This guest post comes from Dan Sincavage, co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Tenfold, a phone intelligence software company located in Austin, Texas.
CRM software was heralded as an innovative way to help businesses better manage their sales pipeline and customer relationships. Unfortunately, its launch was accompanied by a host of new challenges: Configuration was complex, implementation pricey, and teaching new employees the intricacies of a whole new system proved time-consuming. Even after lengthy training, users were faced with tedious tasks and a disjointed experience. It’s no wonder, then, that many sales representatives still loathe CRM software. It just brought increased frustration to the workplace rather than fulfilling its original promise.
New CRM software, however, has subsequently emerged that now addresses the most common user complaints. Nowadays, CRMs are ushering in systems that genuinely increase sales productivity; these new systems are elevating E-commerce sales, as well as those in brick-and-mortar companies. Here’s how.
Developing a Successful Business Model
CRM for eCommerce is only as good as the data it holds. After all, people cannot analyze data they don’t have. Previous CRMs required users to enter contacts manually, thereby negatively impacting efficiency. In an industry that demands everyone be a hare as opposed to a tortoise, this can be very problematic.
Contemporary CRMs now automate the collection of data by integrating with the productivity apps that businesses already have in place. eCommerce CRMs instantaneously compile data, such as spreadsheets, emails, and calendars, and glean insights from that information. Consequently, sales reps and their managers receive beneficial insights that can help them make important business decisions right away.
By capturing the right data at the right time, sales teams spend far less time in sales meetings discussing what took place and focusing on strategies to meet business goals instead. By involving everyone in the process of providing sales reports and updating client information, managers can gauge whether performance matches expectations; doing so can also help identify employees who are ready to move upward within the company.
CRMs also include numerous tools that help sales teams be more productive. Things like asset libraries, email templates, individualized reports, and data analysis allow employees a convenient way to improve their work capabilities. Moreover, they provide managers with an efficient way to measure individual performance and identify areas that can be improved.
Empowering Sales Representatives
CRM in eCommerce should provide insight that sales managers and representatives can act on to improve the sales funnel. Prior to having efficient CRMs, companies were forced to rely on numerous software programs—not to mention the time and money spent training, testing, and upgrading these systems—to stay current with other businesses.
CRMs can now organize and visualize the information in an easy-to-interpret manner. This allows sales managers and representatives to make sound business decisions. Teams are handed tools to track progress toward goals and review performance. By having this information readily available, sales employees no longer have to guess what will come up during a performance review or question how they measure up against sales quotas.
Moreover, customer service representatives benefit from having information like product inventory, customer purchasing history, and payment background a mere click away. They can utilize data, such as customer browsing and purchase history, to better upsell and cross-sell products to customers. In a B2B model, they can use this information to negotiate purchasing terms with customers.
Building a Thriving Customer Service Portal
Having an eCommerce CRM helps sales reps identify ways to improve connections between what customers want and what a business delivers. It provides the possibility of communicating with clients without tying up the employees’ time and simultaneously provides answers based on the data unveiled.
A CRM system integrates and seamlessly unites all facets of a business because all departments can use the CRM to communicate with a customer. Also, representatives have remote access to vital information through the cloud-based platform.
Delivering a high-caliber customer experience becomes easier when sales representatives have more information available. A robust data set brings that information to the forefront, thereby allowing reps to close more sales. Managers can focus on other concerns while the CRM software handles more of the online, interpersonal relationships.
Improving Closing Percentages
Many prospective customers make a purchase after seven to nine interactions with a brand. Most sales representatives, however, quit trying to make a sale after a mere three interactions. Forming a strategic plan to consistently contact potential clients can help prevent prospects from dropping off the radar.
CRM software helps companies structure such a plan and organize steps for high-quality interactions. It assists in prioritizing opportunities and managing them in a structured sales pipeline that extends from initial contact with a website to a closing sale and follow-up.
Reducing Employee and Sales Fragmentation
When operating multiple systems, such as Outlook, Act!, or other accounting programs, it becomes increasingly likely that information will be either lost or neglected. Fragmented and unlinked data results in lost sales opportunities. When customer service representatives leave sticky notes on their computer screens, unattended business cards stacked on their desks, and sales tools in multiple places, it’s obvious that problems will result.
An efficient e-commerce CRM platform allows representatives to focus on actually selling while the sales window is open. Rather than searching for notes, opening numerous applications, digging up phone numbers, or placing callers on hold while programs lazily open, sales reps have the information all in one place and ready for instant access. This type of software can help avoid such bottlenecks by:
- Providing email templates for appointment confirmation, sales follow-up, dropped-cart messages, introductions, and case studies;
- Generating an asset library that maintains all of the customer’s information in one convenient place, while also protecting a company’s brand and messaging;
- Customizing reports so that managers and sales reps can readily see how each individual, region, and product are doing. This also allows management to track progress and provide corrective action if needed.
Providing Targeted Marketing Opportunities
By segmenting and targeting optimum accounts, sales teams can develop a consistent strategy to nurture those clients. Whether this is through management follow-up, a thank you letter, marketing a new product, or providing a relevant company newsletter, CRMs can offer visibility to these accounts so that an effective strategy can be developed. That way, relationships are deepened and important clients aren’t lost.
An eCommerce CRM cloud system can also pull together information from multiple sources, such as the financial department, customer service center, and marketing so that sales opportunities aren’t disjointed or fractured. It also gives an overview of performance so that management can easily see if certain accounts—particularly the high-selling ones—are being appropriately nurtured.
Reducing the Cost of Online Transactions
Online payment methods that don’t require divulging credit card information are becoming increasingly popular. Money transfers and online payment services are becoming the norm as people grow reluctant to expose banking account information. For companies without an integrated CRM system, these alternate payment methods carry a hefty price tag both regarding fees and the time spent processing.
Research indicates that the cost of labor through a non-integrated system can range from $5 to $16 per order, which seriously impacts a company’s bottom line—even those who function solely in the eCommerce industry. By contrast, businesses with a fully integrated CRM system can enjoy a fee of less than $1 per transaction.