Organizations worldwide often wonder what the difference is between a customer relationship management system (CRM) and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The two systems are similar in many ways but they have different core functionalities. Both are valuable business solutions that help to improve, both revenue and productivity. So, are you ready to learn more about the differences? Let’s compare and contrast.
CRM means Customer Relationship Management. CRM at its simplest is systems and processes for managing a company’s interactions with its current and potential customers. When we talk about CRM, we usually are talking about CRM Software. A CRM software is used to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, and customer service.
CRM now has been developed to include all areas of the customer experience, keeping the customer happy and in turn keeping them loyal and more valuable to your business. It is the process of identifying potential leads/prospects, nurturing them, and guiding them through the sales process to close the business deal. Once they become a customer it ensures that you maintain that relationship and encourage repeat business – either more frequent orders or higher value.
CRM focuses on three key areas: sales, marketing, and customers. It can help your teams within these departments achieve the following:
ERP software is designed to streamline business operations. While a CRM focuses on the sales and customer service side of the organization, an ERP system is integrated and implemented across multiple departments within the organization.
At its core, an ERP system offers interconnected management of specific business processes. So, you can access standardized information throughout every department in real-time. Any issues can be sent as alerts to designated recipients.
The business can hence focus more on data and less on operations. There are fewer errors, and organizations can make better decisions.
The right ERP system will help your business and your team achieve the following:
ERP and CRM are both business applications that store and analyze data in a relational database. Both are delivered either through a traditional on-premises model or through software as a service (SaaS), where the vendor manages the software in its own data center and customers access it through the cloud.
While NetSuite and Salesforce.com, the two pioneers in SaaS ERP and CRM respectively, got their start around the same time, CRM systems were quicker to move to the cloud because the systems proved simpler to build and businesses were initially wary of putting financial data in the cloud.
Generally, you may have to choose between CRM and ERP. Your choice will depend on three critical factors:
For instance, smaller businesses may choose CRM systems to grow their customer base. In contrast, complex organizations choose ERP systems to cut operational costs and maximize ROI. Thus, your IT capacity, current, and future needs may also influence your choices. You might choose an ERP system to streamline processes. Or perhaps replace existing non-integrated applications. Other businesses with a focus on their customers and want to sync sales and marketing functions may choose CRM systems.
For companies who want to maximize their growth, they often wonder which system to implement first. It can be a difficult decision because they each have unique advantages. To scale, companies must increase sales and profit–so, that requires a CRM system.
On the other hand, an ERP system drives the business with precise and accurate inter-departmental data. Before organizations can cut costs, they must have profits. Moreover, a company can be extremely organized yet not make enough in sales to continue operating. Business processes are only possible with consistent sales revenue.
So, what’s the answer? Well, you need both. A CRM system drives sales, and an ERP system helps to streamline operations and reduce overall costs. Working together, a CRM and an ERP can maximize business growth.
To enquire about a demo that is the best fit for your business, email at email@example.com
Suggested Reading: How a Robust CRM boosts your Revenue?
New technology comes fast and goes, even faster. These days, there’s a new app or widget every week promising to make businesses and their sales reps more productive, efficient, and effective. Although some technology has proven to be more useful than others, one piece of sales technology that’s definitely here to stay is customer relationship management (CRM) software.
A properly deployed CRM system is an extremely useful tool. It tracks and manages all interactions and communication your representatives have with prospects and customers. It also helps to flag opportunities that might require additional nurturing or follow up (among many other things).
CRM literally helps to boost sales!!
Back in 2012, *Tech News World published research, which revealed that more than half of all businesses (54%) expected to improve their sales with CRM.
But, has this happened by now?
Well, #statistics point out to “Yes”, as 2014 saw an amazing 87% increase in the use of Mobile CRM, which is particularly appealing to salespeople who are always on the move.
Talking about the needs, what could be more important for sales representatives than achieving the targets?
According to **The Tas Group, on an average, 2/3 of all salesforce (67%) miss their sales quota.
Meanwhile, the study by ^Innoppl Technologies claims that that 65% of sales reps who have used Mobile CRM were able to achieve their sales quotas, and a staggering 78% of those who didn’t use CRM did not achieve their targets.
Despite all the “pros”, not all salespeople seem to be excited by the idea of introducing CRM in their daily routine. The number of salespeople who misinterpret the value of CRM is 87%, as they think it is adopted by their manager to police their activities. This fear results in them “just checking boxes” in the system, without seeing the true value of this tool.
Even though the benefits that CRM brings to the sales teams may not be immediately recognizable, they are still game-changing if implemented in the right manner.
And since those are the salespeople that need CRM the most, in this blog post I will bring out the key reasons why CRM can help them achieve their sales goals faster and improve results.
Now that you know how CRM brings value to your business, and if your business is ready to adopt one, it’s time to start evaluating your options and to book a demo, email at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUGGESTED READING: Smart ways to generate more leads for your business
Last month, a miracle happened. Your company’s video went viral. Lead volume shot up by 500%. You were pumped and the office was filled with a spirit of celebration.
Cut to today, and your enthusiasm has been reduced to nothing. Here’s how:-
Week 1 :
80% of your calls have ended with the two fatal words – “not interested”.
Week 2 :
60% of your calls have ended with people telling you they don’t even remember your company’s name and certainly didn’t sign up for a free trial seeing some video.
Week 3 :
40% of your calls have ended with people telling you they’ve already purchased your competitor’s product, thank you very much.
Week 4 :
Your conversion rate has dropped abysmally, and you don’t think you’ll ever be able to reach out to all the 12000 leads yet to be contacted.
Moral of the story? Two words could have prevented all of this heartbreak: lead prioritization.
What is lead prioritization?
Lead prioritization is simply separating quality leads from junk ones so that you can reach out to the ones that are most ‘likely to buy’ first.
Now, how do you identify who is ‘likely to buy’ and who is not? You can use two simple parameters for that:-
Let us delve deeper into what these parameters mean, and how you can measure your lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’ from them.
Closeness to your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP)
This is a static measure of your lead quality and helps you understand how aligned your product is with the needs of the lead.
Defining your ICP
Your ideal customer is someone who is the best fit for your product. Your Ideal Customer Persona is just a set of features that you use to represent your ideal customer.
Here are a few examples to help you understand this better:-
From the above table, it is clear that each business will use different metrics to define its ICP. Besides, one business may cater to more than one ICPs. For example, a travel agency selling budget, as well as luxury packages, will have different ICPs for each of them.
Qualifying leads based on ICP
Once you’ve defined your Ideal Customer Persona, you can use filters on Excel to qualify your leads on the basis of it.
Let’s take the case of a Tier II B-school, for which we have already defined the ICP above. This is what their lead data would look like, before prioritization:-
Now, let’s see what this list looks like after I apply these ICP filters – Profession: IT, Age : 22-25 and Work Experience : 1-3 Years.
However, this is a very basic way to qualify your leads. Manual prioritization using Excel comes with a couple of limitations:
1) It does not allow for leads that match the ICP to be ranked further
For example, in the above case, Lakshmi, Digvijay and Kumar will be assumed to have the same lead quality. This kind of manual prioritization will not work for businesses which generate thousands of leads per day, because even the number of leads that meet the basic ICP criterion will be too high.
Instead, you can opt for a marketing automation software which provides lead quality scoring. For example, using LeadSquared, you can set up lead quality rules in two quick steps :-
Choosing your lead quality attributes
These are the features of your leads that are most relevant for you, and hence can be used to ascertain the lead quality. For example, if you’re an institute providing MBA courses, ‘job title’, ‘work experience’, ‘location’, etc. would be the defining lead quality attributes for you, while ‘marital status’ would not.
You can specify distinct weightages for each of those chosen attributes, or select the option to assign equal weightage to each. For example, as an MBA institute, ‘job title’ could be the most important lead attribute for you, so you could assign it more weightage than the others.
Defining quality scoring rules
You can set how the values associated with a particular lead attribute will be scored from 1 to 10. For example, an MBA institute can set the following rules for the attribute of ‘job function’:
IT – 10
Marketing – 9
HR – 8
Others – 7
Using the weightages & scoring rules defined for the lead attributes, the software will calculate a cumulative quality score out of 10, for each lead in the system. Using this score, you will be able to identify the more conversion-optimized leads even amongst those that match your ICP.
Here’s how the Lead Quality score will appear on the LeadSquared portal :
2) It does not allow for the lead qualification process to be automated
You will have to run these Excel filters each time the lead list is updated.
Again, using a marketing automation software like LeadSquared can resolve this issue, because once you define the rules for calculation, each lead in your system will be associated with a Lead Quality score. You can then filter these leads based on any criteria (for example, Lead Quality Score >8).
Degree of buying intent
The manual prioritization discussed above is an incomplete test of a lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’, as it is solely static and does not take into account the degree of buying intent that a lead has at a point in time. For example, in the above case, Lakshmi matches the ICP, but she may have already enrolled in a college. There is no simple manual process through which a lead’s buying intent can be ascertained.
Buying intent occurs when a person has the desire as well as the purchasing power to buy your product.
Now, how can you spot whether a lead has buying intent or not? By measuring their level of engagement with your business. The more a person responds to your marketing campaigns, or visits your website, or spends time on your blog – the higher are the chances that they’re interested in buying from you.
A marketing automation tool like LeadSquared can help you see the ‘engagement index’ for each lead. To set that up, all you’d need to do is :-
Define the Activity Period
If you’re an MBA institute, your sales cycle will typically be around 1 year (this is the time it takes for students to prepare for exams, give the exams, and then choose from various college options based on their results). Now if a lead was actively engaging with you 2 years back, and it reflected on its engagement score, that would be a false measure of its likelihood to buy because they might be disengaged currently.
That is why; you can specify for what period you want the lead’s activities to be included in the calculation of the engagement score. Because the engagement score is based on the ‘recentness’ of a lead’s activities on your web presence/campaigns, it is a dynamic measure of their ‘likelihood to buy’, as opposed to the quality score, which is a static measure.
Specify the lead stages to include
If you’re in a business that does not see repeat sales (like an institute), you may not be interested in seeing the ‘engagement score’ of a customer. This is just one of the many cases where it is not useful to have the engagement score calculated for all of your lead stages, so using this option, you can specify which stages you’d need the score for.
Specify the lead activities to include
The engagement score is based on tracking a lead’s activities towards your business, and assigning each of these activities specific values depending upon their importance.
For example, if a lead signed up for a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +5. On the other hand, if a lead only opened an email about a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +1.
Using the scores associated with each of these activities, the software will compute the engagement score for each lead in the system.
And we’re done! Hope this helps you get your priorities right in order
To book demo for the solution, Fill this form NOW
As a business head or business owner, you need to find ways to grow your sales and revenue. Exploring different options for profit means leveraging your profit potential.
According to a study conducted by Lenskold Group, 78% of marketers believe that marketing automation plays a very important role in the company’s revenue growth.
On the other hand, 51% of companies are currently not using marketing automation to grow their business. In fact, companies who have automated their marketing has multiplied by 11x since 2011, and the figure is only expected to grow moving ahead.
The top-performing companies, marketing teams, and top marketers are using a marketing automation system to build attractive email campaigns, analyze their performances, and feed their sales teams relevant and qualified leads to achieve a better return on investment.
It’s not that, these companies are 10 times better, smarter, or more capable than you. It’s just that, they simply took advantage of the right tools; tools that can empower them to make better decisions, streamline their sales & marketing processes, and view the entire marketing and sales funnel in one place. The marketing environment is currently dominated by digital, making these abilities essential to your success.
As business head/ owners, you care about more leads (volume), sales qualified leads (quality), and, most importantly, more revenue for your business growth. Not to mention, you want to save time by systemizing your repetitive or non-productive tasks, have accurate data and analytics for your reports and dashboards, and make your job easier rather than harder.
Suggested Reading - 10 BEST Email Marketing Practices for 2020
Liana Technologies – “Marketing Automation Benefits in Numbers”
Thuiswinkel.org and Spotler “e-commerce marketing Trend rapport” (2019)
Adestra “State of Marketing Automation Benchmarks for Success” (2017)
You need to be sure that you’re spending time with the right companies, titles, geographies and so on. If the person sitting across from you is the right profile, only then you have a chance. If your target is not set rightly, all the skills in the world on your end won’t get you a new customer.
Remember, you’re approaching cold customers and have very little knowledge of their needs and problem. You need to ask probing questions to help him articulate his needs (including needs they might not know even exist). That’s why you should have a powerful lead management system. It will help you track, qualify, prioritize leads and send them to the team(s) best prepared to handle them at every stage of the sales pipeline.
In case, you have not established rapport and a connection with your prospect, it is unlikely he will be willing to open up to you. You should establish a connection and build rapport with your customers while uncovering their needs in the first meeting itself.
It will bore your prospects as they don’t even need your products or services (or they don’t know that they require your products/services).
Before approaching your cold targets, study them. You should do a quick Google search for the customer or their company. You should invest in a good lead tracking software. For example, you can use your CRM software to search for any recent action they might have performed previously by your target customer. Make sure you know exactly what your customer needs. Provide insight and offer value during the entire sales process to show him what it will be like to do business with you. If you want to grasp your customer’s attention, let them know the benefits they get by offering their time to you. Try to focus on providing value to your customers.
When done in the right manner, social media platforms can be used as a cost-effective way to grow your brand, generate more leads for your business, and connect with your current customers. While most decision-makers do not respond to cold emails, still a majority of them don’t shy away from having a conversation on social media.
Before you leave your first meeting with the customer, you should always establish the next step. You should clearly define what you believe should happen next – perhaps it could be another meeting, additional information, a discussion letter outlining what was discussed, or could be a presentation. Then take agreement from the prospect that it is a good next step and set a time when the next step is going to take place.
Every sales process takes its own sweet conversion time. Assuming the prospect is a good target for you, plan how you will stay top of mind with him after the meeting. Send them articles related to his industry or situation, send them direct mail pieces, stay in touch, and keep moving him along the buying process. Most of the sales rep doesn’t stay in touch and they let long-term leads fall through the cracks. Don’t let this be you.
Turning cold leads into warm prospects is a journey with a lot of uncertainties. You don’t want to start conversations that never get you anywhere. You don’t want to send emails that end up in the bin. To be successful at getting into people’s nerves, you need to find a way of creating a good rapport with the prospects by delivering value in your conversation, being relevant, and where possible, implementing a paradigm shift in a way that motivates your customers to respond back to you.
Suggested Reading - How Lead Qualification Bridge the Gap between Sales and Marketing?