To compete successfully, businesses need to use cutting-edge technological solutions. Implementing them quickly, though, bears the risk of lost money and wasted time. Is there a safer alternative?
The Tools You Need
Any company, no matter its size, needs several technological tools:
- sales – a customer database, preferably a CRM linked to an outbound-communications system (for use in telesales, for example);
- customer care – a tool to log, automate, and process customer issues coming from several channels (such as phone, e-mail, chat, text message, social media, webpages);
- marketing automation – a tool monitoring customer activity at the website, and sending them customized communications;
- team management – this is not corporation-exclusive, even a small team will benefit from a system letting you set and review sales or service targets.
All those tools have to work together – such as marketing automation data should be directly forwarded to sales which will contact the customer at the right moment.
So when somebody visits your website, browses through a few products, puts one in the shopping cart… and then does nothing, for a minute, two, three – then the marketing automation system should immediately notify sales, which will phone the potential customer and help get through with the purchase.
When the purchase is done, but the customer has a complaint, then this will be logged in the ticketing system. It takes relevant data from the customer database automatically and notifies the sales person responsible for the customer or product, and forwards the ticket to the complaints department.
The system ensures all the complaints process runs smoothly – it divides the tasks, reminds about deadlines, alerts when any stage takes too long, and will keep the customer updated about the progress of their issue.
To make all this work, you need the capability to put several tasks into complex sales, marketing, and customer care processes. But all of the tasks are done by a different system, so you need a way to get them working together. How?
Integration is one answer. In some instances it’s unavoidable (more on that below), but it’s best left as limited as possible. Why?
1) to do an integration, you need specialists, whose time costs you money,
2) preparing an integration requires specialist knowledge and an in-depth needs analysis,
3) integration consumes time,
4) integration is technically difficult and can simply fail.
Also, the modern market evolves quickly. To keep up, your company has to change. This can require immediate corrections to an otherwise successful integration, as the internal processes have changed.
Then you need to start over with the operation.
We have a different solution.
A Unified Tool
Based on our experience, contacts with customers, and market observations, we can see a growing drive to a unified tool to encompass several specialized systems into one tool. What would be its main benefits?
A unified system saves integration-related time and headaches – you don’t need to prepare the integration, you can test the tool (usually you get a free trial period) to check if it fits in with your business processes and structure.
You work with one supplier – you get one invoice, negotiate with people you know, and address any problems, issues or service needs to one provider.
The tool evolves with your business – you add functions or function packages as you need them and as your business expands. Some of them you can even activate temporarily, to handle the increased Christmas traffic, for example.
All components work together – created by the same supplier around a similar core, which essentially makes them parts of one system. No problems with incompatibility or feature duplication.
Build complex process connecting sales, marketing, company management, and customer support. The automation built into the tool makes them work just as planned, taking the workload off your team and preventing human error.
Configure instead of integrating – if processes in your business change, you don’t integrate multiple systems over again. You just reconfigure your one tool.
Use more collected data – information is the gold of the 21st century, so companies tend to gather and store as much as they can get, and definitely more than they can handle.
According to a 2015 report by PwC and Iron Mountain, only 4% companies surveyed made expert use of the data collected, 43% used it to some minor benefits, while 23% were completely unable to put the data to use.
We mentioned the need to have a CRM system. These form a separate class of tools, highly advanced, that require massive resources to develop and keep updated.
Therefore, designing and building a CRM component for a unified system is impractical – there are multiple excellent CRMs available on the market.
This is the case when a unified system needs to integrate – with a CRM.
But this integration is different – it’s “factory made”. We take all the burden of the integration on ourselves, by working with CRM suppliers to integrate the systems in a controlled environment, clear all problems, and test rigorously.
Only when it works faultlessly, we can offer you the system with a ready-made „plug-and-play” CRM integration.
The Power of One Tool
To sum up, after a period of specialized tools, we can see a shift in the trend toward unifying sales, marketing automation, and customer communication features into one system. With the factory-made interfaces for seamless integration with other tools – such as CRMs – they enable you to quickly assemble a powerful platform for managing business processes.