Explode Your Productivity with CRM Systems

Businesses have enjoyed dramatic improvements in productivity over the last several decades. One of the reasons why has been the rapid advancement in technology to organize and automate key processes in businesses. Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of those processes that has been made much easier with the development of novel software designs. By implementing a robust CRM system into a business's operations, significant efficiency improvements are possible.

If you have ever used Outlook, iCalendar, or a simple email program, technically you have used at least one low level CRM system if you are using these to manage interactions with your customers. In fact, for many small businesses this might be the only CRM system that they have. However, there are many more sophisticated systems available now that can dramatically improve your client communications infrastructure.

There are a wide variety of CRM solutions to chose from addressing many different processes within an organization. These systems can be used to create deep sales funnels to maximize the revenue per customer, promote customer retention, as well as facilitate the process of generating abundant targeted leads to put through this funnel. Many of these processes have data uploaded to the cloud so that the access to the information is shared and controlled by the appropriate people even if they are on separate continents.Sales Force Automation

Sales force automation (SFA) is a common example of a CRM strategy implemented through software to efficiently coordinate the acquisition of new clients. For example, targeted lists of prospects can be fed into the system triggering an automated follow up sequence. Marketing research has shown it takes multiple touches with a potential client over a short period of time to get high conversions. Thus, a sequence of direct mails, emails, calls, and other contact methods can be automatically scheduled in the database and assigned to the appropriate person in the organization at the proper time to make sure these contacts are happening. This increases the probability that hot leads are not accidentally dropped and maximizes conversion percentages.

One a customer is acquired, it is important to keep them happy so that retention rates remain high. Customer support systems can better manage such interactions by allowing them to quickly submit problems and requests to a database which can be accessed by anyone on the customer support team. The requests can then be automatically routed to the correct person depending on the type of inquiry, without the customer having to go through an endless menu of phone options or wait for extended period on the line to get a problem fixed.

Various CRM system implementations are a great way of generating feedback for a business. Reputation management systems for will prospectively solicit feedback from all customers. Generally speaking the only people who will go out of their way to provide feedback are people unhappy with the product. By providing these people with an avenue to vent their concerns a company lessens the probability of them commenting in a more public forum. This also gives them direct feedback to deal with these issues in a timely basis. By soliciting all customers you also have a greater chance of getting positive reviews, and then can put a system in place to encourage those people to submit those positive reviews to public forums.

CRM systems can also be put into place that maximize the value of their installed base of customers to get repeat business and encourage referrals. Email marketing systems such as autoresponders and SMS marketing systems can be powerful tools that can really enhance returns on capital. For example, if a restaurant is having a poor turnout on one night and risks food going bad, it can send an instant SMS or push messages to the mobile devices of clients offering a 30% one night discount so the food does not go to waste. Messages can also be sent out to customers offering discounts for referring friends or signing up with the company's social media pages.

Appointment CRMs are also a very powerful way of optimizing an organization's schedule and decreasing the probability of missed appointments. For example, an organization could allow one to schedule appointments online, decreasing the burdens on receptionists. With these online systems reminders can be sent out before the appointment via email and SMS alerts, so that people do not forget or are reminded that they need to reschedule an appointment that they no longer can make. This decreases the probability of unnecessary vacancies in the workday.

One big advantages of all of the CRM systems is that they generate tons of data on all your customer interactions. A business can mine this data to find opportunities to track their results and see exactly what processes might be bottlenecks in their customer acquisition and retention strategy. Campaigns that offer lower returns on investment can be quickly identified and resources diverted to those strategies that offer the best results.

There are a wide variety of providers of CRM solutions, which are usually custom-tailored to individual niches. The largest CRM providers primarily provide expensive and robust systems for large multinational clients. The largest CRM software provider is SAP AG, followed by Oracle, Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and Amdocs. The overall size of the market in 2012 was estimated to be between $11 trillion and $18 trillion, depending on how how one categorizes CRM services.

SaaS CRMOne increasing trend in CRM management is the widespread adoption of software as a service (SaaS). With this model, software providers are commonly referred to as application service providers (ASPs) and do not sell their programs through one-time license fees, but rather through a monthly subscription fee. Usually the software is located on their servers and accessed via the web browser. This has the advantage eliminating most computer compatibility issues and insuring software is installed correctly and with the most up to date version. Roughly 40% of CRM systems currently function on the SaaS model.

By incorporating a comprehensive customer relationship model into your business, you can better acquire new customers, retain existing customers, and extract a greater dollar value per customer by optimizing the processing in your business. A good CRM system could be exactly what your business needs to take it to the next level in terms of profitability.

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