This article was originally published on Destination CRM.
In today’s world, where everything you need is just a click away, customers value relationships over transactions. If you don’t treat customers as they expect, it is easier than ever before for them to leave you for one of your competitors. And in a precarious economic climate such as this one, the last thing anyone needs is to lose customers to something completely preventable. To treat your customers the way they’d like to be treated, you need to know them inside and out, and the only way to achieve this is to use data to create a high-def picture of them.
Your CRM solution must allow you to gather and use customer data at every point of their journey, so you can deliver consistent brand experiences to every one of your customers, from the first touch throughout the entire customer journey. To do this successfully, you need all of your customer data in one place. With a unified CRM, all your marketing, sales, delivery, and support applications sit on the same data platform, leaving less chance for customers’ data getting lost or corrupted, pixelating the hi-def picture of the customer and inhibiting your ability to build lasting relationships.
There are countless reasons why you need a unified CRM to build lasting customer relationships and compete in the digital age, but here are the top five.
1. Sales & marketing alignment
With a unified CRM, sales and marketing can collaborate in a closer, tighter way. From lead disposition to customer interactions, they are working in unison to drive leads through the funnel. They no longer work in silos with their own separate software systems or have to figure out ad hoc data syncing processes.
Alignment across teams is critical to closing more opportunities and growing a business. Automated workflows and real-time analytics—along with other system features and capabilities, including lead disposition—bridge the gap between the two teams. These features also lend accountability to each respective team, forcing them to collaborate in new and innovative ways.
As a bonus, storing all data in one central database, which is easily accessible by all, helps drive CRM adoption among salespeople and creates transparency throughout the entire organization.
2. Data accessibility & reliability
When data collected by every team is entered into the same system, you eliminate data discrepancies that occur when different contact or other data is entered into two separate systems. Everyone works within the same data structure, exponentially increasing data integrity. When new data is entered into the system it is updated in real time for all to see.
A CRM that has everything sitting on one platform eliminates the need for additional integrations between systems and reduces the chance for customer data corruption. It also ensures that everyone who engages with customers has access to a complete customer profile and history of interactions, whether they work in marketing, sales, delivery, or support. And that’s great for your customers.
3. Stronger, more personal customer relationships
Unified CRMs store data about each customer and prospect—including demographic data, search and buying behavior, interactions with your brand, purchase history, challenges, and more. Quick and easy access to that data allows customer-facing teams to quickly gather insight into who the customer is, which products they own, and their product or service satisfaction levels. This gives customer support teams the ability to speak to customers on a more personal level. Your teams can form close customer relationships and personalize interactions to make customers feel more comfortable and build trust. Doing this sends the message that you’re invested in them and their personal success. That, in turn, fosters loyalty, generates brand advocates, reduces customer churn, and increases recurring revenue.
4. Better insights and analytics
Unified CRMs constantly collect data around a broad range of measurable metrics—from marketing campaign engagement to customer satisfaction and retention. You decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and how to use the reports. Tracking and analyzing metrics helps businesses identify which strategies and tactics are producing desired results and which are not. This allows you to focus attention on the tactics that are working and remove those that flop.
Moreover, some unified CRMs provide custom reporting that delivers insight into the metrics you need to see most. Normally, these can be automated and sent to you via email or displayed on a custom dashboard that you configure to meet your needs. Stay informed, test assumptions, and easily share results with other stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.
5. And perhaps most important… higher customer satisfaction
Experts suggested years ago that 2020 would be the year that customer experience would overtake price and product as the key differentiator in consumers’ purchasing decisions. We still believe this to be true. And to create and deliver exceptional customer experiences, you need a unified CRM. As a quick recap here, with a unified CRM you empower your teams with accurate data, deep understanding of your customers’ needs, efficiency, and ability to deliver personalized interactions throughout the entire customer journey. A great customer experience increases customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and customer retention, and it supercharges business growth.
In conclusion, unified CRM is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable way to gain visibility into every aspect of your customer relationships, make well-informed decisions, and create customer experiences that align with your brand vision. You’re not buying a CRM for the sake of a CRM—you have business goals to reach and a CRM is your means to an end. Choose your means well.