An Integrated CRM System Has Many Benefits
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the most important components of any business. If you're considering an integrated system, it is important to understand how you will benefit from it before you get started


1.     Understanding CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about developing and managing relationships with your customers and prospects, when you develop a CRM strategy within your business, you are building a solid foundation for growth, The foundation of a winning environment lies in understanding your customers' needs.

CRM is all about understanding your customer's preferences and habits so that you can:

  • Build better relationships with customers to increase customer retention

  • Provide your customers with a service they want

  • Provide your customers with better services and products

  • Ensure that your staff is aware of all customer interactions; make the customer feel important at all times

  • Simplify employee collaboration and information sharing by effectively integrating marketing, sales, and customer service functions.

 2.     How does CRM fit into your organisation's strategy?

CRM must play a specific role within the company and can be beneficial in the following areas.

Prospecting and the management of new sales opportunities

Your CRM system must enable you to manage both new and ongoing opportunities.  Your ability to accurately predict customers' buying needs depends on storing detailed information about every opportunity you are currently working on. Using your CRM, you can plan as opportunities progress through the sales cycle.  Lost sales opportunities and tracking how you lost them are two key metrics.

Understanding customer service and managing customer relationships

Even though this seems obvious, the impact can be huge.  When a telephone call comes in, imagine the person answering it having access to all the relevant information about the customer and their account and being able to assist the customer immediately without having to refer the query to another department in the company.

Decisions about customers and marketing can be made more effectively

With one holistic view of all information about a customer, you can make improved decisions by having access to every customer interaction, whether that interaction involved a telephone or social media conversation, an Email or a combination of all of these communication channels.  It could also be a response to a marketing campaign.

Improving efficiency through workflow

Implementing automated workflow reduces repetitive tasks, freeing resources to spend more time on other work.  Your business becomes more scalable without the need to employ additional staff.

Increasing efficiency by reducing duplication

Having a single source for all information reduces the need to re-enter customer information in another system and facilitates better reporting of key business metrics.

Integrated telephony

The ability to handle incoming calls, make outbound calls or manage outbound dialler campaigns from a single system is an essential part of any good CRM system

 3.     Getting Started with an Integrated CRM System

If you are new to CRM and have been tasked with finding a system for your company then the first task is to build a team. This involves considering the potential benefits of a CRM system and the return on investment. 

Start with a Core Team

Putting together a team from different departments will help you to understand how a CRM system could work within your company. A team member from the accounts department or customer service department will likely have a different view of the customer than someone in sales. 

Establish Your Goals

What do you want to achieve? Are you simply looking for a sales automation system? Or are you looking for something more integrated? The key here is to document what you are hoping to achieve from using a CRM system within the organisation.

Set the Base Line

What are your existing processes? How do you currently respond to client concerns or sales opportunities? Is it appropriate to evaluate these processes now? Either way, make a note of these processes because they will be crucial as the project develops. Knowing your starting point helps you gauge how far you've come.

Plan a comprehensive budget

In the long run, a CRM system will increase your productivity and reduce your costs, there will probably be a down payment upfront though.  If your business is trying to scale, free versions won't cut it. When choosing a provider to work with, be careful to keep your spending under control. Additionally, if you don't do the math first, integrations could either be an expensive or a cost-saving tool.

 Choose a CRM Vendor

Choose a local partner whenever possible to avoid currency swings and take advantage of local service, support, and telephony services.  In addition, your customer data is not stored in another country.  The selection of the appropriate CRM system is a crucial initial step in CRM deployment. Many reliable studies and reviews can be found online. You'll have an operational CRM system faster and with fewer expensive onboarding procedures if you take this step carefully.

Plan and implement

Implementation of CRM combines initial planning with implementation.  When it comes time for your team to begin using your CRM system, plan an installation period and, if it's feasible, roll out the system in stages. This period may last two weeks, a month, or longer.  Managing expectations is the goal here. There will be hiccups along the way, but it encourages user acceptance and lessens the burden on your team to become immediate CRM gurus.

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