We live in a world saturated with virtual messages. Campaigns in Social Networks, Emails and Text messages (SMS) seek to attract us to multiple vendor websites or Landing Pages to show us products and/or services offering something valuable in return, may be relevant information for one (self-trainig), free offerings and trials or just the subscription to a newsletter.
And it’s because of this digital age, although the sales cycle is similar to the traditional one (which involved activities of Prospecting, Contact / Visit, Identification / Development of Need, Proposal of Solution, Quotation, Negotiation and Closing), it’s now the company or product website the one that catches leads to generate a Sales Funnel that will be processed by a Customer Relationship Management system to provide a hopefully growing pipeline to the sales force.
A good CRM must have the ability to filter and qualify prospects to consolidate a database of potential customers. Depending on the business, this process is optimized from the contact form and it is the CRM itself that assigns the prospects to the Sales Representatives. Depending on the type and size of the company, the sales reps are on a Contact Center (sometimes a outsourced) and access the CRM working remotely (meaning lower operating cost) or they are field sales reps that will access through their cell phones or tablets to the information and tools they need to close deals using a CRM in the cloud.
Although Mail & Social Networks campaigns are the new promotion to generate leads, and the website is the new Brochure and Virtual Store, the CRM is the new Sales Manager that provides sales reps with access to product stocks, sales history, issuance and delivery of quotes and / or contracts, and submit orders from any mobile device. And this could be extended to other business processes that involve other areas (operations, support, billing, dispatch, etc), activate cases and claims, issue performance reports, calculate commissions and, above all, keep the manager informed 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world without having to ask for reports made in old-fashion spreadsheets.
To achieve this new way of doing business, the mandatory requirements in any CRM are: must be flexible, easy to use and that quickly fits to the company’s flows and language; it must be integrable with existing systems, provide mobile access without limitations, and more over, affordable enough.