Top 10 ways on demand CRM makes you money in a down economy - started needs finishing
As the Web has transformed almost every industry and every job performed by employees, so has it transformed the way Sales is planned, performed, managed and improved upon within leading businesses today. There are many buzzwords that represent various differentiations between definitions, but the main point is that by allowing more Sales activities to be performed by using online tools, the better the ability for sales teams to react to market conditions and continue to grow sales in all types of markets, both during the good times and during the bad. Today there is also a blurring of the lines between different departments in an organization to better align the various business departments around better serving the Sales orgainization. We live in a world where trading public companies stock is so easy that anyone can set up an account in their pajamas at 4 am and buy or sell shares in a company. This and other factors have lead to most companies looking out only to the next quarter so that they can report growth in line with or better than the estimates. Growth is king in today's market, so much that one of the unintended consequenses is that failed growth for even a single quarter can have massive reprocussions on the valuation of the company for years to come. This need to display stellar growth has lead to such acts as the Sarbanes Oxley act, part of which states that the CEOs of companies must sign on the bottom line of the numbers they report, and if they are found to be incorrect, may be held liable. This pressure to report on time and provide constant and consistent growth has collided with the inability to produce accurate Sales data in time to report those growth numbers with confidence. The need for real time shared data became critical overnight. The need for various departments and management to easily run reports across departments became front and center. The need for accurate forcasting became an overnight requirement of any business interested in showing solid growth to shareholders.
Helping your organization grow even in the toughest economic conditions On Demand CRM allows organizations to market more effectively to their customers, but simultaneously allows for campaigns that can be sent out directly by the sales rep or sales manager or marketing department, but having the campaing come from the sales rep themselves, with a message that brought the sales rep closer to the customer and build a better relationship with them. This one-on-one marketing to an opt-in database of contacts is one of the most effective campaigns, if the message is relevant and timely, and can be delivered to the customer in a ubiquitous format (ie email) and directly to the correct decision makers (presuming they are qualified leads as they have already opted in or signed up for something via the website). When performed correctly, this is direct marketing at its finest with the least amount of friction to stop the sale. You are marketing to a known audience based on their good experiences and purchases but also their bad experiences through Cases, Solutions and Knowlege Base. This helps you keep your message on target.
Enabling marketing to justify their efforts The Who What When Where and Why of Sales Force Automation On Demand CRM is the Hub of the Enterprise Software Ecosystem
Giving Sales the ability to log Cases about negative customer experiences or business process changes that may be required to help that rep close and retain more deals. The idea of implementing good CRM means the organization must be open to putting the customer first. In today's market this means not only listening to their needs but acting on them and providing concrete resolution as quickly as possible. Giving Sales the ability to log a case within seconds is the incentive for the Sales rep to log a case describing a customer's need. This model only holds true however, if the person or department responsible for managing that type of request gets notification of the details of the request in real time and can login quickly to retrieve the information and decide what to do. By enabling product development, support, billing, or whatever department to quickly recieve this information, act on it and notify the Sales rep of the action without having to send and email, or make a phone call is what today's business is building as standard processes and leveraging Enterprise On Demand CRM with advanced customization and workflow capabilities that allow business users to create and mangage via online tools. By focusing all departments around serving the customer quickly and to the best of their ability, and giving them the tools to collaborate and share information in a convenient and efficient manner, the company is getting closer to their customer and learning their distinct requirements, in order to serve them better now and forever. Good CRM process need not be complicated, but needs to be automated and needs to be easy to change and manage over time to better align the business and all its employees with the customer's needs both collectively, and individually.
Outsourcing your software, hardware, networking and consulting requirements for most of your Enterprise Software needs to a single vendor and their ecosystem of partners. On Demand CRM was really the first type of Enterprise application that was unique in that the delivery of the software was as a service, but more importantly, the software came bundled with low cost and free consulting, training and education about best practices in Enterprise businesses. What the customer gets is a one-stop shop to access the cutting edge ideas and applications that drive today's most successful businesses - without having to deal with high cost consultancies to get it done. Like any prudent business should hire qualified consultants no matter what the Enterprise application as they do provide tremendously valuable services. It is just that the role of the consultant has changed from having to deal with all the complexities of providing the Enterprise software over a heterogenous set of networks, hardware, software, configurations, etc. and more focused on analysing and implementing solutions to real time business pains that really have nothing to do with software. But, by the very definition of the business model of On Demand CRM, in order to be a successful vendor you need customers numbering in the thousands and tens of thousands. Well, for any seasoned On Demand CRM vendor to achieve that level of success, that means they have already sat down with and discussed proactive solutions to hundreds of thousands of businesses just to land those thousands of customers in the first place. This unprecidented access to the common pains shared by all businesses large and small, coupled with the constant evolution of a software platform and professional Services processes to bring a solution to these problems is probably the most important aspect of On Demand CRM's success. The old model was 'buy my software, pay me to answer your support issues, nothing will be changed however, until the next release which will be in years'. Today, with On Demand CRM the new model is 'Why don't I show you with a free 30 trial and free one-one one demos of how your current business problems are being solved by the world's most successful companies' - and this is before you even make a purchase! This transformative change of software vendors from product focused companies to service and customer focused companies was started by, and still led by, the On Demand CRM industry and it's short list of vendors that have been actively selling to the largest Enterprises for close to a decade now.
Empowering each employee to make meaningful change in the organization, with unprecedented speed, control and agility. The leading On Demand CRM vendors are also platform vendors - ie they focus on building tools that put the power in the hands of the people that can make a difference and allowing them the freedom of creating and managing their own process, testing their ideas, refining the process until it works, then automating that and focusing on the next process - all in the name of improving the company and better serving its customers . This ongoing cycle is crucial to any organization today as the pace of innovation required is like never before. To make changes to most software requires projects involving both IT and other business units because the customizations ultimately always required some programming and recompilation of code. This meant projects, delays, hefty decisions, system downtimes which made process change generally a very cumbersome, time consuming and risky endeavour. With On Demand CRM many of the tools are provided with point and click online tools that require no programming. For those projects that cannot be handled with the online tools provided, tools are also provided to the developer such as a Web Service API, sample code and toolkits to allow them to develop world class Enterprise applications that deliver unprecedented value to the organization, all with limited programming and all without having to change to core CRM code or recompile it.
Turn your Support Department into a profit generation machine
Too often Customer Service & Support is looked upon as a necessary evil, a department that costs money but isn’t tied to re venue generation or profit generation witin the business like say the Sales or Marketing Departments. The common thought is that Marketing brings the leads, Sales Closes them, Support, well supports them. This, unfortunately is outdated thinking. The boom of the Customer Service and Support was justified by the cost savings analysis that it was less expensive to keep an existing customer, than to spend on marketing and sales to win a new customer. The Support function was always looked upon as a cost saving strategy, and customer retention strategy, rather than a growth strategy. But in today’s world, the consumer is much more savvy. They use the support department to their advantage. Whether you like it or not, the customer is constantly probing the Sales reps with the same questions they probe the Customer support rep, to see where they differ in their stories. Often times the first point of contact a prospective client has with your business is by calling support. Today, since Customer Service and Support is so accessible, they are used as a “staging ground” by prospective customers to test their negotiation skills and get inside information about the products, services, business, etc from someone who is not trained to answer the questions in the ‘right way’ before they engage Sales, as a way to get the inside track and gain an edge in the buying process. Sadly, Support reps are rarely trained to answer Sales questions adequately and can drive away potential deals without even knowing they are doing it. Even worse, if a hot lead calls the Support dept and tells them they are hot, the only option for the support rep is to ‘pass it off to Sales’. Often times the support department knows how to answer the questions of the customer in a language that they understand, and can answer how to do things, but are rarely trained on what the business benefits are of your product and services. In today’s world, all Support reps should be thought of as Sales reps as well. They are in support because they love helping the customer and they see how helping them with their support related issues help make their customers happy. Is it that far of a stretch to think that if they had as part of their arsenal the business pain that is being addressed and what is the business benefit of implementing your product or service in this situation, that the Support rep would be able to do their jobs and better help the customer be successful? Not answering that question can cost your business a lot of sales, because if a rep is not trained but yet is put in the position of having to answer these types of questions for leads, then they will make up their own justifications for why, instead of having an informed understanding of how your product and services fit the needs of your customers.