable if all your systems aren’t in one place.
You can’t pay your employees, let alone make a profit if you’re not keeping track of all of your finances. A good contact management software will give you the ability to see if a marketing campaign had a positive ROI or if a particular coupon code generated more sales. Additionally, and this goes along with the previously mentioned automation aspects, you can set up auto-generated invoices and follow-ups for those customers who didn’t pay.
Sometimes your company might need to use another piece of technology that isn’t built into the contact management software. Most solutions make it easy to integrate external platforms so you can send data back and forth with just a few clicks. If this applies to you, make sure you do some research and choose a solution that has this capability.
When you look at all the benefits, it’s pretty easy to see why contact management software is a key component for running any modern business.
While there is an initial investment when adding a contact management solution to your business, the time it will save you, in the long run, makes it a wise investment. CRMs tend to boost cross-department productivity which effectively saves you time. Less data entry and automating routine processes are also huge time savers. Being able to identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities will help bolster your sales. And, when you consider the amount you spend on multiple tech solutions, you will find that a contact management solution is the right way to go.
The short answer is yes. Whether you’re a solopreneur, small business, or an enterprise, every business in every industry, can reap the benefits and rewards that a client relationship management solution offers. Both B2B and B2C companies will find that the best contact management software solutions keep their businesses running smoothly and enable employees from every team to be more efficient. Running a company is already an overwhelming task, but it can be made much simpler if you have the right tools and processes in place.