Entrepreneur Purchasing Recommendations: CRM
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- Business Founder
- Why CRM?
- Markets and Growth Possibilities with CRM
- Implementation Considerations
Most business owners would tend to agree that they don't necessarily think of themselves as entrepreneurs, they are just people running a business, making things go, getting past challenges, keeping their eye on the prize. They know the business, the markets, the processes and anticipate steady growth based on these understandings.
These companies tend to meet their business targets in terms of sales, and will often surpass targets because the owners have the vision and dedication to grow the business to a particular state. But it is at this point companies differentiate their ongoing success from moderate success to near miss.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an option for businesses at the crossroads of growth, plateau, change and status quo. It is an option when looking for ways to move a business forward, and to position for future markets and technology.
Many businesses grow predictably and enjoy success in a range of ways, over varying periods of time. Often a business will start with one or more owners, a clear vision of the market and product, and dedication that is typical of entrepreneurial spirit. With hard work and perseverance the business is a success and everyone carries along until the markets plateau, and may actually begin to fall off. This may happen because the market saturates, or changes, or the product(s) need refreshing, or because of a need to change the marketing/sales process.
One of the hardest things about running a business or organization, is making things happen, quickly. Customers and clients are changing, the market conditions are changing, and so must the approach to service and retention.
Oftentimes the problem is that the company has outgrown its owners, and if it is to survive, it must undertake to begin new processes and alignments that may seem foreign to the owners who have faithfully shepherded the company through the perils and pains of growth.
This is often the time to consider the possibilities of integrated CRM/ERP solutions.
The introduction of CRM software requires a dedication and commitment to a new way of doing business, with the customer as the key business driver. But the customer has always been a priority you say.
Wonderful, and with CRM it is possible to make the customer 'the' business driver, and to automate processes in order to capture customer information as an asset in servicing and retention and sales activities.
In this way it is possible to extract and manipulate information to influence marketing and sales activities in a very positive way. The result is in capturing information that presents micro and macro customer purchasing activities, customer preferences, spending patterns and service preferences. Which leads to improved sales for the company.
As an entrepreneur, the best part of running a business is the feeling you get as you watch it grow. Each success and every breakthrough is a triumph. Unfortunately though, it is not always possible to remain in this positive state, particularly if you happen to sail into the doldrums.
There are many recognized buying patterns, and it is acknowledged that there are periods where markets are very soft and most organizations have planned ways to manage this. There are also times when an organization has enjoyed steady growth, and then seems to founder, for no apparent reason. There are a myriad of possible reasons that this could be happening but short of total catastrophe, there are also many ways to work out of the situation. It seldom involves sitting and waiting for 'better weather'.
It might mean initiating new partner relationships based on financial, product and/or service agreements. It is possible to re-align business processes to improve efficiencies. It may mean elimination of old processes all together, and introduction to new ones. Any combination of these things are possibilities to improving sales and services activities to move business forward out of the doldrums. It is all change however, and it means work and requires dedication to follow through.
Computerization has changed the way companies are approaching their CRM strategies because it has also changed consumer buying behavior. With each new advance in technology more of the relationship is being managed electronically.
Customer relationship management (CRM) marries and delivers, methodologies, and technologies that support businesses to manage customer relationships. The general purpose of CRM is to enable organizations to better manage customers with quality systems, processes and procedures.
The bid to automate processes led many to think of CRM as a software, but this is not appropriate as it is a truly a service with three key components:
As discussed earlier, there are times when a business may need to look at process improvements. This is almost always done as a result of poor performance in the market, and is undertaken as a remedy to the situation.
No matter the reason, it has become clear that CRM services are an option to remedy inefficiencies.
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