CRM as a fulcrum

    For several years I have been buying power tools on the same network. Usually the buying process was mundane: twice a year I bought equipment there, checked in the hall, sellers issued a check and a guarantee. I recently needed a chainsaw. I went to the usual network, bought it. They asked for a full name, date of birth, telephone, in a minute they issued a discount card with points accrued for the purchase. A few days later the SMS about the action fell on February 23 - I bought a serious set of socket heads. Then came a notification about the sale of a new oil for my saw. That's how they increased the frequency of my visits. And why? As it turned out, relatively recently introduced CRM in this network.

    The development of online communications, specialized platforms, social networks and services has made inevitable adjustments to customer relations. Spoiled and informed, buyers and customers seek to receive goods (services) quickly, efficiently, and competently. They expect unobtrusive attention, perfect service, after-sales service (new items, promotions and even ... congratulations on holidays). Should you hesitate a little or misfire, consumers will go to competitors - since now everyone knows everything and choosing an analogue in most cases is not difficult.

    It doesn’t matter in which field you work - b2b or b2c, whether you sell concrete structures or balloons, in any case, your task has long outgrown the well-known classic money-commodity-money capital formula. ” Now the formula has expanded and requires maximum attention to the sales process. Not the last role in the sales process is played by CRM systems. If earlier they were the lot of fashion companies wishing to count and take into account, now it is necessary software that, with the right approach, allows you to take your business to the next level.

    What are CRMs?

    If in 2007 I answered this question “analytical and operational”, then in 2015 I would answer unequivocally: cloud and desktop. Developers of all stripes felt the growth of the corporate software market and began to create their many systems competing with solutions that have been working since the early 2000s. Some of them are difficult to call CRM, some broke into the market and grabbed a powerful share.

    To the peak of popularity cloud solutions are selected- Easy to deploy, intuitive, not distracting employees from their favorite browsers. In the overwhelming majority of cases, they are delivered using the SaaS model - that is, a monthly subscription fee is paid for CRM and the system is deployed on a third-party server (most often a third-party server, even relative to the vendor). In principle, such systems are suitable for small companies that do not really care about data safety and security. Alas, when it comes to trilateral (and sometimes even more) interaction, the risk of software problems increases. In addition, cloud-based CRM is a dependency not only on the Internet, but also on connection speed. Since not all of Russia is doing well with this, working in cloud services is sometimes very difficult. The most popular representatives in Russia - bpm'online from Terrasoft, amoCRM , customer base ; for some reason, Megaplan and Bitrix 24 are uniquely attributed to the CRM class , which are essentially a corporate information system with an integrated CRM module.

    The second class of CRM - desktop. As a rule, these are systems with a long history and strong functionality. They are deployed on the client’s server and completely belong to him after a one-time (although there are installment and rental) payment of licenses. In such CRM, you can work offline without fear of losing data. Desktop systems are distinguished by sophisticated modules, the presence of built-in integrations, configurators and SDKs. Previously, such systems made certain demands on the hardware of the company, today many of them are so optimized that a regular computer can act as a server. Some of the vendors of Russian desktops gradually go to the cloud, but nevertheless offer customers a choice. To date, the market for desktop systems have left Terrasoft and Freshoffice, which offer new customers only the cloud. On-site solutions are offered by a foreign vendorMicrosoft Dynamics CRM (there is a cloud), RegionSoft CRM (there is no cloud, but there is a rental scheme), Client-Communicator Click CRM (there is still raw web-CRM) and so on.

    I am a supporter of desktop systems, so I will not unequivocally advise, not knowing the structure and features of a particular business. I can only talk about the economic aspect. If you do not plan to close your company in the next two years and implement CRM for business, then the desktop with all the functionality is cheaper: you pay once and for all, and the rental payments for the cloud in a short period of time outgrow the cost of implementing CRM as a desktop project and become frankly disadvantageous. After realizing this, the business has two ways - either to buy CRM again and migrate the database, or continue to pay, because the database has been accumulated, work is underway, there is nowhere to go. That's the calculation.

    What can CRM do?

    It's no secret that any CRM takes into account customers, products, transactions. Today, the line between CRM and ERP has almost disappeared - most popular systems have come to universality. Therefore, modern CRM-systems, in addition to their standard functional perfected over the years, perform a huge number of functions, corresponding to almost any business need.

    Planning, task and project management. An important functionality that allows you to organize working hours and optimize project work. With the help of planners and project modules, it is possible to carry out collective work on one task, sharing responsibilities and setting deadlines. Reminders and notifications that come in automatically help you not to forget anything. One or another project planning and management mechanism is provided even in the simplest CRMs.

    Setting up and managing business processes.Each company has processes that occur periodically and according to one scheme: logistics supplies, inventories, purchases, approvals. During such chains of operations, the weak link is most often found: forgot, missed, missed the deadline. As a result, entire units suffer. The mechanism of business processes helps to deal with such problems - you rigorously configure the algorithm, determine the stages, put down responsible people, deadlines, actions and reminders - as a result, the work is well-coordinated and timely.

    As an independent module, business processes do not exist in all CRM systems, therefore, if it is extremely important for you to create a graphical and logical process algorithm, you should carefully consider your choice and look at CRM that includes such functionality.

    Customer management and interactions with them. Even based on the decoding of the acronym CRM, this is the main functionality. Until now, many companies are finding a place for their customers in Excel or, at best, Access. In this case, sooner or later problems arise both with data samples and with damage to all information in the tables.

    The task of CRM for business is to create a single workspace in the form of an interaction interface that can process data from the database and perform various operations with them. At the same time, the user just accesses the data, but has no effect on them - they are stored in the database unharmed regardless of the correctness of the operator’s behavior. Well-known powerful CRMs help create mailings, group customers, keep a history of relationships and so on. All this makes CRM an indispensable assistant to front-office managers and salespeople.

    Integration with services and equipment.CRM for business should be the basis of a single infrastructure, therefore, if there is a special equipment or services (website, online store), the program should be integrated with them. This is necessary both from the point of view of correct accounting, and from the point of view of obtaining the most relevant data.

    Accounting, reporting, analytics.The data accumulated in CRM should serve as the basis for decision-making and the development of marketing and sales initiatives. For data analysis, CRM provides built-in tools, such as a sales funnel, ABC analysis, summary reports. Some CRMs allow you to create unique reports that you need, for example, using OLAP or the Fast Report constructor. In CRM knowledge bases, you can accumulate experience, best practices, and survey customers. Thus, the system also performs a training function - a new employee will not have to ask every little thing, it will be enough to study the materials that have been accumulated.

    In almost all popular CRMs, you can create templates for documents, contracts, commercial offers, and create primary and closing documentation. Programs (especially desktop ones) are easily customizable and adapted to the needs of any business. But it will not be superfluous to recall that improvements require additional money and you need to be prepared for this. As well as the fact that an ordinary programmer can not cope with the logic of new software for him, so it is better not to save, but to contact the vendor. Moreover, often the completion by the vendor will cost you much cheaper than the six-month salary of your developer, who could not cope with the task. In general, I recommend not treating the vendor as a seller, but cooperating with him throughout the life of the project, because no one except the CRM developer

    For a more visual representation of the use of CRM, we will analyze two simple cases.

    CRM for sales: wholesale and retail

    It seems that in the retail store CRM is definitely not justified for sales - the operator simply does not have time to enter each customer into the system. I had to come across such an opinion more than once - and it is fundamentally wrong. Modern CRMs work with trading equipment, huge items, POS-terminals and at the same time can be the cornerstone of the start of a loyalty program.
    • CRMs provide efficient inventory accounting and warehouse management - using a system that has inventory accounting (RegionSoft CRM or CRM Click), you get full control of the warehouse online and can send orders for missing production items or applications to the supplier on time;
    • By entering customer data into the system and using discount cards, it is possible to create loyalty programs for various consumer groups;
    • Thanks to reports with many parameters, it is possible to analyze the structure of goods turnover and timely display irrelevant commodity items - so the store owner protects himself from illiquid balances in the warehouse;
    • CRM helps to take into account the effectiveness and productivity of each employee - thus, management receives the basis for motivation or depremization of personnel.
    • In addition to popular print flyers and TV commercials, you can send SMS messages or colorful HTML letters to your customers who provided an e-mail when registering in the loyalty program. If you have an online store, you can integrate it with CRM. You can also integrate CRM with the site and get leads for further work right from there;
    • Some CRMs are well-tuned for working with retail (MS Dynamics CRM succeeded in this especially with paid third-party connectors and RegionSoft CRM in Professional and Enterprise editions) and they can even be used to print price tags on special printers.

    Of course, the process of implementing CRM in a large store or at several points is not quick and expensive, it requires additional hardware and human resources. However, grateful customers will always return to the company that tied them with attention, quality service and a loyalty program. That is why CRM projects successfully pay off and give reason to rebuild from competitors who are not ready or unwilling to develop their IT infrastructure.

    Service CRM

    Recently , a cry of the soul of the owner of a beauty salon who had not found his system was published on Zuckerberg Calls . The author either misleads, or gets acquainted only with incoming CRM offers, being too lazy to get the market done. He stops at the first stage - the stage of collecting and entering data, and is silent about the other aspects of customer relations. Meanwhile, it is in the service industry that CRM is becoming more and more indispensable. Consider the situation. There is a salon, in the salon there is a paper journal of customer records and a discount card is provided after the accumulation of services for 10,000 rubles. How everything happens: a person is recorded in 30 seconds, then they are asked to keep checks in order to wait for a card, then they are written down again and, if the client does not go very often, they may not consider him permanent. With CRM, the situation is different.
    • Yes, it takes more than 30 seconds to make the initial data entry. But now there is gender, age, date of birth, telephone, the history of payments and the structure of the services used are accumulating. Bottom line: the card was issued on time, the birthday greetings were sent, the colorful newsletter with the latest news passed, and the additional service most interesting to the client was successfully sold;
    • Sometimes the VIP-client remains invisible if you write it in a notebook. For example, client A visited you and spent 10 500 rubles - you gave him a card and he won’t return to you anymore. And there is client B, who has been spending the second year of 3000 per quarter. He does not go often, but stably. Changing managers at the reception do not remember him - but he actually has long been a VIP and providing him with a more frequent arrival and a larger check is a matter of several proposals;
    • A client portrait and a service portfolio are formed. By correlating them among themselves, it is possible to carry out effective promotional events that hit exactly the target audience;
    • If we are talking about a network of salons, then correctly configured CRM will provide an opportunity in real time to collect and centralize data collected from each point into a single database.

    How much everything will be integrated with the cash desk or serve only for customer management depends on the skills of the staff and the desire to build a single IT infrastructure. Back to the beauty salon: he buys a lot of supplies and cosmetic products, which tend to end very quickly. The receipt of products and their consumption can also be taken into account in CRM and it is easy to send an order if everything is over. At the same time, CRM (for example, RegionSoft CRM, 1C CRM, MS Dynamics CRM through connectors) will be able to work with the cashier and discount cards. It will not be superfluous to plan staff work in CRM and calculate their motivation using the KPI mechanism - key performance indicators. Such functionality is within the power of almost all of the solutions listed in this article.

    CRM in the service sector works on two fronts - it performs its main function of tracking and managing customer relationships and works as an accounting system for the entire business.

    Which CRM to choose?

    Alas, as there is no single cure for all diseases, there is no absolutely universal CRM. Considering the system is based on a number of factors: requirements, the need for improvement, the infrastructure of the company, the presence of a technical specialist in the state, price. I basically put the price in last place for a number of reasons:
    • You can find good solutions in any price segment, even free if it is a single user (for example, desktop CRM CRM and RegionSoft CRM Express );
    • the imaginary low price of the cloud, for example, can in three years outgrow the cost of a desktop project several times and bring down all your preliminary calculations;
    • experience shows that the average cost of implementing CRM in a small business is about the annual salary of a mid-level manager. For some reason, managers often easily take on “extra” employees, but actively resist paying for a tool that can not only free up the colossal time of managers, but sometimes replace some of them. In most cases, CRM implementation is a low-risk and quick payback investment.

    It is much more important to understand who you are and what you need. If you just keep a list of customers and look at the results of transactions, almost any of the modern systems is enough. If you are going to seriously manage marketing, it is better to look at CRM systems like bpm'online marketing + sales (Terrasoft) . If you have telemarketing, your own production, several warehouses or a retail store, then it is best to choose RegionSoft CRM . If it is important for you to build capacious, serious and very complex business processes, I would pay attention to ELMA . For those who like to take into account corporate finance and work with complex analytics, there is a Click CRM .

    I mainly talk about domestic solutions, although I have no moral right not to leave a couple of lines of admiration for SAP , Sugar CRM , Salesforce , Microsoft Dynamics CRM . They absorbed the best foreign practices, where the CRM paradigm itself in its development was significantly ahead of Russia, but these are “pontoon” systems. They remind me of imported luxury cars, when a bunch of lotions generates wild value, and the first spring slut on the dirt road drives the owner behind the tractor. These are CRMs:
    • do not work well with primary Russian documentation. Nursed on import invoicing, far from all of them have learned to form invoices, acts, invoices, and so on;
    • difficult to integrate with 1C. Integration takes place through modules modified by the vendor’s partners - and they are expensive and cause difficulties in implementation;
    • have a completely different logic and structure - often difficulties arise precisely because of the specifics of the interface, different from the usual templates. For example, try to search for the necessary module in MS Dynamics CRM - it’s easy to get confused in the menu logic with no habit.

    When choosing a CRM, it is important to remember that you invest money and enter into a long-term relationship with an IT system that will become an assistant for your business. But it will never be a panacea if there are no processes and relationships within the company, moreover, the introduction of CRM in such an organization can add even more confusion. Therefore, I advise you to look around you before buying, understand the needs and requirements of your company, consider the risks, and study possible problems during implementation.

    Make up your mind, embark on the path of intensive development, detuning from competitors and new customer relationship management. You will receive a reliable assistant, a modern and relevant accounting system - a real fulcrum of your business.

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