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Ask the expert: Fran Meggs, MD Enbu Consulting

Q.1: Why is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology the winning solution in a challenging economy?
A.1:
“In a difficult climate, the new customer can become very elusive.

It is no longer good enough to have the miracle of sales occur is some organic way – now more than ever we need to know what makes a successful sales process. That is where CRM excels – it can directly map the process which works best for a business so they do not waste time on the bad match. Secondly, beyond the new customer, we have to double the efforts to not lose the existing customer base. These are the best prospects we could ever have. To create the repeat business, this means providing them with a customer service which excels and prompts the retention, repeat and referral business we can only get from established relationships. Customer service is a rich functional area in CRM which sits hand in hand with the sales processing so that now, a positive customer service experience can be transitioned into a great start for a well-qualified opportunity.”

Q.2: How can growing companies use CRM Technology to build sales and develop new customers?

A.2: Sometimes the most obvious ideas need to be expressed using technology. Having a system which has a unified view of your prospect so that you can make clear decisions on the ‘next step’ with that prospect is vital. Making sure that there is a process to what you do. Ensuring that you do not miss the obvious candidates for sale. CRM technology purely expresses what should be good business practice, but now it makes it more obvious to the user.”

Q.3: What are the benefits of using CRM to manage relationships with customers?

A.3: “Relationships are a very long term thing. From the earliest days of mild interest, through to commitment of that initial order, therein to keeping that customer happy on a long term basis. All of these stages in a business relationship take effort and time. Commitment and perseverance may be seen as individual efforts but in fact these can be translated into a process driven system. Knowing when next to call; knowing when it is time to introduce new ideas to a client. All of these things are not easy to manage. The commitment, perseverance and the dedication you want to show to your client can be clearly delivered by technology — if the technology is delivered to you in the right way. If the technology reflects your process, it will reflect your quality of service and even enhance it.”

Q.4: Can Mobile CRM drive business productivity?

A.4: “This is nearly a no brainer at this stage. The statistics are out there – there are more mobiles in the world than there are PCs and laptops. Whether we love it or hate it, the mobile has become a fulcrum of immediate access data. The mobile technologies have grown so quickly, they practically have the same functionality we had in the PC era. If you have everything you ever had before but now out on the road, on site and even abroad, then ultimately the business cycle continues to accelerate and allow productivity to never end.”

Q.5: How can Social CRM unlock new possibilities?

A.5: “The marry between CRM and social media was a match made for success. Here are two very different platforms that complement each other in so many ways.

“Put it this way: Social media has this vast amount of free, self-maintaining and accessible data. CRM has this well-structured, process driven system.

“What about taking this large volume instant data and working it into this process driven system to create outputs and decisions? You basically have the biggest, most well maintained prospect database, ready to be processed by a well- tailored CRM system. We didn’t have these things for a long time, now we have both and the results are extremely compelling. Having both social media and CRM is practically a must for every business now.”


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