Benefits of CRM for B2B Companies
CRM systems can be very beneficial for businesses of all kinds. Whether your company is small or big, and whether it works with other businesses or directly with customers, they can help you earn money and save time.
In essence, CRM software helps businesses monitor their customers through every phase of the buying journey, as well as nurture relationships in the post-purchase stage. More specifically, it collects and analyzes customer data, turning this data into actionable insights, helps automate workflows and streamline communication, and substantially boosts overall customer experience.
The Main Features of B2B
Now, why does this kind of software present a perfect fit for B2B companies? Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at a few key features of B2B organizations:
- B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer than B2C cycles
- They’re normally reaching out to a small target audience
- They deal with fewer leads
- The buyer’s journey is more complex than in B2C
- Their customers make buying decisions based on reason and thorough analysis, not emotions
- There are usually multiple highly competent decision-makers involved in B2B purchases
- The average value of a deal is higher than in B2C
It’s worth mentioning that a CRM system can also be very useful for B2C businesses, as it can help with B2C-specific processes in various departments. But how can it benefit a B2B company and how will the introduction of CRM software into your B2B organization affect your business?
You can expect to see improvements in multiple areas such as sales, marketing, and customer service. CRM will also contribute to smoothening the workflows in your organization and to making better-informed long-term decisions.
Let’ see how that works in more detail.
1. Sales Benefits
Overall, probably the greatest benefit of using CRM is gaining access to a large body of crucial customer data. The software is capable of collecting these and processing them to turn them into actionable insights that help salespeople make quick and informed sales decisions.
Take contact management for example. It’s a key aspect of any sales process, especially in B2B where closing a deal usually means reaching out to the same lead several times in very different stages of the buyer’s journey. A CRM system provides a neatly organized database that contains chat/call history with leads across multiple channels. And it’s all accessible from a single dashboard. This eliminates the noise that occurs in multichannel communication and simplifies the process dramatically.
It can also be useful in lead scoring and prioritization. CRM delivers accurate data about where the lead is positioned in the buyer’s journey at the moment and estimates its potential to move further forward. This is done based on different parameters in their online behavior, including social media activity, browsing history, and interactions they’ve had with your website or web-shop.
This way salespeople will always know how to set their priorities, who and when they should reach out to, and how to approach the lead. Reliable info on whether the lead is in the awareness stage or close to making a definite decision is vital in this context.
Tracking Leads’ Progress
It’s also much easier to monitor the progress of a potential customer inside the sales funnel. This helps recognize how active the lead is and determine the right timing for a follow-up message from the sales department.
Furthermore, the customer data is continually updated throughout the post-purchase phase as well, so it’s much easier to recognize the perfect moment for offering a contract renewal or attempting an up-sell. Thus you’re very likely to see your customer retention rates go up.
Remember, without any implementation of CRM whatsoever, 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. That’s why it’s so important to maximize the efficiency of your sales team. It’s also critical to align your marketing and sales team properly so they can make the most out of each other’s efforts. We’ll see in a minute how a proper CRM system can make that happen as well.
2. Marketing Benefits
Before that, let’s see how CRM will improve your marketing in general. Again, we go back to the fact that CRM software supplies you with crucial customer data. This helps your marketing efforts in multiple ways.
Firstly, it will improve your targeting. You’ll be able to target people who can potentially be interested in your product or have even shown that sort of interest in the past. This is easily done when you have access to demographic info, geolocation, and the online behavior of the customers. This way you’re saving tons of money because your ads will be only shown to the right people at the right time.
CRM systems provide help in the key aspect of digital marketing of today – personalization. This goes for B2B and B2C alike. In fact, 93% of B2B marketers claim that personalizing content has helped them increase their revenue. In addition, 42% of them have reported that they have room for improvement in this area.
Thus companies will continue to invest in hyper-personalized experiences and messages. CRM software can help you not just target the right people, but target them with the right message. And it does it again thanks to the large amounts of customer data. For instance, approaching prospects in different stages of the buyer’s journey with ads and content tailor-made precisely for that stage can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the success of your marketing efforts.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Finally, CRM does a great job strengthening the connection between sales and marketing departments. During their day-to-day activities, both these departments are able to obtain info that can be valuable for the other.
For instance, the sales team learns first-hand what triggers customers to buy and this info is very useful for the marketing team. On the other hand, the marketing team collects info about what sort of content or a message made a particular lead show interest in the product, and this can be of crucial importance for the sales rep. With CRM software, both these teams have easy access to a detailed, well-organized body of data they gathered over time.
3. Customer Service
Now, having all the info about who your customers are, what their journey looked like, and which potential troubles they’ve had in the past can be very beneficial for your customer support. CRM software can offer this crucial intelligence to customer service reps at any time, enabling them to provide quality service tailored to the needs of a specific client.
Why is this so important? Well, as we’ve already seen, consumers’ expectations regarding personalized experiences have grown substantially. And this especially goes for B2B vendors, since they usually work with a small number of mostly high-value clients who expect only the best for their money.
Furthermore, CRM will provide reps with a simple, unified, elegant overview of customer information. This will surely help them provide better service. In fact, 84 percent of customer service professionals claim that a unified view of customer information is key to providing a great experience. And great customer experience is key to increasing customer retention rates.
Moreover, the data obtained by customer service is very valuable to sales and marketing teams. The data about the most common demands of customers, processed and turned into sensible insights can be crucial in both sales and advertising processes. Here, once again, CRM can help strengthen the connections between different departments and provide easy access to a large shared pool of data to anyone in the organization who can benefit from it.
4. Organizational Matters
CRM can play an important role in resolving many kinds of organizational problems in your company. Most of its strength in this respect comes from the fact that it can automate various processes and activities.
For example, it can automate data capture. This means you don’t have to rely on salespeople or customer service reps to write down and sort all the data, which often leads to errors and confusion. CRM can automatically gather all kinds of different contact info, match it, recognize duplicates, and produce a clean, organized, error-free contact list. This is extremely important in B2B organizations that have to nurture every single lead very carefully.
There are also other types of data it can automatically capture and arrange. This includes updates of prices or inventory, for example. A unified, simple overview of contacts, leads, inventory, prices, transactions, and ongoing activities makes life so much easier for everyone in the company.
Moreover, a CRM system handles automatic task delegation. It speeds up and smoothens out the workflows, both inside a single team and across different departments. This eliminates a lot of organizational obstacles and hiccups.
Namely, the software automatically follows the established protocols, so that when one task is done it automatically assigns the next one to the next employee, notifying them about what they’re supposed to do and briefing them about what’s been done so far. It can even prioritize different tasks based on objective data and previously determined protocols.
Monitoring Employees’ Performance
Installing CRM software will benefit business owners, executives, and managers as well. Along with the customer data, a CRM collects and digests loads of info about employees’ performance.
It’s all in one place – their activities and accomplishments, their workload and their efficiency, as well as customer feedback. And by reviewing the flow of work processes thoroughly, you can check for potential gaps in these processes caused by flawed protocols that need to be fixed.
Some Final Thoughts
Finally, gathering all these data in one place will enable you to make well-informed, data-driven decisions regarding different long-term strategies. Having all this feedback about consumers’ concerns and demands, about your products’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own team’s effort and performance can be very valuable.
It’s more than just the four mentioned areas: sales, marketing, customer service, and organizational issues. You can also use the collected info to improve product planning, rethink your recruitment strategy, or modify your target market.
All in all, CRM will surely bring many benefits to your B2B organization by providing you with large amounts of customer data and helping you automate your workflows. It will make the long sales cycles easier to endure for both the buyers and the vendors – for the buyers by providing a great customer experience, and for the vendors by increasing the chance of actually closing the deal at the end of it.