Sales require the precise execution of complex business processes. Software tools with the ability to manage sales on process level are called operational CRM systems. Operational CRM is a special and little known type of the CRM scene, yet its importance cannot be overstressed.
First and foremost, it should be noted that a sales oriented CRM system is an excellent solution if we are only focused on acquiring new customers and converting those who are interested in our products or services into customers. In fact, some of these systems also support certain marketing features and of course the expansion of our customer database, even online.
However, it is only the beginning of a customer's lifecycle if they are seriously interested in our product or service or if they are following the marketing activities of our company with a strong interest. Likewise, it may not be enough to follow the statuses of future customers or send them automated emails. Particularly in B2B sales, longer sales cycles can create enormous headaches throughout the cycle. If our product or service is more complex, then bidding requires a complex chain of activities along multiple, complex processes. Let's look at a quote for a manufacturing company that is just preparing to offer a new product to its customer.
Staying with our example, preparing a quote will certainly require professional attendees along with your sales colleagues, even from multiple areas of the company. Likewise, it is likely that the offer will have to be approved from professional, financial and even legal aspects before it can be sent to the client. But what could such an offer preparation process look like in practice?
As you can see in the example - and in reality - from reaching out to a customer to getting a specific quote, there is a lot to do, more actors and a variety of activities arise. Most CRM systems do not provide solutions to these problems, but only support the sales team on the customer acquisition side. However, operational CRM supports all sales-related processes, in addition to the above bidding example, contract preparation and approval processes, operational fulfillment processes, and even customer complaints and new needs.
The operational CRM system facilitates sales operations by supporting all sales processes as described above. When a bid request is received, operational CRM starts the necessary bidding processes based on the type of bid request received (that is, multiple bids or even contract preparation processes can be managed within one system!). Because the process steps required for bidding are predefined in the system, the salesperson does not have to worry about following up order and offer processes manually, the system can automatically manage it all, and also alerts sales when a stall is detected.
The same goes for other sales processes: contract preparation or accomplishment of projects can also be modeled, therefore all activities, from requesting quotes to invoicing completed work, can be managed in the CRM system!
If you already have a CRM system in your company, we would like to congratulate you and hope you successfully use it to support sales in winning new customers! However, the point is that even if you have an extremely good CRM system, it does not handle sales processes. (Sales process management, as we have seen, is not equal with setting statuses and deadlines manually or completing an offer template!) So, if you already have an existing CRM system, you can integrate an operational CRM system to control all of your customer acquisition processes and activities - and beyond.
This way, mot of your sales activities can become automated, as the operational CRM system not only manages the sales activities but also automates certain steps, and is suitable for integration with the existing CRM system, so you do not have to re-enter the customer data you have already entered.
In fact, this is how sales will be fully covered: the existing sales CRM system will provide maximum support for customer acquisition and, where appropriate, marketing; while operational CRM will guide salespeople through bidding, contracting and approval processes, as well as fulfillment and billing! Even better that all related documents - offers, POs, contracts and even emails - can also be stored and later traced back as needed. All documents are of course attached to the customers and the processes they are involved in, meaning you will always see which document belongs to which customer and process.
Considering all of the above, it should be clear that sales not only needs to capture interested prospects, but also to conduct business processes from bidding to performance, billing, and others, all of which are complex, multi-stakeholder and collaboration oriented business processes. Managing these processes without an appropriate system developed for this purpose is almost impossible and very quickly can create chaos in sales. As a result, customers might be dissatisfied and terminate their contracts, then would most probably choose a competitor - an instant financial loss for the company. However, the use of a well-defined sales process system does the opposite: enforcing deadlines, "promises", and increases customer satisfaction while simplifying sales and daily operations.
If you are interested in a great operational CRM systems click on the link below:
In our next post, we will look at multi-channel client communication processes and show you how to handle large scale customer needs and ensure high-quality project completion!