In today’s fast paced on demand environment if you are not able to address customer inquiries quickly and efficiently you’re out of business.
Organizations big and small need to efficiently manage customer relationships and they can no longer do it with a spiral notebook or an Excel spreadsheet. You need to be agile, social and prepared to engage your customers. The only way to effectively do this is to have one central database where you can capture, track, manage and share customer information with people throughout your organization. This is the promise of CRM software.
For those who have invested in implementing this technology, it has proven to significantly improve sales execution and customer service. But people need to understand what I mean by investment.
CRM software is often viewed as a commodity or a tool like a hammer that simply provides value on its own. It doesn’t. There is a human being on the other end of that hammer who needs to be trained how to use and realize benefit from the tool. The training aspect is just as important as the software you select.
There are some pretty good CRM solutions out there and even the most basic ones can provide you with an account and contact database and store all communications and history about your customers. These systems are easy to use and affordable so there is no excuse for not making this investment.
You may even find that you will want to do more. While the basic low cost solutions can be a bit limited in their functionality, most mid-market CRM systems offer the ability to manage sales, automate marketing, and track customer service issues via a help desk ticketing system. If you plan to do this or grow into it, look for a solution provider that offers not only training in these areas, but best practices for the proper implementation and use of their software.
You’re going to have to invest in the technology and training if you are looking to become a more efficient sales and service organization. Make sure the vendor you select has the resources and value added services you need to be successful with their solution.
Photo Credit: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net
You don’t have to be an 800 pound gorilla to provide a quality product and make an impact in the CRM software industry. In fact, pure play CRM solution provider Commence Corporation has been doing it for more than two decades and has a large and rapidly growing customer base.
So what does being a pure play vendor really mean? “It means developing and supporting Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) is all we do” says Todd Pape, Chief Technology Officer at Commence. “Because we are focused on one aspect of the business we can in fact be better than the industry giants.”
“The rapid evolution of cloud computing means that smaller organizations like Commence can build software solutions using the same underlying architecture as enterprise software companies like Microsoft, Oracle or Salesforce.com” continued Pape. “The functionality may be different and that’s exactly why companies like Commence can be a better fit for the small to mid-size business sector we serve. While the enterprise companies are focused on addressing multi-language requirements, high transaction volumes, and integration with ERP and other disparate systems, companies like Commence are focused on delivering a CRM solution that’s comprehensive, but also easy to use and affordable. It’s our core competency and what has differentiated Commence CRM for the past two decades” says Pape.
“We are focused on adding new features requested by our customers while the big guys are instead ripping out functionality that small to mid-size businesses don’t want. They need to do this in order to make their product less complex and costly. Surely a product designed specifically for small to mid-size businesses is going to be a better fit than one that’s been re-engineered to address the requirements of a different business sector.”
Then you have the issue of service. “CRM is a service oriented sector” continued Pape. “Customers often require assistance with importing data from other systems, training, customization and integration with other software programs. Companies like Microsoft are poorly equipped to provide high quality service to their customers. They instead use local value added resellers who more often than not are not properly trained or don’t have a great deal of experience with the product. The customer may think they bought a CRM product from Microsoft, but the implementation, service and support comes from someone else.”
This does not mean you should not buy a CRM solution from companies like Microsoft. It simply means that a pure play CRM solution provider like Commence CRM, that is laser focused on providing an excellent product and service, returns exceptional value to customers in the small to mid-size sector.
Image by Roger Luijten on Flickr under Creative Commons license.