Many companies do not pay attention to the organization of customer relationships. They make mistakes that usually result in lost profits. However, thanks to CRMs, customer relationships can be automated and expensive mistakes can be avoided.
Organizing customer relationships is becoming increasingly complex with the decreasing volume of inquiries and orders. A growing company simply cannot do without an effective organizational tool. A signal that a company needs to better organize customer relationships is repeating of some of the most common mistakes.
Wasted business opportunities
Potential customers expect a professional approach and visible interest from the sales rep. The later the response to demand, the greater the chance that the customer will choose competition. For a sales rep it is, therefore, crucial to work with a calendar, notes or tasks. And managing an agenda using paper and pencil, a mobile calendar or Outlook has several disadvantages compared to a modern CRM.
All these tools need to be checked individually. Having them physically available and sharing data with colleagues is very inefficient. Modern CRMs, on the other hand, record business opportunities as individual items in which the user monitors and manages e-mails, contacts, notes, and especially tasks and calendars assigned to them, for which a reminder can be set. The sales rep will not forget to call or send an offer to the customer and will quickly find a contact, e-mail communication or minutes of the last meeting.
In CRM you can also view a list of opportunities and then sort them based on the date of past and upcoming events. Whether you need to keep an eye on the upcoming tasks or need to take note of the last meeting. The head-of-sales is thus in a permanent state of awareness and can control the course of opportunities. And if the sales rep suddenly becomes sick, colleagues take data from the CRM, where the agenda can be easily handed over.
However, it is not only missed deadlines that are a problem. Every search for a contact or e-mail is a waste of time, which can be used, for example, for careful preparation of a meeting or processing of a larger number of inquiries. Thanks to the CRM, companies that are not in need of business opportunities will be able to process a larger number of inquiries and the percentage of their success will often increase.
Unanswered web form requests
A special category of missed business opportunities are unanswered inquiry forms on the company's website. Companies often have a form set up so that they need to respond to inquiries with the web administration environment, or they come to a common e-mail address that not all merchants have access to, and they do not regularly check these mailboxes.
Some CRM systems can be integrated with the company website. Thanks to this, CRM can be set up so that after sending the inquiry form, a new opportunity is created immediately in CRM, with which the trader can continue to work.
Addressing the wrong target group
Companies often make the mistake of proposing their offer and harassing the customers who don't care about the product. They spend time, energy and, in the case of e-mail campaigns, budget, in the wrong direction. However, when the company has the right data, the addressing is targeted. And that's exactly the advantage of CRM.
In CRM, you can divide companies according to the field in which they operate, or contacts according to functions and other criteria. For example, if a liqueur producer decides to produce liqueur-filled candies and adds them to the portfolio, you can create a list of purchasing managers for the commodity or detail / food companies in the CRM. The company sales rep will not waste time calling incompetent people and the list can also be used for e-mail campaigns.
If the CRM has its own marketing module or offers integration with an e-mail campaign management application, it is also possible to obtain information about which customer is interested in a new product by clicking on the e-mail. The sales rep can then address those customers who were interested.
Poor planning and failure to meet deadlines
It is always a bad experience for customers when a company gives a deadline for the deal, which they cannot meet. In addition, it is quite common for B2B that the customer's project is directly dependent on the completion of such a deal. Then customer's disappointment can be even greater.
In such a case, the supplier's rep will explain the ongoing delay to the customer, apologize, and if they are a true master of communication, this situation will often go unnoticed. However, effective human resource planning is far more credible and professional. Even in this case, a paper and pencil or a calendar in Outlook may be enough for the sales rep, but a modern CRM software is far more complex.
For example, if the company develops customized software, CRM can better estimate the capacity of developers to work on a new application. As a rule, each employee is allocated a certain time fund, which is then filled by individual tasks. The CRM also works with the developer's hourly rate, so the sales rep can also better estimate the price of the project. They can do it directly at the meeting with the customer, as there is the data available thanks to CRM.
In addition to more accurate estimation of time possibilities and cost of project work, this CRM function has another advantage for companies. Both parties are informed in advance of the expected price and time requirements of the project and the supplier is able to deliver a detailed report to the customer thanks to CRM. And if, for example, a technician performs maintenance physically at the customer's premises, he can adjust the number of working hours according to the facts on site. This significantly reduces the number of conflicts in the invoicing of project work.
Insufficient care for existing customers
Existing customers are companies' treasure, which often brings long-term benefits. Whether it is repeated deals or monthly payments for agreed services. Surprisingly often, companies do not guard this treasure as they should.
If the company has made a deal with a customer and forgets to extend it in time, this hesitation may mean one payment received less per month. Certainly, you have noticed that mobile operators or electricity suppliers are well organized when extending their contracts. Of course, the possibilities of such large companies are a bit different, but even smaller companies can take care of existing customers at a high level thanks to CRM.
The issue of contract extension may not be as interesting for customers as it is for companies, but invoicing can also be considered. Thanks to integration of CRM with billing systems, the company's sales reps can have an immediate overview of the status of invoice payments. Few customers are happy with the reminder of due payment invoice but if they receive the information in time, at least they are not exposed to the uncomfortable role of defaulter after a long time. Not to mention that payment from the customer is missing in the company's budget. By proactive following the customer's agenda the company simply makes a better impression.
In CRM, the project life cycle can also be monitored. If the company provides machine servicing for the customer, they will establish a service project in CRM and a task reminder helps them remember they must contact the customer regarding the warranty service period and arrange a service date.
Thanks to automatic actions linked to the project workflow it is possible, for example, to automatically create a task with a reminder date of 2 years, i.e. the date of the next service, when switching from trial to live operation. This means that the date of service has to be actively monitored neither by the customer nor by the servicing company.
Insufficient care for VIP customers
According to the Pareto Principle, which the Italian economist of the same name came up with at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, only 20% of customers bring companies 80% of their profits. If a company makes the mistake of not identifying its 20% major customers, it should fix it quickly and pay close attention to VIP customer care.
The CRM reports can help with the identification. Selected customers can then be sorted according to their importance in several ways. Either the CRM already has a predefined "Importance" field in the basic settings, or you can name your own category in this way or create your own "Importance" field in CRM if it allows it.
In practice, in CRM the sales rep can filter VIP customers and, for example, sort them according to when the last meeting with took place. Then they can arrange a new meeting.
Many companies are also proving to be aware of VIP customers’ interests and hobbies and keep them in CRM. Again, a category or a custom field is used for this. Based on this information, they can then plan a corporate event for customers or choose Christmas gifts that will impress them.
Spend real time with real customer care with CRM
If a company offers a good product or service that is on the top level, it should not lose customers. Nevertheless, if this happens it is often due to poor organization. As in the restaurant business, in all other industries, customers are discouraged when the company does not care about them.
However, growing companies may have difficulty addressing customers at the level they deserve due to the growing number of inquiries, projects or payments. Thanks to modern CRM, however, busy sales reps of such a company do not have to be tied up with the administration and they can devote newly acquired time capacity to care to their customers who will again see that the company cares.
The author of this article is the eWay-CRM Project Manager Miriam Semjanova