Internet and computer technology have already influenced our life in many ways: how we communicate, how we work, how we have fun, how we shop, and many other “how we …” things are now different from what they were ten or even five years ago. People might consider it good or bad, but the fact is – our life is getting more and more hi-tech we need to accept it. The world of business is not an exception. In contrary – trade and marketing tools are the fastest ones to adopt new advantages of the latest developments. New technology promises more efficient ways of doing business. Since trade is one of the most important business activities in which every existing company is involved – its influence on a success of a company and on well-being of the whole nation can hardly be overestimated. The better trade goes the more economic growth we see. For modern generation of managers it is hard to imagine how to do business without Internet – where one can find information about potential clients and competitors; e-mail – an easy and fast way to communicate; IP telephony – a low cost way to call all over the world and sell. But is there something else?
Today we are going to talk about one of the tools which helps to organize the sales activity of the entire company: the Customer Relationship Management System.
The CRM System is a form of a database which contains information about current and potential clients, orders, opportunities, leads, forecasts, products, suppliers, etc. All this information is stored on a corporate server, in a data bank or on-line and is available for approved users who can be provided with different levels of access. In general, modern CRM system is all the company needs to collect information about potential clients, communicate and sell them its products or services. Advantages of such informational consolidation are the following:
– Live Picture: managers and executives have a dynamic, real time, 24/7 view of what’s going on in their company. Which products were popular this month, what are the forecasts for the next quarter, how the sales team is performing and many more;
– Flexibility: sales agents are able to close deals while on the road. Once they got the PO, they can issue the invoice, or get the information about the product availability right at the same moment, using the distant access to the system or log in via on-line portal;
– Increased Work Efficiency: if all information is in one place, there is no need to send tons of e-mails or running up and down the stairs to the accounting department, production facility or logistics. Everything gets solved much quicker, and thus decreases the manager spends on each particular task. This means – one manager is able to take care of more tasks.
Of course, CRM system might have its drawbacks. The biggest one is data security issue. That is why, when deciding about which CRM system to implement in your company, don’t go for the lowest cost solutions. On the contrary – try to make some good marketing research and contact people who have been using such systems. Most of CRM system providers are proudly displaying the names of their biggest clients on-line, so you might need to check the them out and see if you’re able to find some well-known brands there.
As the business world starts spinning faster than the real one, CRM systems will be more and more used in companies which want to take advantage of such new opportunities. Maybe future would bring us something even more exciting? We’ll see, and meanwhile may CRM systems help you succeed!