Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Trends In CRM Software Purchases For 2014

In today’s competitive environment nearly all small and large organizations have considered deploying a cloud CRM software as a serious business investment. CRM softwares’ help increase organizational productivity and improve the efficiency of team members. Customers’ today are well equipped with the enormous benefits a CRM software provides.
Let us now explore the customers’ unparalleled insight into what their motivations are for investing in new technology.
According to a survey conducted by Software Advice’s interactions with 5,279 CRM software buyers, sixty-eight percent of the buyers were either using non-industry-specific software (e.g. Microsoft Office) or manual methods, such as spreadsheets and paper notes, to manage their customer relationships. Of those who were using an existing CRM system, a vast majority (26 percent) were using a commercial CRM solution as opposed to a proprietary solution.
The survey also helped discover the following trends:
  • 96 percent customers’ wanted a cloud-based CRM software.
  • A vast majority of prospective buyers wanted to evaluate best-of-breed solutions (e.g. marketing automation, sales force automation) over an integrated suite.
  • Sales force automation was the top-requested CRM application among both best-of-breed buyers and those wanting an integrated suite.
  • Only 9 percent of organizations said they wanted an integrated suite, or even multiple applications.
Needleless to say that, with so much competition in the market, customers’ would obviously opt for a software that automates all their business processes.
Based on the survey, let us now prioritize and understand the top features that a customer would look for before investing in a CRM software.
Contact management tops the list, because it would be difficult for an organization to sustain in the long run, if their contacts are managed inefficiently. Keeping a record of all the customers and having a 360 degree view helps increase cross sell and up sell opportunities. Also, having to re-enter customer information for every transaction or deal angers the customer and leads to wastage of time.
Note-taking capabilities were also marked as important because keeping a track of all customer information and referring it during configuration is important. Integrating with third party systems was also on the list as it helps eliminate the risk of hopping between multiple systems and information is available in a centralized repository.
The reporting and analytics feature, keeps mangers well informed about all the activities performed by his team members, it also has many other added advantages to the customers as well as the organization. Whereas, dashboards help get a single view of all the activities conducted and a user-friendly interface helps improve user adoption.
Buyers Want System to Increase Efficiency and Organization
Regardless of whether the organization was evaluating Cloud CRM software for the first time or replacing an existing program, a vast majority of those we spoke to were evaluating software because they wanted to increase efficiency. 
“We need an automated and centralized system to allow our marketing team to be more productive,” one person told us, for example. Or, “We want to manage the sales process better and improve our ability to nurture leads,” another said.
Integrated Suite Buyers Skew Much Larger than Best-of-Breed 
Both in terms of annual revenue and number of employees, buyers of integrated suites tended to be much larger than buyers of best-of-breed solutions. Half of best-of-breed buyers we spoke to were earning less than $1 million per year, while more than 60 percent had 20 or fewer employees. Integrated suite buyers, on the other hand, averaged closer to $5 million in revenue and 21 or more employees. 
Sales Force Automation Tops List of Desired Applications
Among both integrated suite and best-of-breed buyers, sales force automation was the No. 1 most-requested CRM application. This application category represented 76 percent of all companies evaluating best-of-breed solutions and nearly 75 percent of those looking into integrated suites. 
Conversely, field service software was the second most popular application among best-of-breed buyers (representing about 8 percent of the sample), while it was low on the list of priorities for those wanting an integrated suite. Marketing automation was popular among both types of buyers.
crm-buyerview-report-2013-4CRM BuyerView/crm-buyerview-report-2013-3

Paul Greenberg, Owner of The 56 Group, LLC

“In their early days, CRM systems were really good at creating operational efficiencies. They still do this today, but now it's also about how effective they can make each interaction in terms of actually growing revenue (not just cutting costs).”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top 3 Challenges Faced By Sales Reps Today

 There are many stumbling blocks sales reps face to sell more and increase overall revenue. Identifying these blocks and coming up with accurate solutions is vital for organizational success. Knowing how to deal with a bad situation will help reps be more productive.

Let us now understand the top three difficulties faced by sales representatives.

Problem 1: Inadequate product training

Unless and until you teach reps to sell, they will never be able to master the art themselves. Adequate training should be provided at the right time, so that reps can engage better with customers and create better relationship with them. At the very beginning they should be taught the importance of selling to the right customer at the right time, closing deals faster, providing best-in-class after sales services, listening to the customers carefully, taking their feedback into consideration, etc. Once all these things are taken care of, selling will no longer be a tough nut to crack. With enough training, reps will be able to target the right customers with the right products at the right time. They will be in a better position to understand customer requirements’ thoroughly and pitch according to their most important needs. Ultimately, it will lead to better understanding between reps and the customers.

Problem 2:  More time spent on non-sales activities
It’s like a one-man show in most of the organizations today, i.e. sales reps or managers have to handle a lot of responsibility. For example, other than focusing on sales and sales related activities, reps have to also take a peek into other things like monitoring campaigns, filling up long excel sheets, doing other paperwork, making presentations and writing reports, instead of planning and strategizing on how to increase sales and overall revenue. Instead of spending time on all these activities, if they plan out and prioritize what is most important and dedicate time accordingly, it will help save a lot of time. At times, the solution lies right under your nose and you waste so much time identifying what can be done to improve things. Hiring an administrative assistant may be all that you need to solve the problem.

Problem 3: Struggling to get information
Most of the times, sales reps know what kind of target audience to cater to, how to get leads, but due to insufficient information  closing deals faster and following up with customers at the right time becomes difficult. A lot of activities take place between lead acquisition and closure, if all information pertaining to this is not fed in the system, managers will not be able to track performance and failure. If all information is updated on a regular basis by sales reps, managers can act early on if a problem arises.

What is also noteworthy is, a cloud CRM software, helps eliminate all these problems faced by sales reps. Through a cloud CRM software, training material can be provided or stored in a centralized repository. Anyone can access it to gain knowledge and improve performance. Also, information pertaining to leads, opportunities, etc. is stored in one place. This makes accessing important documents during times of crisis or otherwise hassle-free process. Also, via a cloud CRM software, responsibilities can be delegated to best suit the employees and the organization.

To know more about cloud CRM software, visit: www.crmnext.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

3 Simple Steps To Pump Up Your Sales With Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, trying to keep the customers’ happy and amazed is not easy. Increasing sales and meeting your revenue targets has a direct impact on how satisfied your customers are!

Let’s understand why customer satisfaction and sales is a perfect match in the business environment. To boost sales all you need is happy and satisfied customers.

Step 1: Listen to your customers
As an organization, it is important to keep your ears open and constantly take customer feedback into consideration. Understand their requirements well, ask them how you can improve, make them feel valued. Once a customer feels that your organization is the best, he will continue doing business with you for a prolonged time.

Let us assume that your organization deals with cars. Suppose a customer walks into your store to purchase the latest model. Your sales rep tries to nail it at the very beginning, by being polite and answering all the queries efficiently. Even if he hasn't decided to purchase the car, his first impression about your organization and its people will be positive. It is sure to leave an everlasting impact. Then, your sales rep should follow up, talk about how other customers are really happy with the car, how it has not been problematic to the users, etc.

This will eventually, persuade the customer to buy the car. There you go, well-trained and polite sales reps, with enough knowledge is all you need to persuade your customer to buy. If he has walked into your store with an intention to buy, isn't it obvious that he is right in front of you, inquiring about the car, because he really has a need for it? Now as an organization, it is up to you and your sales team to maintain a positive relationship with him and finally convince him to buy the car.

Step 2: Cross-sell and upsell once the customer is happy and convinced
Logically speaking, if your customers are happy with you, would they even consider switching to another organization?

Let us assume the same customer who walked into your store purchases the car from you. Now, your sales rep has to be smart enough to pitch for a potential cross sell or upsell. After a few days of buying the car, why not convince him to buy accessories related to the car. Like; car vacuum cleaners, foot mats, CD/DVD holder, etc. Simply explain how by purchasing these things, his life would be a lot easier or how these items would add to the look and feel of his car.

Remember, if he can invest a huge sum in buying the car of his choice, he can definitely purchase other things, if the pitch is made at the right time, in the right manner.

Step 3: Maintain a personal touch through social media platforms
How about polishing and strengthening your relationship with customers by staying connected with them through social media. Ask them for referrals; solve queries on the spot, re-tweet and post positive comments so that others get to know about your organization.

Following these 3 simple steps and executing it with CRM for sales will help your organization take business to a whole new level. You can easily step into a new world, where apart from earning enough profits, all your customers’ are not only happy but thoroughly satisfied.

To know more about cloud CRM software, visit: www.crmnext.com