Before You Start:
As you begin to consider the benefits of implementing a CRM - customer relationship management solution consider the following:
1. CRM is more than a product, it's a philosophy
When your company chooses to implement
a customer relationship management (CRM) system it's taking a dramatic step forward in customer commitment. And, since customers drive your business, you're leaping ahead in your ability to generate and manage revenue, too. The benefits of CRM come not only from the product you purchase, but also from the implementation plan you follow and the business partner you select as a guide.
The more thoroughly you embrace a company-wide CRM philosophy, the more your company will benefit from the capabilities your CRM software offers and your business partner collaborates to know your desired results.
CRM philosophy is simple: put the customer first. This is a modern development of the old "the customer is always right" adage on which so many successful businesses have been built. When your business looks at every transaction through the eyes of the customer, you can't help but deliver a better experience to your customers -- which in turn increases loyalty to your company. And, through customer-focused business practices, you often find new ways to streamline old methods and jettison administrative overhead that no longer benefits you or your customers.
2. Customers are everywhere: clients, vendors, business partners, employees, mentors:
It used to be easy to define the word "customer." But companies are becoming more diverse, with multiple locations, employees who telecommute, and vendors who function as partners. The idea of "customer" has broadened to include a wide range of end user of different kinds of corporate information.
More about "Customers are Everywhere - CRM Paradigm", here.
3. Don't confuse CRM with contact management.
Many midsize corporations have used some form of contact management software successfully for years and, at first, CRM may not seem much different.
However, if you take a closer look at CRM, you'll see that its capabilities go far beyond contact management. CRM systems contain more information about your customers. With CRM, your support and service agents have immediate access to all the information they need to completely resolve customer inquiries.
Your field sales reps can lookup up more than just customer contact information before they make a call - they can also evaluate past sales history, credit information, and other financial data. They can even look at information for the company's other offices and run reports to find out what's been ordered and what special prices or terms the customer receives. Open tech support calls and other issues are also visible. And, with some solutions, copies of invoices, emails, and past proposals can all be reviewed - on screen and on the spot.
4. CRM solutions are different for mid-sized companies.
Some software companies selling CRM would have you believe that you need to buy what they call an enterprise solution that includes all the bells and whistles required for the largest of global enterprises. But for small to mid-sized companies this may mean paying for more capacity than is required. In fact, the price of these systems is often so high that any company smaller than a Fortune 500 firm cannot reasonably afford one.
But other vendors have created CRM solutions with the mid-sized company in mind, offering applications that include virtually all of the features common in enterprise solutions, but at a cost that is reasonable for smaller-scale users. Even better, many of these solutions can be scaled from as few as five users to as many as you are likely to need in the future. With a CRM solution designed for mid-sized companies, you can start small and grow big without ever wasting your valuable resources on capacity you don't need. You buy what you need, when you need it.
Another benefit of CRM solutions designed from the ground up for mid-sized companies is that they are easier to implement and are fully functional right out of the box. Maybe larger enterprises have the time and resources to spend tailoring a solution and integrating it into their enterprise. But mid-sized companies want a CRM solution that they can get up and running easily, at a minimal cost.
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