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How Does CRM help you grow?

Traditionally CRM is defined as Marketing, Sales and Support - what used to be called 'customer-facing' before Enterprise Cloud CRM was a thing. Now, you can add back-office, eCommerce, ERP, Accounting, you name it, as part of the solution, ie 'the CRM'. Now every job is customer facing as the website and app become the way customers and leads interact with the organization. Sales Force Automation, however as a sub-set of a good CRM system must be a centerpiece of the offering.

Sales Force Automation includes Prospecting, Opportunity Management, Sales Pipeline Managment and Forecasting as well. CPQ with Quotes and Invoices with inventory management are also a huge part of many organizations Sales process. Sales is about aligning customer wants/needs with a solution that meets or exceeds their need, at a fair price. Back in the day you could rely on having a phone conversation to speak with your potential customers/clients and at least have a conversation and give you a chance to put your best foot forward. Existing customers would call you and give you plenty of warning before shopping around for a competitor to replace you. These days, most buyers have made most of their decisions on the top choices via the web first, and this is fundamentally different. Customers can research a replacement for you 24/7/365 and are doing so.

So how does a company grow in the new Sales era of the web? Use the Web.

Still today, with all that has changed, a phone conversation or web conference is one of the highest forms of communication, aside from face-to-face. Many organizations think using a Cloud meeting system and sharing documents in the Cloud and having spreadsheets and documents online are enough to have a Cloud-enabled company. While having access to your information anywhere anytime is definetly more convenient and saves time, but it does nothing to address the way buyers are interacting with your business and employees.

Today's buyers want to do independant research through Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. They want to signup for more information, or read a document, subscribe to a trial, request a call-back, communicate via email, and be updated in real time with information that is going to help them at that point in time, without overburdening them with garbage. The only system that can automate the interactions between your Sales and have a direct impact on your business, in record time, is a good Cloud SFA system.

But SFA is not enough. Sales needs qualified leads to followup on opportunity, close deals, get referrals and upsells, cross-sell complimentary products and services. A qualified lead may be a brand new customer, or it could be a new opportunity with an existing customer, it is all about managing what types of opportunities you have, and how to react in the different milestones from opportunity identification, nurturing through the quote process and maybe the contract process as well.

The key to this is opportunity.

Marketing is a close second for being a key component of today's business growth plan. New leads signup if you offer them the right information and allow them to signup on your website.

Email marketing is a key component of supplying buy-ready leads, both through carefully selected reports that offer emails tailored to the end user, but as well as emailing the lead and the sales person as the lead interacts with your company. Having pre-written email templates that are used as scripts free the Salesperson from having to remember everything everytime on every call. Drip Marketing that nurtures the lead from prospect, to qualified opportunity with carefully planned and timed emails are a key to bringing the web buyer to understand your business, in a self-service purchasing world.

Content marketing is important to provide a long-form story that your customers can read, on their own time, to really digest what problem you are solving for them and how you plan on going about doing so. They include white papers, a series of articles and blog posts, Case studies, videos, etc. Each time your potential customer interacts with these documents, they are actually interacting with your company and your brand and your differentiators. Give them the right information from your website and from your app and from your email campaigns so they can read the right information at the right time in the buying process. These documents also serve as automation of the sales force because they can rely on these same documents for training and better serving customers with less work.

Having to deal with more leads and less sales is a common mantra of any business who has managed the transition successfully to a web-friendly business. Those who haven't experience this have not made the transition and have failed. The key to manage the transition is Cloud CRM. It is the medium that delivers self-service automation of your business and allows you to become a web-friendly business overnight. Cloud CRM allows you do do more with less by having a better process out of the box than most organizations have today, but at the same time are fully customizable, point-and-click so you are nimble. Workflow automation and intelligence are making the CRM the central database of the organization and allowing that database to be managed by end users and the customers themselves, in real time, from day one.

As the old mantra goes, to grow you have to find them, close them and keep them.

You cannot forget the Support and post sales portion of the business if you expect to grow. Luckily Enterprise Cloud CRM vendors have Support and Help Desk, Project Management, etc to keep the customers happy. Having a system that alerts customers and employees when tickets are created, escalated and closed are key to providing self-service automation of the Customer experience. Self-service portals for getting updates on issues, new information and self-service purchasing cuts down on the burden of the support and back-office department that have to take and route all the requests. Searchable Knowledge base of FAQs and how to handle situations in real time empowers customers and employees to find answers to questions right away. All this results in a more organized business with all customers getting the right information and the same information, when they need it and without wasting your time on the phone repeating the same answers to the same questions all the time. It allows you to do more with less.

Self-service eCommerce allows customers to purchase and browse your offerings and price things out, create estimates and budgets, all online and at their schedule. This may mean the difference of making the shortlist or not. These days the buyer has no time to work out all the differences between vendors and will often leave off the list the best vendor simply because they couldn't find the information in time to submit their shortlist. Or they came to the website and saw that there was no way to get some idea of what it would cost to work with you and so you don't make the shorlist because they have a strict budget and since they couldn't price out your offering, they couldn' guarantee you fit the budget. Since they only have room for a top 3 or a top 5 to present to the boss, many businesses are left of the list simply because the customer couldn't do their research online, self-service and after your regular business hours.

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