It’s no secret: integrating a CRM into your small or medium-sized business is a proven method for building better customer relationships and increasing sales. From lead generation to order fulfilment, sales teams have found success by allowing their CRM to manage their day-to-day tasks. However, companies are looking to get even more value out of their CRM: consolidating customer data, improving team communication, and creating more visibility within individual tasks and activities – in all functions of the business.
This trend is characterized by a 2017 benchmark study, where 80% of organizations surveyed have reported that their top wishlist item for CRMs is the “centralization of customer data”. Third on the wishlist, reported by 60% of respondents, was the “improved visibility of communications and activities across the business”. Small or medium-sized businesses that are looking to integrate a CRM aren’t just looking to increase sales; they’re looking to increase productivity across the board.
Typically, CRMs are measured for their capacity to improve one’s sales cycle. Managing the whole deal-flow is not an easy task: lead generation, quote preparation and delivery, sales management, and order fulfilment come together as necessary components for getting the best results from your CRM.
Centralizing customer data prevents the duplication of contact records between databases and keeps your customer’s details in one location. Communication isn’t limited only to sales – creating more visibility in both internal and external communications allow for better decision-making and collaborative opportunities. Tracking activities that can be shared either company or department-wide can also help manage your team’s productivity with greater clarity.
Only a small number of CRMs offer flexibility and customizations that add value to businesses beyond basic database management tools. Human resources can manage new potential hires (by attaching CV’s and resumes to their contact record), as well as build simple web forms to allow employees to submit forms such as vacation requests. Inventory teams can manage product levels and synchronize with their sales team. Customer support can receive and manage customer tickets, resolving issues from within the CRM. Marketing can better understand the customer by tagging contact records and integrating marketing automation tools such as MailChimp. Accounting can grant more visibility to account statuses by connecting to QuickBooks or FreshBooks. Finally, management teams can make better-informed decisions with a customizable dashboard of the entire organization from the CRM.
The secret behind a successful CRM integration is its practical application. Businesses perform best when their CRM is used by the entire organization, creating meaningful connection points for collaboration. As the benefits of CRM grow exponentially, so does the need for further integration of various disciplines and departments. Layered with great sales management functionality, organizations of all sizes are choosing CRMs that include features that apply to HR, marketing, customer support, inventory and more. Maximum productivity can be achieved by any business through consolidating not only customer data but also centralizing their daily functions of the business.