Companies that use one tool for support data, another for sales information, a separate database for marketing, and another for accounting are terribly familiar with this scenario. Not only is it frustrating for people not to have vital information on hand, but it wastes time when a person needs to search multiple folders or shared drives to find the information he or she needs.
Centralized Data to the Rescue
Although many people are hung up licensing fees, training, and other implementation costs when weighing the benefits of a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, they often forget the benefit of having a centralized database in which to store customer information. In the age of big data, this should be reason enough to pursue a CRM solution capable of handling:
- A customer’s order history;
- Activities associated with sales (calls, e-mail, demos, etc.);
- Social media contacts;
- Customer support requests;
- Issue resolutions; and
- Marketing analytics.
Moving away from siloed data not only gives everyone who needs information access to it but helps ensure that the data entered are accurate. Without having to work from a multitude of open windows to enter data into different systems, errors are less likely to happen. Centralized data also means that no matter who is accessing the CRM system, the most up-to-date information is what they get.
Not Just a Benefit for Sales
The sales team would certainly benefit from being able to see the entire customer communication snapshot, but other departments would appreciate this ability, as well. Marketing teams would be able to pinpoint campaigns to specific customers based on their history and needs. Support teams would have the added benefit of seeing which product versions and add-ons the customer has to better help them solve problems. Management would find the ability to review customer records from one location an important asset when their time is limited.
Aside from all of the benefits that centralized data brings to the table, the one that has the greatest impact is the fact that users need only be trained in one system rather than the multiple tools many companies rely on. This one benefit is so important that if presented in the right way, it could provide users with reason enough to support the CRM system’s implementation. With support from the people actually using the product, the likelihood of the project’s success increases dramatically.
Big data is not going away, so being able to manage it is essential for any business looking to move forward.