Today, a lot of factors influence the formation of healthy B2B relations. Personalization, attention to detail, and solid customer service are just a few. The B2B buying process is often longer and more complex than in B2C, which is all the more reason to adopt supporting solutions like CRM. Those solutions will help to streamline and automate the processes to get sales moving faster.
When used properly, customer relationship management solutions increase sales and boost the level of customer care. In this post, you’re going to learn more about CRMs in B2B businesses, their advantages, and implementation tips.
The Need for B2B CRM
B2B CRMs provide companies with extended insights about their clients. Businesses can use comprehensive data within a CRM to help identify customers’ needs and pain points. This information helps businesses adjust their processes for sales and marketing the right way.
CRMs house information about clients from all communication channels with your company (analyzing website activity, text, chats, voice calls, marketing engagement activities, and so on), and their reporting capabilities allow teams to draw conclusions based on this behavioral data.
The main goal of a B2B CRM is to improve business relationships and help sales, marketing, and services teams to get real results by using data to inform their initiatives. Sales representatives with access to a CRM can view the overall picture of the client’s requirements and previous interactions. Services teams use this information to provide better customer care and increase brand loyalty, while marketing teams use CRM reports to identify the buyer personas that inform targeted messaging.
B2B businesses often work with companies in a range of industries, with multiple product requirements and business goals. CRMs deliver the aggregated insights to serve these diverse businesses, but the rest is up to your employees.
Advantages of B2B CRM Solutions
There’s a reason why the CRM industry is a $120 billion industry and growing. Businesses across the spectrum see the value of data-backed decision making, automation, machine learning, business process management, and many of the other key technological & competitive advantages that CRM provides. Today’s business world is moving faster, and customers expect more. Businesses that can recognize trends, adapt services, and pivot sales based on demand are faring better than their laggard counterparts. Here are just a few of the advantages of B2B CRM solutions.
Managing Contact Networks
As companies grow, so do their contact lists. Small businesses often use spreadsheets for managing all contact information. However, as their network grows bigger over time, it becomes complicated to manage it effectively with basic office software. A B2B CRM solution allows employees to upload all clients’ contacts to the database, report on metrics, and set notifications about upcoming appointments and important calls.
Modern CRM solutions are becoming more visual and process-oriented, making it easier for non-tech employees to adapt to the solution. Here’s an example of a contact management interface in a CRM solution:
Increased Service Quality
The way you treat your customers plays a vital role in the life of your business. It takes time to attract customers and even more time to make them your regular clients. However, poor customer service can ruin all efforts put into the relationship. B2B CRM systems provide your departments with loads of information about your clients, so your employees can find a personalized approach to each customer.
The comprehensive customer profile the CRM provides is a powerful tool for customer service teams. The customer’s history with the business is revealed in the archived emails, social media interactions, downloaded assets, meetings, and other data found within the CRM. Through this information, customer service teams can quickly decipher the customer’s relationship to your company, if they’ve had any past issues or concerns, and what products or solutions they currently use. The faster they can get a handle on the customer’s status, the more efficiently they can service that customer.
The term “quote” in CRM systems designates a formal offer for services or products with price indication. For example, ecommerce CRM systems with inventory management tools provide employees with up-to-date information about the availability of an item, prices, past orders, and so on. With all that information on hand, managers can build quotes quickly, specifying all the necessary details to move forward with the sale. Customers receive accurate quotes that reflect the correct prices and personal data pulled from their records in the CRM.
Improved Marketing Processes
Marketing campaigns that don’t target buyer personas send out messages that rarely reach the target audience. With all information that B2B systems collect for your company, marketing managers can create personalized campaigns that reach your potential customers.
CRMs allow them to address customers by name, instead of cliches like “Dear Customer” and “Dear Client”. According to the research on the benefits of personalized programs and personalized content leads to more responses from potential customers and higher revenue.
Besides, data allows companies to detect customers aimed at making purchases by tracking their interactions with the business. So, marketers can filter out leads that aren’t interested in the company’s services and focus their efforts on clients that can bring revenue.
Here’s the example displaying marketing functionalities of a CRM system:
Improved Business Intelligence
Business analysts are tasked with improving the company’s processes, products, and services through data analysis. CRM systems collect all performance metrics and generate reports with the latest information to reflect the current state of the business and help the business analysts recognize areas of improvement or overhaul. Business analysts can see up-to-date results of marketing campaigns and sales forecasts and predict the possible outcome of other enterprise-level actions.
Tips to Maximize Success With B2B CRM
Although a B2B CRM has the potential to boost productivity, streamline processes, and simplify the sales process, it can’t be expected to do it alone. To maximize your success with any solution, teams must actively utilize the solution, crucial datasets must be accessible across platforms, and the data itself must be clean, well organized, and complete. Here are a few tips for a winning CRM strategy.
Make Sure Your Team Understands the Value
Implementing a B2B CRM system is a complicated task, and some employees may not understand the purpose of this process. Companies should explain to employees that the business results depend on the understanding of their customers and providing a higher customer experience than competitors. If the company doesn't gather information about customers, it can't create unique offers and deliver more value to its clients.
That's why it's crucial to reach out to your employees and clarify how the implementation of the CRM system will eventually benefit the company and why it’s important for every team member to adopt the solution and learn to make the most of the tools it provides. Poor user adoption is the #1 reason businesses fail to successfully implement CRM solutions. If the employees won’t use it, the benefits are null.
Integrate the CRM with your Existing Software
While implementing CRM systems, many businesses brush off the importance of integrating the CRM solution with other essential software. This is a mistake.
For example, marketing teams use emails as a means of promotion. It can be difficult to track and maintain all the lists and emails if the CRM system isn't synchronized with marketing software and databases. Integration of these two solutions allows the marketing team to build lists by pulling targeted information from the CRM into the marketing solution.
Businesses that rely heavily on their financial data might consider an integration with ERP to make quoting and inventory tracking easier and more efficient.
Or, a simple integration with an email solution could assist sales in tracking their interactions and maintaining quality CRM records. These (and more) are all integrations to consider to reduce data silos and make collaboration easier between your teams.
To prevent possible issues, you have to think about the data flow between your departments and the CRM solution beforehand. Think about your current data exchange routes between departments and how integrating key systems might help collaboration between those teams.
Keep Data Clean
CRMs create a massive quantity of reportable data, but sometimes bad data can creep in with the good. Bad data is a piece of information that is outdated or invalid, contains inappropriate characters or spam, or has fragmented/incomplete information.
Every business adopting a software solution should have a data management strategy in place to specify standards for data entry and maintaining the CRM data to the highest standards. All employees should be required to follow these procedures to make sure the reports, analytics, and other metrics provided by the CRM are accurately reflecting the state of the business. Otherwise, you’ll be implementing strategies based on false insights.
In addition to a data management strategy, businesses should consider periodic data cleaning and assessment, whether that’s done internally or through an outside data cleaning service.
To sum up, B2B CRM systems bring plenty of advantages to businesses. With all the information they gather, teams can analyze client needs, uncover the previously hidden information, and improve all business processes.
However, to get the most out of your CRM system, you must have a strategic vision. Think about the features most important to the way you work and find a solution that meets these needs. The CRM should also be easily scalable and integratable with your other software so it can adapt and evolve as your business grows.