According to Salesforce.com, full and rational use of CRM makes sales grow up to 29% for small business. Such dramatic business process improvement relies not only on automation powers a robust CRM system provides but also on forecast capacities you possess as you integrate the software into a workflow. The analysis and forecast accuracy enhances by 42%. And once you’ve applied a solution and trained your employees to happily use it, the productivity of work grows up to 34%. Impressive numbers, aren’t they? The market keeps growing: in 2014 it was $23.2 billion as against $20.4 billion in 2013. CRM software implementation becomes a common practice among your provident competitors.
Why CRMs are great?
You may skip this paragraph as you supposedly know the basics and jump right into our case story. For those who are still here, let’s immerse into CRMs. Customer relationship management systems are unsurprisingly designed to make your life simple when you deal with customers. Basically, CRM software is an interface to substitute all your sticky notes, reports, progress documentation, leads and customers history etc. for a sole system with numerous interconnections. Smart ones can even enhance your business processes by delivering analysis data.
How does it work? It depends on particular objectives you want to achieve. Commonly, CRM collects various data from your employees, catches incoming leads, tracks social media activities by subscribers, sends notifications to potential customers, and does whatever actions it was designed for that could be automated. There are both off-the-shelf CRMs and custom ones. The latter are developed to specifically match business requirements of a company. These systems cost considerably higher. Although off-the-shelf systems can be adaptive enough, and if your workflow doesn’t stand from the crowd, they will be satisfactory for business processes.
Set your memory free. As your business grows, you have to utilize more and more sophisticated tools to store your data, set calendar events, and write various reminders. Although you have a computer and cloud services to keep documents, calendar tool in a smartphone, and lots of yellow sticky notes surrounding your monitor screen, that becomes ineffective in the short run. And once you’ve reached a vacation time, some of your current duties have to be passed to someone else from your team in order to keep continuous communication with customers. Is this person ready for sticky notes? CRMs can combine all organization actions in one convenient interface. And all the data related to customer history and leads can be accessible for any authorized user.
Automation and personalization. Do you keep all the emails in a single mailbox? Do you have to track changes in social media? Are you still writing letters to clients to notify them about your existence or to send useful information? All these tasks can be done faster in an automated manner. CRM can classify incoming emails, track leads, comments, and other user activities in social media as well as send notifications to customers or any other feed they should receive at a particular time. As relationships with customers evolve, robust CRM systems are able to assign updated statuses to keep every detail recorded. This kind of a business process improvement not only speeds up customer-related operations but also eliminates human factor risks. Tracking statuses and every piece of information regarding client history you can figure out a personal approach to each person.
Accurate forecasts. How much time do you usually spend to do all the calculations to draw metrics and make predictions about further results? These operations can be automated as well. CRM systems are trained to catch all your data, analyze it, and even forecast the outcome you’re going to have in the approaching period of time. Even though a program isn’t a fortune-teller, you aren’t as well. So why don’t you let CRM process your data?
Custom CRM case study
DDI Development is an old hand at delivering custom CRM systems for businesses whether they are small startups or big enterprises. To showcase, we offer you to glance over the mockups of the system which we have developed which has already brought 13-15% sales growth to our client’s business in a latest quarter.
Unlike other CRMs, this custom solution was made for internal use only. Our client needed a convenient environment to manage the leads, keep all the order information, and set tasks. The automation goals were correlating with the major objective which was to enhance marketing techniques and increase a revenue within short term.
The CRM embraces three companies operating jointly in interior design and engineering. In terms of technologies coverage the CRM utilizes the Django framework to power backend capacities and the Ext JS as the user interface tool.
The client's problem was to possess the system so approachable that his employees could start using it with minimal preparatory training. Our UI/UX specialists’ expertise made it possible to design intuitive interface which was acclimated by employees upon 2 days of use.
The tabs represent major layouts to work with. This particular CRM is able to keep business contacts with all the necessary personal data, collect notes and uploaded files, set financial forecasts, calculate expenses, track leads by opportunity tool, and plan meetings.
The project processing begins with setting an opportunity. All the opportunities are displayed in the general list and each opportunity has basic and additional tweaks. For instance, you can add design tasks that are going to be displayed in the tasks layout and set specifications required.
Reports and forecasts
All the opportunities are rendered in the reports layout with their statuses displayed as the charts. You can track additional data regarding opportunities as well. Once you’ve updated opportunity status, e.g. have submitted a quote, it’s going to affect the reports.
According to sales forecasts, you can specify in dedicated layout, you also receive dashboard reports. When specifying forecasts for each month you set amount of units to be sold, their prices, and divide shares in percent between companies involved. When units get shipped and invoiced, it is also reflected in the reports.
Mileage expense tool
The CRM has a number of additional tracking features. As our client has to set a lot of meetings, we added mileage expenses layout which allows to calculate time, distance, and add general info concerning business trips. The map feature defines the distance to be covered and travel time. We used Google Maps API to set travel routes.
This particular system allows to track each customer’s story from incoming lead to an invoiced product, evaluate monthly changes, and provide a proper analysis.
Launch and utilization
The test-driven development we applied drastically reduced the measures to be taken for debugging and support after the launch. So the system was integrated with the least preparations required. As the development process goes the CRM receives further improvements. We are still modifying a number of tools to make processes seamless and convenient to embrace within the development of the second version.
The first version is already in use and according to our client’s estimations, the percent of sales has grown up by 13-15%. Even though it’s not matching with Salesforce numbers, this is the still impressive result for 3-month use only. We expect the even greater process improvement after some reengineering and enhancements of the existing version. We couldn’t respectively provide numbers regarding productivity growth since our client hasn’t done any productivity calculations yet.
When I choose CRM?
It’s all up to you. CRM systems are able to process any data loads, so you could apply it even if your company has just 5 people engaged, and the number of operations can be easily kept in mind. But it’s the rare case. If you are representing a retail business, one of the major organizational steps to outplay your competitors is to bring CRM capacities to your current workflow. You should apply CRM system when it’s going to provide productivity growth of any kind rather than wait until integration is urgent.