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Sales Eye - Managing your customer relationships (May 9th, 2005)

2013-02-19
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Managing your customer relationships

9th May 2005

 

Today we launched our new customer relationship management (CRM) system, designed right here in Poland.

 

Does your company run CRM? Even if you don't have a formal system, your sales reps must be using something to manage their customer relationships.

 

What is CRM?

CRM can be defined as "a business strategy to identify, cultivate, and maintain long-term profitable customer relationships." CRM is nothing new; it existed long before modern computer systems. However, the possibilities of CRM today are much greater, thanks to those complex and clever programs.

 

CRM can help you: identify quality leads and win new customers; help sales and marketing to identify the best customers; create better marketing campaigns; improve telesales, account, and sales management by optimizing shared information; and provide post-sale service.

 

Critical thinking

Now you can spend a few thousand złoty on your CRM solution, or a few million, but in the end, any system you implement will have to address the following issues.

 

Client Rankings

How to identify top clients from smaller ones, and how to distinguish prospects from clients, ex-clients or "sleepers." Does your system do rankings based on actual sales data; sales reps estimated potential, or some less objective measure?

 

Sectors

We like to look at our sales by sector - pharmaceutical, electronics, retail. Your CRM system should allow you to analyze your clients in the way that you view your clients.

 

Territory

How are sales going in the north versus the south? Are you capturing enough market share in the Lubelskie region? What are sales per population for a given area?

 

Sales rep activity
Your CRM should help you manage your sales rep's day. What is his frequency of sales visits or calls? How often should he visit a client, once a month? If he doesn't, does the system remind him, and his boss?

 

If your company does not run any sort of CRM system, and you are thinking of it, plan to spend at least a few months in the system selection process, and three to six months minimum in installation. Before you start though, decide how much you can afford to spend - and then negotiate like hell with your provider. Don't let them go over your budget.

 

If you have a system already, ask yourself: "Is our system delivering all of the benefits listed above?" If not, then go back to the drawing board - your client relationships may be suffering.

 

From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"