Benefits of Customer relationship management (CRM)
Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution might involve considerable time and expense. However, there are many potential benefits:
A major benefit can be the development of better relations with your existing customers, which can lead to:
- increased sales through better timing (by anticipating needs based on historic trends)
- identifying needs more effectively (through understanding specific customer requirements)
- cross-selling of products by highlighting and suggesting alternatives or enhancements
identifying which of your customers are profitable and which are not
This can lead to better marketing of your products or services by focusing on:
Ultimately this could lead to:
enhanced customer satisfaction and retention, ensuring that your good reputation in the marketplace continues to grow
increased value from your existing customers and reduced cost associated with supporting and servicing them, increasing your overall efficiency and reducing total cost of sales and marketing
improved profitability by focusing on the most profitable customers and dealing with the unprofitable in more cost effective ways
Once your business starts to look after its existing customers effectively, efforts can be concentrated on finding new customers and expanding your market. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to identify new prospects and increase your customer base.
Even with years of accumulated knowledge, there's always room for improvement. Customer needs change over time, and technology can make it easier to find out more about customers and ensure that everyone in an organisation can exploit this information.
Types of CRM
Application service providers can provide aweb-based CRM solution for your business. This approach is ideal if you need to implement a solution quickly and your company does not have the in-house skills necessary to tackle the job from scratch. you might also have a limited budget and prefer not to invest a moderate amount of money to implement a CRM solution in-house. It is also a good solution if you are already geared towards online e-commerce.
Several software companies offer CRM applications that integrate with existing software packages. Cut-down versions of such software may be suitable for smaller businesses. This approach is generally the cheapest option as you are investing in standard software components. The downside is that the software may not always do precisely what you want and you may have to trade off functionality for convenience and price. The key to success is to be flexible without compromising too much.
For the ultimate in tailored CRM solutions, consultants and software engineers (at TransitionSoft for example) will customise or create a CRM system and integrate it with your existing software. However, this can be expensive and time consuming. If you choose this option, make sure you carefully specify exactly what you want. This will usually be the best option and costs will vary depending on what your specific needs are.
A half-way house between bespoke and outsourced solutions, this involves renting a customised suite of CRM applications as a bespoke package. This can be cost effective but it may mean that you have to compromise in terms of functionality. Professionals such as consultants and software engineers (at TransitionSoft for example) will manage the system or train certain members of your staff to be able to use the combination of software to get up and running.
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