Business priorities are constantly evolving, but one thing remains at the forefront in determining if a business will thrive or fail – customer relationships. This is so important in today’s business landscape that we are in what has been described as ‘The Relationship Era’ and it is more critical than ever that people working in the CRM industry are fully engaged in this reality.
Building and fostering relationships are now considered to be among the most important skills for any employee. Strong business relationships can bring financial success, high levels of customer loyalty and an enhanced brand image. The organisations that succeed today are those built with solid relationships at their foundations and an understanding as to how those relationships can be maintained and developed.
A study into the way in which businesses manage their customer relationships was recently commissioned by the Google Partnership Team and ProsperWorks. Over one thousand IT and business leaders took part and one of the key findings was that more than sixty percent had at least three teams with an involvement in customer relationships, ranging from sales and marketing to finance and operations.
The fact that every part of a business can now be involved shows that sales processes need to be more relationship-focused and collaborative than ever before. Times have certainly changed, with communication and collaboration with customers now happening anywhere and over multiple channels. Half of the respondents in the survey currently use over eight different channels in the quest to build strong relationships with both existing and potential customers.
Genuine customer engagement is not simply a casual encounter with a single salesperson but an ongoing conversation, increasingly taking place on the go. Despite the rise in the use of chat apps, email is still important with nearly all of the respondents saying they used it to communicate.
CRM is also a key focus and systems need to be correctly implemented and integrated with other digital tools to ensure maximum adoption and relevance. The increasing use of AI and machine learning should mean that they become more intuitive and less reliant on time-consuming manual input. CRM technology has all too often failed to keep up with business requirements and doesn’t allow for sophisticated forecasting. Innovation needs to accelerate and be fit-for-purpose for a more mobile workforce, with data and stats available anywhere and anytime they are needed.
CRM systems should become enablers of relationships rather than basic data collection tools. In the relationship era, we need less tedious admin and more focus on real people and experiences. As business priorities continue to shift and evolve, partnerships and relationship building will continue to be a critical team sport throughout every part of a thriving organisation.
With the speed of innovation in today’s commercial environments bringing unparalleled challenges for many management teams. Why not get in touch today to discover how our industry-leading team at Clifford Associates can help you grasp opportunities and reduce your senior digital resourcing burden.
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