Companies invest a lot of time, effort and money acquiring and retaining new customers. However, it takes more than just a great product or service to capture and keep a customer’s loyalty. Developing meaningful relationships with prospects and customers requires resources from sales, marketing and support to help them throughout their interactions with a business.

Properly managing customer relationships often requires businesses to overcome years of incremental purchases of channel-specific solutions — a marketing automation system here, a customer service tool there, none of which tie directly into the transactional record. Since it requires significant investment to thread together this patchwork of separate systems, many businesses forgo this effort altogether, leaving customer data stuck in silos.

Yet, customers still expect your business to be fully aware of who they are and how they’ve interacted with your organization. From their perspective, they have a relationship with one company, not a collection of different people and departments.

Managing Multiple Sources of Customer Data

Many businesses fail to provide consistent and relevant experiences because they are unable to bring together the multiple sources of customer data throughout the company—from sales and marketing to commerce, professional services and support.

The sales team maintains direct contact with business buyers over the phone, email or in person. Since they handle both outbound prospecting as well as inbound lead nurturing, their customer interactions are invaluable to the rest of the organization. But more often than not, information about these opportunities are lost because sales representatives forget to log their activity and meeting notes. If they don’t track their estimates or quotes and only show completed sales orders, then the sales organization loses insights into sales pipeline, making it more difficult to forecast. Entering all these customer interactions is in the sale rep’s best interest, because it improves collaboration with other groups involved in the deal—including sales engineers delivering product demonstrations, professional services consultants scoping statements of work, and sales leadership approving discounts and contract terms—which leads to more closed business and commissions.

Marketing teams create campaigns to attract new leads, engage and convert visitors into buyers, and promote long-term customer loyalty. It is difficult for marketers to foster brand engagement if they are only communicating in one direction to the entire audience with the same universal messaging. Without customer data to drive targeted, personalized marketing campaigns, brands stumble in the dark with a planned schedule of promotions and special events to drive sales. They lack the ability to trigger individual event-based campaigns when the customer is most apt to engage or purchase.

Ecommerce shopping activities are ripe for collecting insight to add to customer profiles. However, many companies are so focused on converting a sale that they forget to accumulate all the shopping information leading up to checkout to help optimize their chances for future sales. They don’t ascertain a new visitor’s acquisition source or remember the date of their last visit, previously viewed items, recent quotes or order history. Even if businesses do capture this information, it is usually in a separate system that doesn’t allow them to make use of it. This leads to an incomplete customer profile that limits sales and marketing efforts.

Customer support and professional service organizations are vital to ensuring customer success and long-term retention. Unfortunately, those departments often don’t get the insights they need from sales. This slows down customer support, because representatives and consultants must do more research and force escalations to solve a case, leaving customers with a very disjointed experience.

Building Stronger Customer Relationships

A customer relationship management (CRM) solution provides a single repository of customer data. Although different parts of the organization use CRM in different ways, everybody benefits from having access to one central place to access all the details on customers and prospects. The benefits a CRM provides each team includes:

Sales has visibility into every aspect of the customer relationship, including marketing campaigns, support cases, contracts and orders. Sales force automation (SFA) provides unified­ sales processes from opportunity, upsell and quote management to sales forecasting and commissions.
Marketing can utilize customer profiles and buying history to tailor more consistent and relevant campaigns. Marketing automation delivers these brand communications at the right time and channel for maximum engagement.
Support is able to provide better service by easily referencing a customer’s recently sent marketing campaigns, estimates and completed orders. Automated case management processes improve customer satisfaction and lower service costs.

NetSuite CRM

NetSuite CRM delivers all the capabilities of a traditional CRM solution, such as sales force automation, customer service management and marketing automation, to accelerate productivity and drive more sales. Unlike standalone CRM systems, or CRM systems acquired by an ERP vendor and integrated, NetSuite CRM is built on the NetSuite ERP platform. Customer information is natively unified with order and inventory management, commerce and financials, allowing businesses to have real-time insights into sales forecasting, marketing lead generation and customer satisfaction. With a single view of a customer across the organization that extends beyond sales information to the transactional record itself, NetSuite CRM helps your business manage the complete customer lifecycle—from lead all the way through opportunity, quote, sales order, fulfillment, renewal, upsell and support.

Story by Austin Caldwell

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