The sales cycle can be a long and convoluted journey – both for the customer and for the supplier. The customer expresses an interest in one product, gets passed from the marketing department to the sales department, who then pass the customer onto finances, before the post-sales support team picks up the pieces. The customer may have to re-explain their requirements and order at each of these stages to prevent “no, I didn’t want that one, I want the same one that the marketing brochure showed me”, “why am I being billed for postage when I picked the item up”, to “why haven’t I received a follow up call, I did tick that box at the order stage” or “why am I getting marketing information for gardening equipment when I am interested in pet products?!”.
These questions can be avoided when a cloud-based CRM solution is used to manage the sales cycle. Right from the pre-sales stage, the salesperson can enter the correct details for the prospective customer into the CRM system. When a product or service has been decided on, the transfer of this quote to a sales order is an automated process. This means there is no manual process in having to re-enter the product information and therefore no chance to enter an incorrect product code for example. Remember that, as the sales person is using the cloud to enter the details, they are able to do it there and then on a mobile device when servicing the client. The results are instant and error-free.
When the item has been ordered and the sale has been processed, the invoice for the finance department can be generated again at the push of a button, without needing to re-enter any information. No nasty surprises for the customer when the email with their invoice arrives!
Finally, when the post-sales support mechanism kicks in, the support team can bring up the invoice and sales order details, and have a full and accurate history of the prior activities associated with that transaction. If the customer has made any specific post-sales enquiries or requests, these can be logged as activities on the CRM system as and when the requests are made, with a system of notifications in place that ensure enquiries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
A hosted CRM solution such as OpenCRM is a great place for you to manage your sales cycle from start to conclusion and beyond. You can find further details on what we offer by clicking on the following link: http://opencrm.co.uk/features/sales-orders.html
So you want to move to a new CRM solution. This might be your first time using CRM with this organisation, or you could be migrating from one CRM solution to another. Perhaps you feel your existing solution has become too expensive; there are countless reasons that might prompt a move.
On top of getting the new system up and running and educating your Users, one of the main challenges is getting your data imported.
There are a number of things which can make this task either quick and simple, or long and painful. Having been in involved in the data migration process for numerous systems, here are a few pointers which might help.
Of course in a CRM solution such as OpenCRM you can filter your data and should you need to bulk update records, this is easily done. But the earlier you start to tidy up your records and data, the easier it will be to manage when on your CRM solution, not to mention starting with a clean slate like this will help encourage a solid practise for future data management.
For more advice and tips have a look here: http://opencrm.co.uk/crm-knowledgebase/kb1401086/Things-to-consider-when-importing-data-into-OpenCRM--Troubleshooting-imports-that-are-not-working.html
The internationally-based company Green Investment Services is a carbon consultancy that work with their customers to help their decision-making in the Carbon Emissions Trading Market, to find and recommend the best green investments worldwide. This requires a sophisticated and deep CRM solution and we are pleased to say that GIS have selected to work with OpenCRM to fulfil this need.
We are delighted to announce that North Yorkshire based office fit-out and refurbishment experts Brava have opted to use OpenCRM for their CRM requirements. Established in 1980 Brava has developed into a client led resource for the office fit-out and refurbishment market place with an enviable reputation for service.
Different businesses and organisations all have one thing in common regardless of size or level of success – they are all facing the prospect of managing ever increasing volumes of data. This can be anything including growing numbers of historic records, email and other addresses, sales documents, marketing data, quotes and all kinds of information that you gather about your leads and customers. The quantity of data is increasing, and this needs to be processed with the same or possibly fewer resources that have traditionally been used.
A great step forward in terms of data management is the ability to store it in a centralised database. This enables the post-sales team to access data that was collected and managed before and during the sale by marketing and sales teams. The logical way to store this is in a cloud-based solution, which can be accessed real-time at any time and any place. Managing all your customer data in one location offers the marketing team the chance to push new product and company information, special offers and customer advice, based on the sales and account history of each client.
The more this data grows, the more challenging it becomes to manage. This challenge can be met by using a standardised practise, such one CRM solution to house this data and manage the relations between the different fields of knowledge. As your data grows, you are able to keep the historic data on your virtual workplace, without having to file it away into boxes of paperwork or discs down in the basement. Maintaining your data on your CRM solution also means you do not have to worry about any additional safety or security implications should you be storing data in a secondary location.
Whereas traditional forms of data grew and became more complicated to manage, filtering and reporting tools within CRM mean more information brings additional value as you are able to build up more complete and accurate images of your customers and potential clients.
What’s more, instead of piling more and more files on top of each other, cloud-based CRM stores these records in a manner that is easy to access and manage. If knowledge is power, being able to store all of this intelligence at your fingertips in a CRM solution is surely the most effective means of harnessing and benefitting from what could be your greatest asset – your customer data.
Sales Pitch: OpenCRM offers you a huge storage facility, allowing you to keep all your important data together, in one CRM solution. This provides many benefits, amongst others the ease of access of data in the cloud and the peace of mind of a secure storage solution for your day-to-day and historic business records.
I recently followed a number of news reports that revealed how a major player in the automobile industry launched a twitter campaign to coincide with the Superbowl; unfortunately for them the campaign was a thinly disguised form of spam and was quickly exposed as such (OK, as you probably know the company was Toyota, for further reading see: http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/02/04/toyota-takes-to-spamming-twitter-for-camry-super-bowl-promotion/)
This clearly shows that even the biggest companies and multinationals around are in the same starting blocks as everyone else when it comes to social media. Of course social media is here to stay and every serious contender needs to feature it in the marketing mix, but jumping on every platform available simply “because it is there” is not going to work. Blatant sales marketing on a direct marketing platform will backfire as it breaks down the levels of trust upon which that very platform is built. Being spammed with an unsolicited sales message on a person’s private space is a sure way of getting to “unlike” or “unfollow” the product or company in question!
Implementing tools available in your CRM solution is a good way to get your social media campaigning in tune with your target audience. You can filter your customers and potential customers using the data you have collected, and are able to send intelligent direct messages that are in tune with the intended audience.
The campaigns module in your CRM solution is a great place to build lists of addresses related to a specific marketing offensive. This can be converted into the type of campaign required – whether by phone, email, a mailout or via a social network – your target group data is contained in one location with plenty of tracking tools to enable you to get the most from your marketing efforts.
When you use something on a daily basis, it quickly becomes a part of your routine. This might be the route you choose to drive to work, how you make a cup of coffee in the morning, or some of the ways you approach your work, or in our case, your CRM solution. Sometimes it takes a bit of observation and input from someone else to suggest improvements to your routine. Of course your first reaction will probably be to defend your way of doing things, after all this is how you have always done things – no-one likes change for the sake of it!
Once your pride has been swallowed however, you’ll see how filtering the water does makes your coffee taste so much better, or how that short scenic route to the office really does make the day start on a more pleasant note. I was happy enough with the way I searched for information in OpenCRM, clicking back and forth between modules in one window, when a colleague smiled and pointed at the magnifying glass beside the contact name. Clicking here opened the record in a new window, meaning I no longer had to click back and forth. Of course the magnifying glass had not appeared out of nowhere, it had been there all along. But having slipped into a routine I limited myself to see the tools I used every day and blended the rest out.
Every now and again some collaboration, advice and shared information will provide either new food for thought, or possibly a great new angle on how to approach certain tasks.
Sales Pitch: For advice on using OpenCRM whether a general overview or for a specific part of a particular module, our Knowledgebase is a great starting point. If the topic you are searching on is not covered in there, please contact us and we will do our best to remedy this.