It is so competitive nowadays, and firms put a lot of effort to maintain good customer relation. Customer Relation Management (CRM) has been built as an application to keep managing the customer relation.
What is CRM?
CRM means Customer Relationship Management system. It is a software system to automate all behavior engaged with customers. These behaviors include sales, marketing, customer service and e-commerce etc. Famous system providers such as Salesforce, Oracle, SAP etc also develop CRM system for clients. 1
According to sales funnel theory, a customer journey from unknown to loyal consists of 4 main steps: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase and Loyalty. A good CRM can quantize the customer journey for business to analyze. CRM systems with artificial intelligence will even give insight based on the big data.
More IT system: TVP successful stories
Why do companies need CRM?
The benefits of a CRM to a business include:
- Boost sales and customer loyalty
- Build customer databases
- Improve customer service
- Align marketing and sales
- Provide accurate reports
Boost sales and customer loyalty
Companies can analyze sales performance and compare different strategies with a CRM system. No matter engaging new or existing customers, everything can be driven with reliable data. A CRM system can also remind staff to care customers on time to improve customer service. This is absolutely important to build up the brand loyalty.
Build customer databases
In the past when business was not yet computerized, we can only rely on salesperson to record customer information and preference. Therefore business was often domestic. Companies today often use computers to store customer contacts only. It is still the salespersons to remember customer preference which is not reliable. If the salespersons leave, the firm lose the information forever. A CRM is independent of all personnel and makes sure the customer database integrity.
Improve customer service
All sales should link with after-sales service, no matter it is B2C or B2B. Customer service includes enquiry, follow-up and complaint. Even there is unpleasant incident, says product malfunction, a timely and quality help can maintain the customer satisfaction and loyalty. The benefit of the CRM is to help a quick response to customer problem. It is definitely important to customer service quality and customer experience.
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”Henry Ford
Align marketing and sales
A scalable company often separates sales and marketing into two departments. By the above sales funnel theory, marketing is more about awareness and consideration while sales is more about purchase. Sometimes they will act inconsistently. For example, salespersons have no update from latest marketing message, and it happens with chaos. With a proper use of the CRM, inter-department operation will be logical and consistent.
Provide accurate reports
The last benefit to introduce is business reporting. We can learn the fundamentals of a listed company by the balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statement. This tells the importance of reporting to commerce. Whatever it is, says individual sales performance, the whole marketing and so on, appropriate reporting can certainly help to determine if it is right. In the old days, administrative staff spent a lot of time and effort on reporting, but now we can get these all in a finger tip.
Consultant sharing: Renowned software must be expensive for SME?
Applying TVP for CRM enhancement
However, many business owners think that a CRM system is very expensive and give up using. The fact is they can apply for Technology Voucher Programme on behalf of the company (limited or not). The TVP secretariat (it is the Hong Kong Productivity Council, HKPC) says what you need are reasons and sufficient quotations. You can gain the government fund after completion. (3:1 on a matching basis and HK$ 600,000 as cumulative maximum)
There are dozen pages in the official TVP application guide, and most companies are inexperienced. In addition, a TVP application failure can result serious impact to firm cashflow. Therefore many businesses decide to adopt TVP consultation service to save resource and lower the risk. BizMagnet is a government funding consultant and welcome to contact us.
Further reading: TVP for dummies
- How Oracle and SAP Could Put a Big Hurt on Salesforce, https://accelerationeconomy.com/cloud/how-oracle-and-sap-could-put-a-big-hurt-on-salesforce/