I recently came across an article that was published by Naseem Saab, the president and Founder of Results Software. His article provides excellent insight into some of the "high level" benefits of having a CRM system for businesses today as well as the critical needs of having the CRM system integrate with QuickBooks and Outlook.
I appreciate Results Software allowing me to republish his article...
CRM (Customer/Client Relationship
Management) is software to record, track and report on all prospect, customer
and vendor activities and transactions. CRM allows businesses to have information that
is immediately available, complete and up-to-date, enabling them to respond
appropriately to any request, to increase effectiveness and success. Firms used to consider this type of
centralized and comprehensive information resource a desirable option. Now it’s a business necessity. As the speed of business has increased and
competition grown, good CRM software has become a critical component for
success and will help you and your clients survive the current economic crisis.
The CRM Advantage
Consumers and businesses want to buy
from the firms that know them and care about their individual needs and
desires. In the late 1990s, many companies discovered the best way to build
customer loyalty is to obtain good information on all of their customers and
use that information to create programs that cater to each customer's preferences.
The most effective of these programs
gives everyone within the enterprise access to customer data, which enables anyone
who might have contact with a customer, from the salesperson in the field to
the shipping clerk in the warehouse to, in effect, be a customer service agent. The continuing need for firms to present this
single face to their customers is the primary reason why CRM software is
expected to be the hottest selling business application of the early 21st
Sales of CRM software
actually began to soar in the late 1990s. According to figures compiled by AMR
Research, CRM software sales topped $762 million in 1997 and then jumped to
more than $2.3 billion in 1998 and $16.8 billion by 2007. AMR predicts that this market will continue
growing at a rate of 49 percent a year.
are so hot because they enable companies to create strategies that focus the
entire enterprise on serving customers," AMR's Peggy Menconi says.
"Companies are realizing that they can increase earnings faster if they
know their customers better. If they have a better picture of their customers,
they can tailor goods and services to them. They can cross-sell and up-sell to
them. After all, it is a lot cheaper to sell more of your products to an
existing customer than it is to find a new customer."
Menconi also notes there
is urgency among firms to become more customer-focused, and that is helping to
move the purchase of CRM applications to the top of many companies' list of
priorities. "When you have clear potential for increasing your revenue
line, you don't wait," Menconi says. "If you do, you could find
yourself suddenly losing market share because your competitors know more about
your customers than you do."
A properly implemented CRM system
allows companies to segment their clientele and track preferences and
trends. This permits them to target
promotions and client contact in ways that say “We know you and care about
you.” The result is more client loyalty,
better success with promotions, and increased client referrals. In a difficult economy the importance of
client loyalty and referrals is even more pronounced, increasing the value of a
well-tuned CRM system.
Whenever you pick up the phone your CRM system becomes your information hub,
where you go to immediately know who it is on the line, how you know them, what
they were promised, what was delivered and whether it’s all been paid for. With a good CRM, businesses can expect to
increase sales, reduce costs and improve cash flow. The CRM provides business continuity and
makes information a truly valuable business asset by centralizing all of your
client information, sales opportunities, documents and communications history.
Integration with Business Systems
No one needs a case study to tell them that it’s time-consuming and even frustrating
to search for a particular email or document.
Add to that the problem when it’s on someone else’s PC or might have
been archived or deleted. The CRM system
can integrate with Outlook and also have a Document Management capability, so you
gain an almost complete contact record, tying together all of your
client-related emails, documents and notes in one place. The time savings and improvement in client
service are significant once you eliminate the need to look in different places
for all the client-related information.
Staff Accountants and Bookkeepers
report that too much of their time is spent preparing QuickBooks reports for
Sales and Management personnel. Sales
and Management complain that the account information they have is rarely
up-to-date enough because they have to wait for Accounting to provide periodic
reports. A CRM system that properly
integrates with QuickBooks will give everyone in the organization visibility to
the data they need, without giving them access to the books.
When a CRM Solution is designed
to be fully integrated with both Outlook and QuickBooks, it becomes all-encompassing
to the data that matters; from communications, to operations to finance. CRM empowers firms to respond to client
requests and sales opportunities with great speed and efficiency, regardless of
whether they are a small business or the largest, most well-staffed corporation
CRM provides firms with
competitive marketing advantages and improved client satisfaction. In difficult economic times customer loyalty
and the success of marketing efforts are the key ingredients for survival. As you consider your business plans for adding
efficiency and planning for business growth consider the benefits to your firm
and to your clients’ firms in implementing an integrated CRM solution.
Get a demo of Results CRM software to see for yourself how it can help your business take care of existing customers and better track those prospects in the pipeline.
Scott Gregory is a specialist with QuickBooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise software. He has been helping businesses get clarity and comfort with QuickBooks since 1999.
Connect with Scott @ Bottom Line Accounting Solutions today!