To improve customer relationships, your sales, marketing, and service departments must work together collectively. This convergence isn't a combination, but more a coming together around business intelligence using tools like customer relationship management (CRM). While retaining their own strengths, learn now to build customer relationships as a team.
CRM becomes a central communications and knowledge repository to track customer information so that at any point of interaction, your employees have the details they need to fulfill a customer's desire. If you use this tool to store what you know about customers, then your marketing department learns about insights gathered in sales, and sales to learn from service.
Feedback collected in CRM can improve results between departments as well. While marketing-sales-service needs to work together closely, each department retains their own unique perspective. Use CRM to track metrics that influence the quality of leads, sales conversion, customer lifetime value, and customer retention.
Scenario: (i) Contact A, B, and C enter the system as a results of a lead generation campaign in marketing. (ii) Sales picks up the leads and discovers A and B convert to a sale, while C is unqualified. (iii) Finally, A turns out to be a great customer who purchases frequently with a low cost of service, where B calls daily with innumerable requests.
In a convergence model, your CRM system contains information about each stage so lessons learned in one area can be applied in another. Sales documents lead quality at (ii) measuring time to close, monetary value, and purchase quantity. This detail would be available at (i) for marketing to tune their lead generation efforts.
More importantly, customer lifetime factors recorded by service interactions at (iii) tell both marketing and sales they need to focus on more A customers. By documenting the entire customer experience, you can catch challenges before they become problems. Do you have unprofitable customers like B, who cost more than they are worth?
Your actions depend on the characteristics of B customer interactions. In a convergent marketing-sales-service environment, you know when to do something to improve a specific situation. Sales can improve how they sell in the future or marketing can provide better pre-sales education.
Customer relationships improve, because unlike many companies, you'll understand more about expectations and behavior at each customer interaction point.
/ bi-crm | crm-roi /
By Justin Hitt at February 2, 2004 2:47 PM Subscribe in a reader
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