Sales & Marketing

Are you undervaluing the importance of CRM?

5 min read

27 March 2018

In today’s digital-first business landscape the role of a CRM system is growing in importance, providing leaders with real-time info to make decisions.

A CRM (customer relationship management) system is often thought of as one of the most under-utilised resources in most businesses. While most will have some kind of structure in place, is it time to start rethinking its role and placing it at the heart of operations?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are discovering the influential role CRM can play in a growth strategy – helping with reporting, customer experience and productivity.

Office and design fit-out company Area, which was founded in 1999, found it provided a wealth of new insights.

Justin Bass, special projects director at Forefront Group, which owns Area, said: “We’ve seen a sea change in how we report. Previously this was a manual process and often subjective but it is now entirely based on facts being driven by CRM data.

“Previously, our directors would spend several hours every month updating our finance team about the timings for on-site work delivered. All this data is now available to finance in real-time and this alone has saved in excess of 20 hours each month across our companies.

For cost management consultancy BCR Associates, it’s been a case of using CRM to look at its data more closely.

“We have an incredible amount of payment detail coming in,” IT administer Jenny Bicket said. “I use [our CRM] on a daily basis and this is giving us new insights to forecast sales, analyse renewals, and even predict when contracts will be signed.

“Our main goal was to help us build and maintain profitable long-term relationships and grow the business. We can see from our data that we are working with more clients, we are billing higher values and our customer satisfaction levels are higher.”

The ability for business leaders to have, in real-time, a better understanding of performance is a common thread. Sebastian Stungo, CRM administrator at conferencing services company In Communication, explained: “Our coordinator team need to react quickly when we receive new instructions and enquiries for conferencing events. Improving the monitoring of our service level agreements was an immediate priority. [Our CRM provider] identified and implemented a series of services that manage these performance indicators as we require.

“The main impact of this is that we’re now able to dynamically show real-time performance on a big screen in the office using our CRM data. This flashes up our key metrics to show us what is successful and highlight any areas for attention.”

Flagging potential problem areas has been a big benefit for In Communication, but for Drax UK a CRM system has meant it can better handle prospects, quotes and contracts.

Colin Smith, sales and marketing director at fire alarm technology and maintenance company, Drax UK, commented: “Our sales team have immediate access to all the information they need via their mobile devices.

“For example, wherever our people are I can have a timely commercial discussion with them about an individual opportunity and we can decide on a strategy.

“Previously our marketing activities were not consistently focused but by aligning our email marketing and social engagements we are discovering new insights about our audience which is helping us segment our lists and better personalise our messages.”

It may well be that your business already has a CRM system in place, but legacy technology means it is struggling to keep pace with growth efforts. That may mean it is time to consider a new offering with better services and tools.

If you’d like to learn more about common business growth challenges, and how installing or updating a CRM system could be the best solution to advance your growing business, check out Preact’s Playbook For Business Growth with Microsoft Dynamics 365. It summaries challenges and key concerns of growing businesses, shares examples of customer success stories and demonstrates why investment in technology is imperative to achieving scalable business growth.