The Value of CRM Part 2: Bridging Islands of Data

One of the greatest values provided by CRM is that they help to bring together islands of data that exist within each department, branch and employee within a company. This is particularly the case with modern CRM systems, many of which have been expanded to include more departments and to link more easily with other systems. There’s a reason software providers are moving in this direction: Granting each employee access to the collective knowledge of the whole company empowers each person to be better at what they do.

Here are just a few examples of how a well-integrated CRM system can have change your company for the better:

It effortlessly enhances customer service. Requiring your service team to record a few key pieces of data during each visit and giving your sales team access to that information can give your sales reps an edge. Imagine how empowering it would be for sales reps to be able to say “I can see that one of our service team members will be in the area today to work on X. Would you like me to have them stop by and drop off some information?” or “It looks like our service person was out there last week on a repair. Did you get everything you needed on that?” Bridging service team and sales team data becomes even more powerful when you train your service people to ask sales-related questions.

It allows you to capitalize on competitors’ mistakes. Information from the service team can be used to uncover opportunities for increasing your share of wallet when your competitors slip up. You can train your service team to ask leading questions and uncover information a salesperson typically can’t because of the service team’s greater exposure and perceived trustworthiness. When both your inside and outside sales reps have access to detailed information from the service team on customer challenges, they’ll have the inside track when it comes to offering better customer solutions.

It helps you make the most of manufacturer visits. If you set up your CRM to track product codes associated with the complaints and comments received by service and sales teams, you can share this information with manufacturers during visits. And you can focus your discussions on the most promising areas of opportunity based on the profiles and buying behaviors of your best customers.

It makes onboarding easier. Sometimes the gaps between islands of data in your organization won’t be between departments or branches, but between individual sales reps. One distributor I worked with told me that before they implemented a modern CRM system, vital territory information was often handed down to new reps via outdated and hard-to-read handwritten lists. When new reps have the sales and service history of their target accounts within easy reach, they can hit the ground running.

Part 1 of this two-part series explores another element of CRM that can provide significant ROI: report automation. Did you miss it? Read about automation here.

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