Staying Ahead: 5 Competitive Advantages of an Integrated CRM System

Nowadays, being connected is everything. We enjoy the advantages of the Cloud, Drives, Boxes and synced apps. Seamless connectivity drives a big part of not only our private life. It also influences our professional efforts to sell. With a rising offer of third-party applications and dynamic market needs, it is crucial that you align your customer relationship management with these external systems if you want to outsmart the competition. Let’s take a look at 5 competitive advantages of an integrated CRM system.

1. Lower Overhead Costs

Let’s first start off with what everyone likes to hear: using an integrated CRM will save you money. As digital solutions are springing up like mushrooms, employee training costs are rising accordingly. Technology Advisors reported that companies spent 32% more on training overhead in 2017 than they did in the year before. Educating employees to use multiple systems is not only expensive, but also counterproductive. When you replace one of your programs, you spend money on additional training while your teams lose valuable time. Using an integrated CRM saves you the budgets that competitors are spending on multiple trainings. Moreover, it gives you more time and an optimized synergy to use your core-business in building a competitive advantage. Finally, high-performing people gravitate towards companies that prioritize integration and innovation. Investing in the right CRM platform will prevent losing these employees and the additional cost of hiring new talent.

2. Fewer Excuses, Better Data

If you know your sales reps or if you’ve read Sloppy Sales: Why Your Reps Still Don’t Take CRM Seriously (+ 5 Tips to Help), you know they are the hardest crowd to impress. Implementing new workflows and platforms is often met with excuses like

  • “My 2012 Excel file works just fine.”
  • “Nothing beats a notepad. I never need any internet connection while I’m on the road.”
  • “That’s just more work for only half the results.”

But can we really blame them if you’re using 7 different programs for market research, lead generation, email campaigns and ROI reporting? If you want to implement solutions, the last things you want are bugs, syncing problems and double workflows in return for your money.

Choosing an integrated CRM platform takes care of your sales teams’ final doubts.

  • Offline workflows.
  • Immediate and transparent ROI reporting.
  • 24/7 campaign insights.
  • The possibility to build apps from scratch without any computer engineering training.

These are some of the reasons why Sales people love an integrated CRM like Salesforce. With the right training, using the platform will become second nature. Updating prospect information after the first visit will be as simple as 1, 2, 3. Leveling up that prospect to a lead so that the marketing team can send him the right brand materials will come as naturally as shifting gears. And when sales reps see the advantage of using your platform, they’ll be your best CRM ambassadors towards the rest of your organization while your competition is struggling to get everyone on board. How’s that for low-cost change management?

“When sales reps see the advantage of your platform, they’ll be your best CRM ambassadors towards your organization while your competition is struggling to get everyone on board.”

3. 360° View

Getting sales reps excited about CRM increases their will to provide more and better data (so long, incomplete customer profiles). This again gives marketing and sales teams more input to work with. In turn, you have sufficient data to analyze your campaigns, gaining better insights in what works and what doesn’t.

Logging customer data and marketing campaigns in different places is more than just time-consuming. You also create an immense risk for miscommunication and parallel task flows if the systems you use, are not in sync. By using an integrated CRM, you allow people to keep working in their trusted systems, brought together automatically by a mutual interface. That’s optimal productivity, a better synergy and without any manual effort whatsoever. This leads to a 360° view of your customers, your campaigns, and your processes.

While your competitors are using verbal feedback from some customers, frustrations from sales reps and other unreliable input sourced from multiple systems, you are comparing hard figures to decide where the money and effort go next.

4. Better Customer Experience

If you’ve read The 1st Step Towards More Qualified Leads: Buyer Persona, you know integrated CRM paves the way for a smooth end-to-end experience for your buyer. Additionally, it also brings internal alignment between your teams. Picture this: your marketing team works with an independent email campaign program, while your sales team uses its lead generation tool and your service department only uses your ERP to help customers and handle after sales service. Ask yourself the question here: are you trying to reach your customer with one unified image and message? Or are you sending mixed signals?

Using an integrated CRM helps you solve this question. With Record Types and Page Layouts, your sales team differentiates specific steps along the sales funnel according to the Persona: short funnels for bulk orders and longer funnels for custom orders, for example. The marketing and service team subsequently use customer segmentation in the Client Records to guarantee a personal approach to different segments. And what about A-level customers? The top 20%? Salesforce Buyer Personas allow you to define different levels of discount and which customers should be prioritized in terms of service response times. This means a personalized approach for your audience without having to face them one-by-one.

These and many other Salesforce tools guarantee symphonized marketing efforts, harmonious output towards your audience and a better overall customer experience as a result. Music to your ears, no?

5. Higher Customer Retention

If you just came from the previous paragraph, this is a no-brainer, really. We told you before that One-to-Many is dead. Therefore, building a better and more personalized customer experience using CRM will result in more qualified leads, again guaranteeing a higher customer retention rate.

Why is that?

Nowadays, we use artificial intelligence for more than just repetitive tasks. More and more companies are using the technology for sales forecasting, analytics and translating Big Data to operational teams. Your CRMs AI can filter out those leads that don’t have a high change of conversion, for example. This means you’re focusing your efforts on market segments that are the more likely to bring revenue. In other words, integrated CRM saves you money by eliminating above the line tactics and elevates customer retention specifically because its focus on below the line solutions.

In short

  • With third-party applications on the rise, aligning your customer relationship management with these external systems is crucial to build a competitive advantage.

  • Implementing CRM integration will save you money by (1) cutting training costs on multiple systems and (2) retaining high-performing employees.

  • An integrated CRM has a higher chance of winning over sales reps than a non-integrated CRM. With them on board, you get yourself low-cost change management to influence other employees to use your platform.

  • CRM integration makes it easier to assemble, update, track and analyze data, resulting in a 360-degree overview of both your audience and processes. This transparent ROI reporting saves you time and money in the long run.

  • With an integrated CRM, you get more internal synergy and a smooth end-to-end customer experience because all campaigns and efforts are in sync. This seamless experience results in more qualified leads and eventually, a higher customer retention.

So, these are 5 reasons why marketing automation is essential to SMEs. You know that CRM is no longer a utopian tool for big corporations with six figure marketing budgets. That even though marketing automation takes time, it’s an investment that will not only get you amazing results, but also transparent reporting about these objectives. And finally, that automating your marketing processes can save you time, overhead costs and gain you more qualified leads in the long run.

Are you already using marketing automation?

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