CRM, relationship management and marketing
CRM systems are there principally to support the sales process, and to facilitate relationship management in particular. But with the advent of the Internet and changing consumer purchase behavior, both B2C and B2B, relationship management has taken on an entirely different meaning. What now?
Nowadays when you're looking for a product or service, you look online. We check review sites and ask acquaintances about their experiences with these products and services. When possible, we purchase the product directly online, without having any personal contact with the seller. Relationship management in the year 2014 looks totally different from relationship management in the year 2000.
From sales to facilitation
With all the technological developments and changing consumer behavior, there is a shift from hard sales to marketing. From sales to lead generation and facilitating consumers. Social selling is the order of the day. Make sure that potential consumers can quickly find the right information about your product or service, and make sure that this information is clear. Be accessible and make purchasing your product or service as easy as possible. And afterwards, give customers the confirmation and the confidence that they have made the right choice.
CRM and MAP
In this age of ‘the social web’, Marketing and Sales will need to work together closely, insofar as they weren't already doing so. Marketing collects data on consumers in the various stages of the customer journey, and Sales hooks in when the sale is virtually certain and relays any customer feedback back to Marketing.
The right data
Thanks to the social web, marketers can collect infinite amounts of data regarding (potential) consumers and their needs. The data is often personalized and enables us to connect to customers on the right level. The data arising from marketing automation systems (MAPs) is thus very valuable for relationship management. For example, interactions on the Internet determined by MAPs give the seller information about who has been on the website, or any of your social media channels, and which content they found interesting. As a seller, you can respond to this and take advantage of it. Then the seller can relay feedback to Marketing, so that future efforts can be even better tailored to customer needs.
Where Marketing Automation Platforms support the purchase process, CRM systems are still indispensable for an effective sales process and customer-focused relationship management. Both systems complement each other and are of great importance in achieving business objectives.