Making and maintaining strong positive relationships with your customers is a core aspect of any business' strategy. With that in mind, what steps have you taken to ensure your customers' experience is the best it could be?

Often when this question is asked, responses vary; from implementing systems purely designed for meeting exactly this need, to disorganized spreadsheet bloat, all the way down to a circle of sticky notes on the wall behind their monitor. Those implementing dedicated systems are on the right track, because without a system in place for organizing critical customer data, much of this information can be lost to ineffective digital filing, or physical misplacement. What this means for you and your employees is loss, both of time and the money that comes along with it. When information is misplaced, staff are left adrift, unable to move forward until they have spent the time—that they would otherwise spend producing—hunting down data like contact information, sales orders, quotes, or other items critical to contact management and lead pursuit.

Even worse than slowing down the process, a loss of data can devastate the strong customer relationship you have worked hard to foster with your clients. These relationships can often serve as a driver of sales through continued customer loyalty and effective targeting. The respect and loyalty of your customer should be understood as critical to the continued success of your operation, but managing the data vital to maintaining this relationship can be a headache and a half. By neglecting to implement a proper system for fostering this positive relationship, you are putting yourself at risk of potentially hurting your market standing, and jeopardizing long term success. By making use of an ERP system with customer and lead management capabilities, business benefit from the ability to simplify their sale process, while providing their sales staff with the data they need to work quicker and more effectively.

Through the use of sales management software like that which is available in the majority of ERPs, organizations can benefit from an increased capacity for helping customers, meeting sales goals, and remaining competitive. Users adopting an ERP or a disparate sales management platform often get more than a simple platform on which they can keep their critical customer data.  A sales platform worth its salt is likely to aid not just in tracking customer information, but also in improving the overall performance of the business in its respective market. Business performance can be improved through sales management features, such as a comprehensive view of all essential information, including, but far from limited to, outbound calling information, email analysis, marketing expenditure, and time wasting. Often when adopting a platform for storing client information, businesses also get a platform for lead management, in which they can organize prospects, target characteristics, position competitively, and campaign more effectively. The key to competing in your market is the intersection of lead management and customer data management, made easy in a configurable ERP platform.

The Impact Managing Leads With an ERP

A vast majority of companies actively work towards acquiring new leads. That’s the goal; it's their lifeblood. Because businesses are constantly looking out for the next great lead, it’s understandable that the search for opportunities plays an important role in their daily operating procedure. With marketing efforts often occupying a large chunk of a company’s annual budget, it should be more than evident that mismanaging your leads isn’t just costing you opportunities—it's eating away at your budget. So, if your business needs leads to thrive, the next question you should be asking yourself is: How do I currently manage, organize, and target my leads; and are my methods actually hindering my organization’s potential for growth?

So, after your marketing team brought in the last set of leads, what happened to them? While you may be able to say that you followed through with them to the best of your organizational ability, can you honestly say that your system allowed for entirely optimal engagement with them? Can you claim that you converted as many leads as you could have into customers? When a new lead manifests, to an organization operating in an ERP the first step is obvious: import the data into lead management. From there the lead management platform provides you with the tools to organize these leads into common groupings, and position them in the sales pipeline. Through a thoroughly planned and well implemented sales management system, not only will your sales reps stay organized and on pace, conversion should increase, and it should make for a better consumer experience for your customers overall.

Better Organization With an ERP

Through the use of a lead management platform, classification and organization of leads becomes intuitive and effective, allowing you to score and group leads as they are captured or acted upon. Beyond organizational benefits, the data tracking function of ERPs can often provide information critical to determining the success of your individual strategies, with lead management ensuring that the marketing source of the lead is recorded where possible. Unfortunately, many business neglect to take advantage of the benefits offered through lead management, ignoring their requirement of a system for lead development as inbound marketing efforts increase.

Without a proper strategy in place, increased marketing efforts can mean that leads aren’t being properly followed up, with some sales teams reporting as many as 40% of their leads are facing exactly this. Lead management offers organizational tools previously unavailable, or otherwise time consuming, with many platforms capable of organizing leads by critical factors such as location, lead source, industry, requirements, and more. Essentially, it makes organizing outbound strategies and distributive needs simple and effective, keeping your business focused and honed to a razor’s edge.

More Available Details With an ERP

Ensuring that your organization has a proper platform in place for lead management will do more than keep your sales people focused and on track; it’ll also ensure that better lead details are available, helping you close more deals and provide a better experience for your valued customers. Unfortunately for your sales people and company, many of the leads salespeople are given are far from quality, including those with factors limiting their likelihood to buy. With a lead management system in place, visibility will be the ally of your sales people. With details, available at a glance, redundant outbound calling is eliminated, because sales people have access to the information which determines eligibility and sale likelihood. Benefiting from lead management, you can determine the effectiveness of marketing strategies and assess tactics for increasing consumer attention and customer retention.

            Further, sales teams are often constantly-changing beasts, with salespeople prone to switching roles, regions, or even jobs on a semi-regular basis. When salesmen change territory, a service void is often opened in your current customer and leads list. Through this hole in your service coverage, new leads and services for old customers can often fall through the cracks, decreasing revenue, and squandering potential return on advertising efforts. Needing to fill these gaps, new salesmen are brought on to join the sales team. Unfortunately, these new employees will need to be brought up to speed on the lead lists they are working on, and the client book they are responsible for servicing. This process is easier than ever, with the lead management system keeping staff within the confines of best practices, and the company wide software organizing any and all information your previous sales team may have collected on any given client.

Reduce Your Loss With an ERP

            Not having enough leads to go on can be a scary situation for any business, but not having the capabilities required to convert the leads you do have to customers can be equally worrisome. The fact is that today’s customers demand a decreased response time from the companies they choose to work with. Without a proper system in place for managing your leads, how can your operation expect to convert leads otherwise unfamiliar with your company to customers, with the speed required to actually beat said lead to prefixing their needs with a different system?

Make no mistake, losing leads means losing revenue. Fortunately, today’s businesses have access to tools which aid in fostering effective commutation with their prospective customers. So, what the most effective way to make sure your leads are organized and presented for success? If you’ve been reading to this point you may have guessed it: a lead management platform. By ensuring that you have the right tool for the right job, you are not only ensuring your salesmen are on task and on time, you are also ensuring that they are able to close more sales, and provide a more amicable experience for your customers.

The Contact Management Boost

Likewise, numerous benefits come from the customer management side of the sales management system. Through a contact management platform, several tools for increased efficiently which would have been previously unavailable to you suddenly become available. With an achievable goal of greater efficiency, and a contact management system in place, organizations can expect results. Benefitting from the ability to easily contact customers and track information critical to sales success, sales people working in an ERP platform get to see customer information critical to their lead or service task, know who needs to be contacted, and know who is responsible for contacting them—all with a quick glance. With your customer information organized and available across your organization, sales, marketing, and client retention are all areas which can expect a boost in efficiency of daily operations

Log Information Instantly

Many businesses know the tedium of a manual contact and customer resource management system, and the meticulous tracking of interaction information which comes with it. Every meeting called, telephone answered, email exchanged and dollar earned needs to be logged and stored with vital customer information. These businesses know the value of having such a comprehensive list of information available at a moment's notice. When they get a surprise phone call, or a customer drop in, they know where to look for the information they need, with little digging around.

 They know that over the course of their daily operations a great deal of data is generated, with each customer interaction providing insight into the details of their operations or lives, offering greater opportunity for sales in addition to improving up and cross selling potential. Thankfully, the tedious manual process otherwise required in order to acquire a comprehensive list such as this is largely eliminated when operating in an contact information system. By tracking vital information through the use of an automated system, user-client interaction is available to all customer-facing staff, allowing for optimal engagement with the client.

Improve Customer Experience

It simply never looks good for a customer to catch you misinformed by inaccurate customer data, and it happens all the time. Each time your sales team ‘misremembers’ client data, it not only harms the relationship they are meant to be developing with the customer, it can also even damage the reputation of your company—a critical blow. Through the use of an ERP platform for management of your contact database, customer information is presented readily and accurately to any authorized party requiring access. Otherwise, this information is often recorded by one member of your staff, but rarely makes its way through the organization in a useable fashion.

 Through the organizational benefits offered by a contact management platform, businesses can focus on providing a more positive experience for their valued customers. Through the speed and accuracy afforded to you through customer management, clients will likely be impressed with your improved operational capabilities and speed. By maintaining customer satisfaction levels,  you should expect to see the number of clients increase, as clients who are well serviced are more likely to become loyal customers, and recommend your services to a friend. Empowered by contact management software, your company has the opportunity to expand their client base, and improve the experience for existing customers.

 A System, From Sales to Shipping

The visibility afforded to users in a contact management platform goes well beyond simply organizing, logging, and presenting data. Where the true benefits of a comprehensive system come into play is in the form of company-wide integration. Within an integrated contact management platform, like those offered by an ERP in the cloud, all the information entered is accessible to anyone who has the need to access it and the permissions to do so. What this means for your clients and your continued success is that every member of your organization will have access to the same, latest information.

A further benefit of this company wide integration is the elimination of pesky, and potentially risky data entry, and re-entry. When you no longer need to rekey information time and time again, a major amount of time-saving can be realised, with implemented workflow automation freeing you up to commit yourself to work that benefits the business more directly. Thus, a contact management platform benefits your business in both its direct capacity for improving decision making, and in its ability to save your staff time and your company money.