For almost all traditional businesses, the first software purchased will always be the accounting software. Managing cashflow is exceptionally important as the business activities are usually capital intensive. Besides buying raw materials to manufacture or goods to sell, businesses also need to take note on their other business-related expenses. There may be times when extension of credit is required. If so, the business will need to know whom to allow and decline.
When the business grows, volume purchase will likely be new norm to take advantage of bulk order discounts. Same for manufacturing companies, with bulk purchases of raw material, you will need to know how much you can produce and do forecasting to ensure you have a healthy inventory of goods to sell. Doing with perishables would mean the need of a proper inventory system to track first-in-first-out. In event of a goods recall, batches of goods that needs to be called back can be easily identified. At this stage, businesses of this nature would either require a proper inventory system or an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. To streamline business processes, businesses will typically look into Business Analytics, Workflow Automation or Internet-of-Things to boost productivity.
As business grows, so does your manpower. The business will require a human resource management (HRM) system to effectively manage payroll, leave as well as other HR related processes. No amount of manpower is adequately sufficient or efficient to deal with the large amount of administrative works.
As observed, the CRM is an afterthought for most traditional businesses. Anything closely relating to the customer is captured within the Order System for billing matters, the inventory and/or ERP system for goods they ordered. The key challenges in implementing are
Both tasks are not not clear cut in many ways and many would definitely question if it is worth everyone’s effort.
In the current era, setting up a traditional business is extremely difficult as the market would already be saturated with competitors. The clear winners are those who sniff out the gaps unaddressed by incumbents and refine their business objectives and go to market strategy from a customer centric approach.
In such modern companies, it’s about getting the customer’s needs right. To do so, they actively engage potential customers using digital marketing, landing pages and email campaigns. All these are components making up a modern customer relationship management (CRM) system.
It’s all about forming a hypothesis, testing it and getting feedback whether their sentiments are right or wrong, then scale the effort or re-tweak again. When the business is small and nimble, this is done very well. However, when the business grows and when they try to put some structure in place, the business starts to lose this unique agility that propels them to where they are currently.
The common observation of such natural failings is the segregation of sales and marketing function. There are logically reasons to do so, mainly due to manpower resource constraints, but not often helpful from a business standpoint.
The Finance team is only interested in the how much to bill the customer and whether they have paid. The Procurement team is only interested in the goods they order and make sure they have stock to deliver. The Logistics team is only interest in the address to deliver the goods and what is the person to hand the goods to. Only the Sales & Marketing team have vested interest to know more about the customers than anyone else.
Especially for a digital centric business, all communications crafted and disseminated by the marketing team has to make the sales team’s job easier by sharing relevant information or address certain customer experience or feedback. The communication is measurable and the results should be deliberated between the 2 teams before the formulating the next piece of communication.
Both departments are like the left and right hands of a human. They can each do their own tasks, but in certain critical situations, both have to coordinate well in order to achieve a synergistic impact.
In order to have this coordination, both teams need a system – a customer relationship management (CRM) system – to facilitate information exchange between them.
A modern CRM is not just a simple excel spreadsheet with columns of customer information. It comes integrated with marketing automation to allow for simple segmentation to roll out your communications. The results of such communication can also be updated back to the system to build on top and enrich the current data.
So, do you have a sales team? Do you have a CRM in place? Is your marketing team able to work seamlessly with your sales team?
If you faced any challenges in this area, feel free to contact us for a quick discussion on a small project involving your marketing and sales team.
Jumpstart to a customer centric business today, don’t delay any further.