Key Points To Consider When Investing in Mobile CRM

This is how the New American Dictionary defines 'mobile' - not fixed in one position, easy to move and use in different places. What this also defines is your customer base – mobile; definitely not fixed in one position; easily moved between products and companies. As a whole your customers have come to expect that information about your products and services are available when they need it. Real time access is no longer “nice to have” it has become essential in reaching your customer. As your customers change cities and time zones, your CRM solution needs to be available around the clock and everywhere. In other words, Mobile CRM has become a necessity for successful salespersons.

Smartphone and tablet usage continues to grow
The number of smartphones in use, worldwide, broke the one billion mark in 2012. This represents 23% of the total world population! In the United States alone it is estimated that 81% of the population use some type of smartphone platform.

Media tablets, while not as strong as the smartphone market were estimated to reach 119 million by the fourth quarter of 2012. Newer products with updated capabilities and upgraded features will progressively impact  tablet sales. It is estimated that 90 million Americans will be using some type of tablet by the close of 2013.

As technology advances, consumers want a single device which has all the software, media tools and communication applications. For a business user, this one device should also facilitate quick and real-time access to their customer database. Whether they are traveling or in the bath, the information should be at their fingertips - customers don't want to be called back later or kept on hold! Mobile CRM ensures users have instant access to real-time customer updates, if a meeting in Dallas goes well, you'll know it even if you are in Melbourne along with details of follow up tasks and the latest status of the related opportunity.

Mobile CRM enhances performance
Mobile CRM solutions are a method for mobilizing your sales force and increase the efficacy of your office based staff through streamlined workflow, paperless workflow and real-time access to customer information. But more than streamlining your internal process, mobile CRM solutions also work to improve the customer experience. The ability of your field staff to review a customers buying trends or view the timelines for their last purchases make the selling and buying experience much more satisfactory.

The integration of account activity, sales tasks and contacts allow your sales force to provide a higher degree of personalization in customer service and support. The sales force is now in a position to follow up on last purchase satisfaction, to recommend in real time products which will enhance or complement prior purchases or to introduce new products based upon purchase history.

The mobile CRM solution also enables your sales force to make decisions based on the most up-to-date information available on a customer. Updates or alerts added to your office based CRM solution are accessible on your sales forces' mobile CRM solution, enabling them to access any and all documents or marketing materials required to meet customers’ expectations.

Following a sales call, your sales force can then update the office based CRM solution by entering their notes, sales reports and other relevant information into their mobile system, which in turn updates the office based CRM solution. This connectivity between the field and the office allows for seamless communication within the company’s many divisions.

While a mobile CRM solution may make your sales force feel less dependent on your home office staff, like any solution to any problem, Mobile CRM has its pros and cons. To ensure high user adoption and optimal collaborations between teams, these are some key issues that need serious consideration-
  • Real-time information - A primary advantage of a mobile CRM solution is that it allows changes to take effect immediately. No longer does your sales force need to make extensive entries when they return to the office or make a call to ask for updates. Mobile CRM allows for improved customer relationships by your sales force having the most recent information on both the customer and your product base, creating a more sustainable relationship for long term business growth.
  • Efficient activity management - A mobile CRM solution allows the management of schedules and calendars – keeping your sales staff in touch with other activities within the company without having to return to the office. Tasks and appointments can also be assigned to colleagues based on new developments to ensure effective follow-ups. 
When considering Mobile CRM for your teams, your organization should carefully evaluate the CRM vendor and ask themselves the following questions-
  • Is customer information secure? Security of your organization's proprietary data will remain as long as the security for mobile applications is as stringent as in-house applications. Also, records should only be visible to relevant users within the organization with pre-configured read/write permission based on their roles. 
  • Is information reliable and updated? The old adage of garbage in garbage out is familiar to anyone working with data. Reliability of your CRM solutions data will depend on the ability of your mobile CRM solution to communicate with your static solution. The ideal situation is that everyone be able to communicate the same information – i.e. inventory availability, customer history and other pertinent customer information. With a reliable in house CRM solution this should not be an issue, but the reliability of the information is truly based on the reliability of the information input.
  • Is 100% uptime guaranteed? Who hasn’t had a computer crash? System failure can be embarrassing to the sales representative in the field, but more detrimental to the company if a backup solution is not in place for your mobile CRM solution. Inconsistent uptime for users will lower user adoption.
  • Is the interface user friendly? The Mobile CRM might receive real-time updates and generate alerts to logged-in users, but, this information should be easily accessible to users. Also, records should be easy to create and update through a simple user interface with an option for administrators to customize page layouts on the basis of users' roles.
Mobility of your customers, their ability to access information, and the growing environment of smart applications require CRM solutions which keep pace. New features like 'offline access' will ensure users can view and update records without internet connectivity and sync with the online CRM solutions at a convenient time. For dynamic sales teams that require instant and reliable customer information on the go, Mobile CRM will ensure they can effectively focus on making sales and collaborate with global teams to increase win ratios.

5 Key Benefits of Cloud CRM Over Old CRM for Small Businesses

Due to their inherent size and financial constraints, small businesses can largely benefit from effective application of a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that encompasses the right tools and strategy. The very core of Customer Relationship Management is to revolve around a customer-centric business strategy that initially lays its foundation and eventually flourishes through elevated customer satisfaction and loyalty. The efficiency, focus and productivity aspects of a CRM solution enable value conscious small businesses to successfully serve a larger number of their customers by employing fewer resources.

Benefits of Cloud CRM over traditional CRM software
Costs: For a very long time, traditional or old CRM software costs kept outweighing their benefits and the solution they provided for a particular issue were short-lived. When traditional software systems are deployed, requirements include client PC software and/ or server software, the servers and PCs themselves and of course staff resources that are needed for installation, operation and maintenance of hardware and software.
Hardware & software: When CRM software is delivered over the internet as a service, it is termed as cloud CRM which is a branch of the SaaS (Software as a Service) concept. What cloud CRM solutions do is bring about a significant reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by taking the burden off a company’s shoulders and transferring it on to the CRM vendor. Thus, the responsibility of owning servers, management of software deployment, employing trained and dedicated IT staff, CRM software upgrades, etc. now becomes the prerogative of the CRM vendor. It just needs just a browser-equipped PC along with a broadband internet connection. All the benefits and functionalities of a traditional CRM system are served over the internet and that too at much higher speeds.
Updates & upgrades: The purchase and management of traditional CRM software involves installation, hardware compatibility, software update and upgrade issues – all of this is completely eliminated when cloud CRM is chosen. When cloud CRM is deployed, all issues related to maintenance, updates, upgrades, backups, system cleaning and management have to be conclusively shouldered by the cloud CRM vendor. Taking into account the operation expenditures, the implementation of cloud CRM has lower overall costs, can be implemented with relatively better speed and also deliver a much faster return on investment (ROI). Cloud CRM software also drastically reduces the associated time with adoption of new technologies. A new feature can be activated online and made available to end-users with their next p.
Flexibility: Small businesses do not enjoy the financial elasticity that large and medium sized firms do. This necessitates that they have an option to only subscribe to features based on their needs or newer strategies and financial growth. Cloud CRM allows just that - it offers small businesses with a ‘pay as you go’ business model for CRM implementations. Also, some vendors offer CRM solutions that can be switched by their customers from cloud CRM to enterprise CRM and vice versa.
Implementation & adoption: 
Cloud CRM solutions offer the advantage of being independent of computer and location, thereby providing small business CRM users the freedom to utilize their CRM tools anywhere and at any time.

Keeping the cost advantages and flexibility benefits of choosing a cloud CRM solution in mind, the primary focus should always remain on its functionality aspects. CRM solutions empower small businesses to streamline their services, enforce effective workflows and establish stronger customer loyalty. Cloud CRM eliminates the operational and cost related barriers that stand in way of implementing a customer driven strategy.

Effectively Co-creating Products with Social CRM to Increase Customer Retention

As a dedicated coffee drinker and an admitted Starbucks addict I was excited when Starbucks offered me the opportunity to provide them with my ideas for their business! Yes, Starbucks has taken a step towards co-creation. As of the third day of 2013, Starbucks has received over 67,500 responses. Comments are solicited on:
  • Food and Beverage ideas – new product and product improvement 
  • Experience ideas – ordering and store atmosphere 
  • Involvement ideas – community and social responsibility 
What is exciting about this process of co-creation is that the consumer is being considered, for the first time, as part of the design team.

Starbucks is not the only company to embark on co-creation. Market leaders such as Coca Cola, Lego and Apple have all engaged their consumer base in co-creation of products.

Meeting customer expectations to increase satisfaction
Every company looks for a competitive advantage. Co-creation can provide this advantage when applying their knowledge, skills and resources to help customers achieve satisfaction. One of the best methods for doing so is involving the customer directly in the creation process. There should be multiple popular and easily accessible channels for customers to share their suggestions or the entire idea of co-creation is worthless - maximum participation is vital. Social CRM automatically captures inputs through multiple channels and displays details through a single view for users, thereby negating navigating between multiple screens and attempting to identify and respond to relevant customer conversations. 

When the customer is involved the company must be aware that to create the desired level of satisfaction they may need to draw on additional industry partners. Partners who can provide the required knowledge, skills or resources to help provide the customer with the desired end result. The overall goal is always to co-create value. Value for customers as well as the company must be considered.

Creating the co-creation platform
Companies which wish to fully engage in a co-creative environment, must provide for their customers a platform through which they can share information. This is more than just using your CRM software to analyze the customer base, there must be a platform for interactive communication. This is not to say that the CRM base should be ignored in this process, but should be used to selectively target customers who are most likely to become engaged in the co-design process.

Going back to the original Starbucks example, as an iPhone app user for my Starbucks card I receive regular emails for the company asking me specific questions. These can involve new product introductions, including the opportunity to sample new products, soliciting of feedback within hours of an in-store experience, or simply providing information of a community event that is happening. By engaging me in the process I become a more loyal customer with the likelihood of increased long term profitability.

The co-creation platform can be, as in the example, an application on a smart phone, but it can also be developed through social media (Facebook, twitter), email, or traditional print and direct mail solicitations. Which platform is selected will be dependent upon the partners involved.

Social CRM will also ensure healthy and helpful two way interactions between brands and customers to benefit both. Using a CRM solution to collate all the feedback and responses from each customer across channels, future products can be designed which closely match customer needs and require minimal tweaking to match existing expectations. In addition, data mining can be used to offer better customization and service options to specific segments of customers.

The long term benefits of co-creating products
Co-creation doesn’t mean the company will no longer benefit from the initial sales to the customer, nor does it replace the traditional means of market entry. What it does mean is that the value of the product or service to the customer will increase with the ability to integrate their feedback or suggestions. By the integration of customer collaboration the need for “hard sell” cross sell or up sell begins to be eliminated. The customer collaboration provides long term advantages to the company.

Almost all major product or services businesses ask for customer feedback, but,  not incorporating all relevant suggestions into their offerings will lead to higher churn rates. Poor active listening will make customers perceive them as selfish product-centric organizations. The company that engages the correct partners and listens to the customer will be ahead of the competition in customer experience, customer loyalty and long term profitability. Effectively co-creating products and services in line with customers' real-time feedback is facilitated by social CRM which also ensures extensive word-of-mouth advocacy along with the capabilities to track customer and competitor activities across social networks through a user friendly interface.

David & Goliath: How Small & Mid-Sized Banks can Beat their Larger Competitors with a CRM Solution

Technology is inevitable. The traditional mode of banking can no longer meet the demands of the modern day customer. Neither can such models attract new customers or retain the loyal ones. The shift towards sophisticated technology that enhances efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability thus is truly inevitable.

So, let us first take a look at how the financial landscape has changed in recent years. Firstly, a significant section of investors and other customers of banks are researching online for financial products and services. Almost everyone in the BFSI sector has online presence today. They are monitoring it, optimising it, enhancing it and managing quite well.

The typical banking customer has also grown more knowledgeable. Most of the people started taking an interest in financial products when the 2008 meltdown affected their pockets directly. That was a wake up call and since then, we have seen a surge in the number of questions that a customer asks the sales person who is looking to sell a credit card or an investment plan.

Using CRM in banking to stay ahead
Optimize cross selling with a holistic customer view
The reality that customers are smarter, in fact, works in favour of banks, if they are to take ample steps to ensure transparency and marketing effectiveness in their approach. CRM in banking can play a major role in allowing banks to attract, retain, up-sell and cross-sell to the informed and financially well-versed customer.

As mentioned earlier, to cope with the modern day customer, developing advanced systems that help enhance sales effectiveness, improve the level of insights that the employees have on customer data. One success story that made waves is that of a small traditional Texas bank. The bank faced stiff competition from the large players and was witnessing dwindling sales when a CRM solution came to its rescue. The strategy was to make sales a part of the business culture. From the janitor to the bank's CEO, the focus was on sales. And, it was not just the sale of financial products, but, also an informed and updated approach facilitated by the CRM software that helped keep a track on the clients and even ensure proper follow ups. From instant access to credit ratings to providing extensive sales training to all the staff, irrespective of their department, the CRM solution helped the bank raise its operations and marketing departments to the level of the larger players who were beginning to dominate its market.

Optimizing onboarding for new accounts
The question should not be whether the Texas bank's success story can be repeated or not but rather how such a model can work in an emerging economy. The fact is the basics of the CRM model and sales strategy can remain the same. However, adjustments come in the detailing of the sales pitches and the follow-ups. Unlike the advanced economies, there is still a significantly large part of the population in such markets without bank accounts or financial investments. Selling financial products to such customers is therefore a far more complex deal where creating awareness and then the demand are the most critical steps. The role of customer relationship management becomes even more essential in such scenarios.

CRM solutions with inbuilt auto-responses, dynamic templates, mail blasters, etc. help minimize and automate communication efforts and allow real time information exchange, thereby helping financial organisations deal more effectively with low-quality but high-quantity accounts that such non-banking locations provide. People without bank accounts or with little exposure to other financial products can be effectively called high potential customers for small and medium banks. Attention must be payed to efficient onboarding and customers' welcome kits should simplify the entire banking customer experience to ensure low customer churn. Once converted, there is a higher probability of these new account holders becoming lifelong customers of the bank or financial organisation.

Tailoring each customer's experience
Banks have been known to invest large amounts in redundant technology which are piecemeal solutions to growing solutions or soon become outdated as newer technologies are born. The notion is changing gradually about legacy systems as CRM in banking has actually beat expectations and generated vast ROI. CRM software has also evolved smarter solutions - small and medium banks can implement cloud CRM or enterprise CRM in a bespoke manner - taking it one step at a time without affecting performance or overshooting budgets.

At the end of the day, customer experience is what makes the difference. Without a real-time holistic view of customers generated through your CRM software solution integrated with multiple touchpoints, positive customer perceptions can be incredibly difficult to achieve and maintain. Today's banking population would prefer to be recognized at the bank's doorstep and escorted to their preferred account manager rather than wait in long queues for simple queries or submitting account opening forms. Regardless of size, it will be banks that match customer expectations and consistently improve their customer relationship management that will progressively grow.

5 Tips to Ensure your CRM Solution Streamlines Customers' Decision-Making Process

The New English dictionary defines a decision as “A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.” ‘Consideration’ is the active word in this definition and implies that all options have been researched before the conclusion is reached.

Over half (58%) of all consumers research a product or service before they make their decision to purchase. These purchases, either on line, direct sales or brick and mortar purchases are all subject to decision research. Your CRM solution should enable you to provide your customers with the products and services most appropriate for them – in other words, making the decision easier for the customer..

While the promotion and delivery of appropriate products and services is desired, the company must remain faithful to the concept that the customer is the final decision maker and not the company.

Simplifying the buying process for customers
The first step to keeping your customer in the decision making process is in understanding how their choices are made – red or black, affordable or customized, etc. Your customer has access to an overwhelming amount of information about your company and more importantly, to your competitor’s products and services. A recent study noted that 12% of the U.S. population (that’s a little more than 37 million consumers) refers to social media or networks before making a product purchase decision. With information, your customer becomes empowered to make a faster and more mature decision. .

Providing too much information can be as detrimental as not providing enough information. Too little information and your customers will seek it and the product elsewhere, too much information and your customer may become confused and seek a simpler solution. –What your company should do is use your CRM software to help deal with the amount of information available by filtering the 'data', interacting with the customer on their own terms and in the manner they prefer. While your company has amassed loads of information you want to share with your customers, they aren’t really interested. What interests them in this multimedia age is ‘simplicity’ – the ability to glean the relevant facts to make their decision. Your customer wants your best product through the easiest decision making process.

Your company should also maintain an open or holistic approach to its customers. If your CRM information is kept in silo form, the risk of missing a significant number of customers or disengaging a number of customers exists. Ensuring your organization’s CRM users have access to a 360 degree customer view will ensure they can share all relevant information with a customer from across departments to facilitate a quick and easy decision making process.

Using social CRM to improve customer perception
Todays’ CRM software can provide your company with a community management platform. This platform works with all social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. By integrating these social networks into your CRM solution users can be assigned to provide customers with quick and meaningful responses.

Why is social media important? In 2012 Facebook had 845 million active users and had topped 1 billion in total users. YouTube has hundreds of million users internationally and Twitter surpassed the 200 million mark in 2012. Companies can no longer afford to ignore the social media phenomenon and those who react quickly will provide one more link to customer loyalty. Through these social media outlets companies are discovering their strengths and weaknesses as perceived by their customers. There was a time, if a customer’s experience was less than positive it was said that the customer would tell ten others about that experience. With social media those ten others have become 10,000 others who now hear of the experience. By monitoring the reactions and postings of your customers and responding quickly to their postings these experiences can be ameliorated. Quick response leads to increased customer loyalty.

A social media platform or community platform in your CRM software will also enable your company to use keywords to capture leads and negative comments from social networks. This will enable your company to continue the design process or sales process with the customers desires in mind. Showing your customers that you actively listen and react to their questions and concerns improves customer perceptions about your company and brands. Again, a methodology for creating increased customer loyalty, that too without additional software and hardware expenses.

5 tips to improve performance by simplifying decision-making for customers
Involving the customer can be the key to success for marketing any product or service. Using a CRM solution, you can assist customers in the decision making process:
1. Specialized multi-channel marketing - make the benefits and values of your product clear and compelling to the appropriate customer audience through their preferred channels.
2. Dynamic sales and marketing templates - ensure information is shared with customers as per internal business strategies by designing auto-populated templates to ensure uniformity regarding product and service details along with company branding in all communications.
3. Collect important customer information - pinpoint how their decisions are made and ensure your messages are reaching the right customer audience. Encourage responses with feedback to help improve marketing strategies and ensure your campaigns are not considered as noise.
4. Make changes in real-time - measure your success in the ability to refine your message based on customer feedback and increase your ability to reach a wider customer base.
5. Collaborate with customers - if responses from your customers are overwhelmingly negative and numerous issues have been shared by them, collate and analyze the information to improve your products, services and offers.

Remember, when you disengage your customer from the decision making process, only you are responsible for the product or service’s shortcomings. Competitors will use this to their advantage and increase customer churn. On the other hand, allowing customers to freely choose and personalize your products or services will ensure a better customer experience and larger volumes of sales in the long run. Implementing a CRM solution for monitoring and optimizing the entire process from generating a lead to closing a sale will also help increase repeat sales and identify bottlenecks across departments.

A Quick Overview of CRM Software Advancements in 2012

When one speaks about Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the primary objective it is supposed to serve is to assist organisations in better management of customer relations and get a firm hold on customer satisfaction. However, when the CRM products are designed in ways which hamper ease in use and application, the core CRM objectives are far from achieved.

A technical analyst of a well known research firm pinpoints this fact. Realizing the same, CRM vendors are now offering solutions where streamlined user interface along with ease of use have been ingrained as default characteristics in any CRM software offering and upgrade.

Bearing in mind specific needs of the makers on one side, and users/audience on the other, CRM applications can include a whole range of productive attributes including marketing management, sales management, customer service management, social media management and analytics.

Some major advancements seen in 2012
Advanced Business Analytics Tools inculcated in CRM Product Packages
Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group, opines that users are always eager to figure out what exactly is going on with their customers – an excellent way to dish out that knowledge is analytics.

In recent times, there are a whole range of new business products that include business analytics in their offered feature sets by default. Particularly with respect to CRM products, there has been a major thrust in this aspect.

The Enderle Group profiled a company in August, 2012. This organisation provides media marketers and buyers with lead generation software. Recently, CRM functionality was added to its line of services, along with additional software that served as a search engine as well as analytics platform for digital online advertisements. This smart integration offered a huge advantage to media planners and buyers – they were able to view in real time all the ads that were running online for particular brands. Analytics tools are increasingly being built into CRM systems as a necessary value addition. These tools enhance advertisement display information and also boost social media acumen.

In 2012, CRM vendors introduced new ‘service experience’ platforms which integrated CRM functionality with analytics, BPM, knowledge management and social listening. These applications do a thorough cleansing of the client’s social media landscape and retain only the most relevant conversations. Following this, the conversations are rated on the basis of sentiments in accordance with the set company rules. Finally, all the comments are routed to the service modules for relevant action.

Cloud Computing
The last year saw most CRM providers whole heartedly embracing cloud computing in their scheme of things. Charles King (Pund-IT, principal) pointed out that CRM has been a specifically positive proof point for cloud computing. He adds that even though cloud doesn’t necessarily fit well into all areas of computing, CRM is most definitely an area where cloud-based service providers are a rule rather than exception.

Ease in Use
In the past, CRM used to be cumbersome and included some complex applications that did not offer ease-of-use. 2012 became the year where these issues were taken care of as well.

“CRM providers have particularly watched out for streamlined functionality and ease of use in the CRM solutions offered by them” – says L. DiDio, principal of ITIC.

She is also of the opinion that the main focus of CRM solutions must be to enable organisations in bettering customer relationships and enhancing customer satisfaction levels. Using CRM software must be free from complexity in order to achieve the same. Now, CRM vendors are putting in efforts towards making search engines better, and designing applications in a way that syncing with Outlook or Lotus Notes becomes easier. Therefore, along with ease of use and streamlined user interface, intuitive has now become an added adjective for new CRM software solutions.

In the initial years when CRM solutions were just introduced, the major hitches were cumbersome administration, insufficient business analytics, and complexity of systems along with unfriendly user interfaces. Along with the passage of time when it came to surface that CRM systems need to be freed from complication in operations for smoother functioning, the glitches were gradually ironed out and finally 2012 saw fairly hassle free CRM systems and solutions. In the next few years, organization looking to implement CRM solutions will find they can be administrated and customized through user friendly interfaces without the assistance of additional IT personnel and expensive hardware.

6 Ways CRM in Pharma Ensures Continual Growth

It is a well known fact that making a profit isn't easy in today's market. However, this endeavor becomes a tad more difficult when one is working in the pharma sector. This is because pharma companies have tons of hurdles that other players in the corporate sector don't need to worry about; the time lag between the testing and final sanction of a drug, stiff competition from lower priced generic drugs, ever changing drug regulation laws, etc. And, of course, economic crunches and recessions don't spare anyone, including the pharma sector. However, the biggest hurdle that pharma companies face is the fact that they cannot hire celebrities and cannot simply directly market their products to the general public. With drugs having a limited shelf life and pharma companies having limited options of going about their tasks, how can one hope to make a profit?

The entire game plan lies in effectively planning strategy. Implementing CRM software successfully is a sure shot way to optimize existing business strategies and create new ones. The advantage of a CRM software lies in its ability to create a common platform for maintaining a constant and strong relationship with customers (doctors and patients) ensuring that their loyalties stay put and that they aren't snagged by competitors.

Advantages of CRM for pharma companies
There are many ways CRM software benefits pharma companies -
  • Develop a better relationship with customers - with the number of drugs released and the number of patients being inversely proportional, one needn't be a mathematician to infer that holding onto and maintaining a steadily growing relationship with existing customers is of essence.
  • Capturing and utilizing data – information regarding the distribution of patients, doctors and drugs can be collated and shared through a central repository easily with CRM software to ensure that there is no discrepancy between supply and demand at any given point in time.
  • Planning a marketing strategy for drugs - while outright marketing of any prescription drug is considered unethical and unlawful, a 'soft' approach to plugging drugs is allowed. Issuing pens, small gifts and displays at pharmaceutical counters and doctor's desks catches the eye and tends to stick with a customer for a while. This can be planned effectively and in an insightful manner, if a software exists to collate sprawling data of all the pharmacies, doctors and prospective customers in an area along with all related open and closed activities.
  • Track campaigns - a CRM software can effectively manage campaigns for pharma companies who showcase their drugs in the form of camps and tours wherein products like nicotine patches, ORS sachets, etc. can be distributed and thus, marketed. The CRM solution also ensures clear visibility for a campaign’s expenses versus leads generated and converted.
  • Customized rules - A CRM software ensures that queries, cases and general responses to customers are fast tracked and tackled immediately using assignment rules and alerts.
  • Progressive improvements - working on feedback and suggestions received also ensures that the services and products provided in the future are better and enhanced. Also, escalation rules ensure that management at different levels is aware of all shortcomings in products and services.
Securing a competitive advantage in the future

Drug regulating bodies are becoming more and more stringent with their laws in an attempt to crackdown on unscrupulous approaches by certain pharma companies. There is an increasing amount of interference by local regulation bodies, to the extent that in certain parts of the United States, laws have been passed that do not permit doctors to share their patients’ prescription data with anyone besides the individual it is written for. With four states in the U.S. already having adopted this law in an attempt to thwart the steady increase in frivolous medical lawsuits, it is only a matter of time before such a law comes into force elsewhere in the world, so as to protect the fragile medical community.

While there are pharma companies that are fighting to have such laws repealed, claiming it is a violation of free speech protections, there is little hope that their voices will be heard over the screams of doctors asking for more protection and confidentiality in their work. In such a foreseeable future, imagine being a pharma company and not being able to know which doctor, or worse still if any doctor is prescribing your drugs or not. How will one plan marketing campaigns? How will one go about building relationships with customers not knowing whether or not they are prescribing medications from said company? With such scary possible prospects ahead for the pharma industry, it is best to strike while the iron is hot and rope in the help of CRM solution so as to streamline and fast track the entire process of introduction and marketing of drugs while they still have a shelf life of a few years.

Collecting data to deal with the possibility of having no data in the future due to restrictive laws is merely one handicap that can be overcome with the aid of a CRM software. Understanding, analyzing and sustaining customer relationships, leading to an improved customer retention rate is the eventual aim of any pharma company looking for future-proof strategies. This can be accomplished if a network exists where trends and details can be documented, analyzed and worked on. Besides these advantages, CRM in pharma also improves workforce productivity leading to a win-win situation for the company by automating recurring non-core activities and generating out-of-box reports and analytics. Increased and sustained profitability is an achievable goal for companies that plan well ahead of their competitors; this is also the case for forward thinking pharma companies that successfully implement CRM solutions.