"Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business approach that integrates people, process and technology to maximize relationships with customers" - Barton Goldberg, ISM, CRM Strategic Advisors.
Most companies that apply CRM successfully understand that an effective mix of people (60%), process (30%) and technology (10%) are the key drivers behind a successful CRM implementation.
Key CRM Benefits:
The most compelling benefits of a successful CRM implementation include:
Better Sales/Marketing Information
For example, customer names, customer background, customer needs, related interests, competitive positioning, etc. is just some of the information that is collected as a result of implementing a CRM system.
For example, effective target market identification, reduction in the number of cold leads, and the ability to provide accurate and on-the stop quotations, look up inventory availability quickly, enter orders directly from the field, etc. all of which help to shorten the sales cycle.
Enhanced Customer Care
For example, more time to spend with customers due to a reduction in the sales administrative workload, an ability to monitor customer service levels, and ability to highlight existing or potential customer service problems and to react more quickly to customer needs, etc.
An increasingly important objective, and an area that is related to the aforementioned benefits, is improved customer retention/loyalty. Corporations in the U.S. lose approximately half of their customers within 5 years.
If a CRM system really focuses on the customer and the above benefits are realized, a company can expect to retain more customers over time. It has been shown that the longer a customer is retained, the greater the profitability will be for the retained customer.
For those who prefer hard numbers, studies by ISM and by Insight Technology Group concerning CRM systems confirm that the following level of benefit can be achieved:
1. A minimum 10% per annum increase in gross sales revenue per sales representative during the first three years of the system. This gain occurs because field personnel improve both their efficiency (e.g., more batting time to call on customers and implement strategy) and their effectiveness (e.g., improved quality of their sales call in the field because personnel are more knowledgeable about their customers).
2. A minimum 5% decrease in the general and administrative cost of sales during the first three years of the system. This takes place because field personnel (and the company) no longer need to send out costly literature and information in a shotgun approach to all existing and potential customers; rather, field personnel (and the company) can decrease their cost of sales by being selective in terms of which customers receive specific promotional materials.
3. A minimum of 5% increase in win rates for forecasted sales during the first three years of the system. This gain results because field personnel select their opportunities more carefully, drop out of potentially bad opportunities earlier on, and concentrate on those opportunities with a high likelihood of closure.
4. A minimum 1% margin improvement in the value of a deal over the lifetime of the system. This gain occurs since field personnel are working closely with a carefully selected group of customers who place as much emphasis on value selling as they do on discounts, and field personnel thus tend to discount less often.
5. A minimum 5% improvement in the quality rating provided by customers. This gain results from happier customers who get the information that they need more quickly, who receive better service, and who enjoy building on the relationship marketing approach that field personnel are now able to offer.
Prior to deciding whether CRM is best for your organization, it is recommended that you review all potential benefits of CRM in detail. Senior management wants to see a list of detailed measurable benefits by which they can justify what may grow into a large capital investment, plus the investment in time, resources and staff.
The good news is that there are a growing number of detailed, tangible and intangible benefits associated with CRM, and there are specific ways to measure those benefits.
Having a CRM strategy with engaged peple enabled by a technology system can builds an appreciating asset for any business.
Let us now what rewards gained with CRM that have occurred in your business... we'd like to hear from you!