6 Facts Prove a Need for Smarter CRM in Business

infographic approach to CRMLooking through a new infographic on “An Integrated Approach to CRM” and accompanying white paper there are some important statistics surrounding midmarket business that have surfaced. Some are obvious and have been talked about before - but together it paints a very visual view of the state of how business has changed, and as sellers we need to take notice and respond.

First of all we agree that with a flatter economy, we need to work to grow revenues from existing and past customers – those who know us already and who could do more business with us.

Instead of taking a “smarter” approach to CRM, some companies should just finally begin and take a “smart” approach while others can definitely get a refresh on the tools and strategies they have in place- thereby getting smarter. Consider the facts:

12% of the US population refers to social media before making a purchase.

Personally, I find this statistic to seem low, but that is probably because I usually see a stat that talks about adults or B2B buyers. Considering the whole US population, it makes sense.

This means that 37 million Americans are consulting the web for reviews, data, demos, audio, video, pricing, service options, and comparisons with your competition before they reach out to you.

Is your web presence smart and represents all the best in your company? Or is there room for improvement? Do you understand that just a few tweaks in your web presence could mean more business today? And that you don't even know who is out there looking for what you sell until they actually show up some way in your analytics.

When it comes to sales leaders, marketers, and customer service leaders, the info metrics shared say:

81% plan to increase their use of CRM

80% plan to increase mobile app usage

82% plan to increase social media

81% plan to increase customer analytics

Once again, are you ready for this? Are you REALLY ready?

Consider this:

On average, 23% of an organization’s data is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Big deal? Yea – because you are losing time that you can never get back whenever a sales rep works with bad or inaccurate information. Sometimes deals are lost. Again, I feel this is a low number - it seems that everyone has old and obsolete data at any given time.

It’s a Buyer’s Market

"What was once an uninterrupted flow is becoming a series of moments—from the point when the consumer first becomes aware of a new product or service, through the investigative process, up to the purchasing process—all of these moments may become discontinuous and be separated by days or weeks. The speed of information access and processing means that a business’s opportunity time frame to influence the process is decreasing, and they are increasingly less able to exert control over the other influences on the consumer, including the social network and Internet search engines."

That was a quote from the A Smarter Approach to CRM whitepaper IBM authored in collaboration with Frost & Sullivan.  It is again pointing to the fact that as sellers, we have smaller windows to impact a prospective customer - so every bit of impact we have counts. How does your impact look on the web, in social conversations, and as part of a buyer experience?

Companies who fail to follow-up or offer an exceptional customer experience, for example, are going to fall by the wayside.

What is Unstructured Data?

This is what frightens me in a sales organization – important prospect deal update information on sticky notes, customer change of addresses on personal Smartphones, and voice messages about all sorts of updated information,  This is unstructured data, and there is a LOT of it in organizations. Most of data in organizations IS unstructured. When you lose a sales rep, much of this data goes away, unless you have done a great job keeping track of it, or creating an environment where data is maintained and kept up.

Have you lost a sales rep or customer support rep recently? Did you notice after a while that a lot of information you thought was documented wasn’t? Unstructured data in people’s brains is the worst type to have – nothing documented. All midmarket companies need to manage data better.

Listen, Really Listen Online

Marketers, sellers, and customer service staff all can now make decisions on the fly, as a result of what they are hearing and conversations they are having online with clients, past customers, and prospective new ones.

Connecting it All is Critical

One of the biggest issues for midmarket companies is having tools in place that connect and talk to each other. While this is easier to do in 2012, there are also mistakes businesses make every day by deciding on platforms that don’t integrate in the ways your business needs to today.

For example:

Can you bring in visitor data from your website right into your CRM system and trigger a process for contacting, interacting, and following up with a potential prospective customer?

Can you easily take your CRM data, segment it, and do customized messaging to prospects, clients, and those who haven’t done business with you for a while?

Have you ever signed up for an event only to get email after email telling you to sign up? This is an example of un-segmented marketing. Instead, you want to be able to thank those who have signed up – maybe giving them special offers or access while others who have not signed up don’t benefit. You learn as a customer that signing up early pays off  - through special access and benefits.

Lots to think about. Check out the white paper and infographic and post YOUR thoughts. How is YOUR business handling this?



IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.

Topics: B2B

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