What Can CRM Software Do For Your Business?

Posted by Admin on April 1, 2015 under CRM software for small business | Be the First to Comment

There is no magic to CRM software, but if you select the right product and make a firm commitment to its proper implementation and use, CRM can help you become a more efficient sales and service organization.

Improved performance of your sales and service departments are the strongest components of CRM

Below is a brief analysis of what Customer Management Software can provide to your business.

Data Consolidation

Information is streaming into your company via phone, fax, e-mail, and the web. You need to capture and share this information with the people and departments that need it to do their jobs. You may be trying to do this using an Excel spreadsheet or a contact manager and it’s simply not working. This is one of the strongest components of CRM.

Improve Sales Execution

Sales opportunities are falling through the cracks because you have no way to track them or manage the selling cycle from the initial introduction to closure. As a result, deals or lost, the monthly and quarterly forecasts are inaccurate, and there is no history of activity to review why you won or lost the sale. Most CRM solutions allow you to automate the sales process so that you can see where each new opportunity is in the cycle. This allows you to take an active approach during the sales process leading to more wins, and more accurate forecasts.

Deliver High Quality Customer Service

Customers have very high expectations for customer service today, but it is just not feasible to staff your service department 24/7. CRM can help streamline your service department by providing your customers with self-service options for getting the answers they need anytime, anywhere and from any device. Full featured CRM solutions offer a cloud based customer portal that includes a product knowledge base and frequently asked questions on the web. Your customers can access this information using any standard internet browser. In addition to providing best in class service, you’ll see a reduction of the number of calls to your service center as well.

If you could address one, two, or all three of these business challenges, you would realize an improvement in business performance that is greater than you ever dreamed possible. You don’t have to do it all on day one and you don’t have to do it all yourself. In addition to selecting the right product, make sure you select a CRM solution provider that can provide the advice and counsel necessary for you to realize the maximum value from their software.

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Building your brand is not easy – CRM can help

Posted by CRM Resources on March 26, 2015 under CRM solutions | Be the First to Comment

Building your brand so that you can generate more leads, improving sales execution so that you close more business, and delighting your customers with high quality customer service is not easy. If it were you probably would have done it by now, but do not be fooled into thinking any low cost CRM solution can handle these significant business challenges.

Take a closer look at using CRM to build your brand

Marketing Strategy

Building your brand requires a marketing strategy and mix of programs from advertising campaigns, mass e-mails, direct mail, social integration, and content distribution. CRM software does not do this, people do. CRM can help by automating the processes for campaign management and distribution. However, if you do not have a value proposition (what you do better than your competition) and a rock solid plan for how you are going to communicate this to your target audience, then your CRM initiatives will fall flat.

Sales Process Execution

If you are looking to close more business, look no further than your sales organization. These people need to be properly trained and capable of representing your product, your service, and your company. CRM software is not going to sell your product or service for you, but it can help by implementing a structure to track every sales opportunity, and generating reports to manage each stage of the sales cycle from introduction to closure. If you do not have a formal sales process in place, your CRM software will provide no value in helping you to close more business.

Customer Service

In today’s competitive environment, providing excellent service is paramount to customer retention and add-on business. Ask yourself who is on the front line of providing high quality customer service – is it my staff or my CRM software? Perhaps it is both. CRM software is not going to talk with your customers and discover their concerns, but what it can do is provide a vehicle for customers to get answers to their questions 24/7 via a series of self-service tools such as a Knowledgebase and Frequently Asked Questions area on your web site. This will provide good service to your customers, and will reduce the number of calls into your service department.

Making your business a more effective sales and service organization is not an easy task. Management must have a firm commitment to implement structured processes and a willingness to invest the time in using tools like CRM that can help automate and streamline internal business processes. It is not easy and you cannot do it alone. Look for a CRM solution provider with dedicated people who can provide you with expertise in the areas you need it most.

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Commence Shines among Affordable CRM Solutions

Posted by Admin on March 18, 2015 under Mid-Market CRM | Be the First to Comment

CRM software is considered a commodity today and for good reason. There are several hundred vendors, all claiming to be the easiest to use lowest cost solution for improving internal business processes. While many are inexpensive and easy to use, these products are all pretty much the same. They offer basic contact management and a sales forecast, but very little in the way of customization or support services. This is of course by design as the vendors that offer these products cannot afford to provide advanced functionality, telephone support or consultation for software that is often free or just a few dollars a month. However if you are a small business of just a few employees, a free or low cost CRM solution that offers the basics may be perfectly fine for you.

Other low cost solutions offer very little in the way of customization or support services

One company that has been able to differentiate itself among the myriad of options is Commence, makers of Commence CRM. Commence CRM has found a way to straddle the fence between basic low cost CRM programs and higher priced solutions that offer too much functionality at a much higher cost. While Commence CRM offers a robust set of applications and features that rival those of higher-end products, what customers find most appealing about Commence is the ability to customize it without programmer intervention. This combination of comprehensive functionality coupled with the product’s flexibility has made Commence CRM an excellent choice and one that now stands out from the competition.

Commence has been providing Customer Management Software solutions to small and mid-size businesses for more than two decades. “We started out as a basic contact management and sales automation tool” says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corporation, “but over the years our product really matured. As the business and customer base continued to grow, we discovered that small to mid-size businesses have unique requirements too, so we worked with our customers to incorporate a level of flexibility that addressed their needs. In addition to expanding our application suite to include marketing, project management and customer service capabilities, we added features that are traditionally only found in higher-end products such as:

  • advanced data security that limits what data people can access
  • custom views of data
  • saved searches and advanced search features
  • ad hoc and graphical reporting
  • different field types
  • and integration with Google Maps

These are areas where Commence CRM stands out in this highly competitive market. To learn more about Commence CRM visit the company web site at www.commence.com.

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Alternatives to Salesforce.com

Posted by CRM Resources on March 11, 2015 under Salesforce.com competitors | Be the First to Comment

There is no question that Salesforce.com is well known and well regarded in the Customer Relationship Management software industry. However, the product also has a reputation for being hard to use and very expensive and when you consider the cost of the annual service agreement, onboarding, training and customer service this is true.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Salesforce.com is a robust product designed to meet the needs of mid-size and large organizations. It offers a comprehensive set of departmental applications that only a few other CRM solution providers can match. They include account and contact management, sales and lead management, marketing and campaign management, document management, customer service or help desk, analytical reporting, and integration to a variety of disparate systems such as accounting and ERP systems. In addition, tools built into the product enable professional engineers to customize the product to meet unique business requirements. All of this comes at a price and a very high one at that, but if this is what your business requires then Salesforce is the right solution.

Comparing CRM Solutions

Because Salesforce is considered an industry giant, other CRM solution providers often try to compare their solutions to Salesforce. Bloggers, industry experts and sales people push their products each and every day on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites making claims that their CRM software is a cheaper and easier to use “alternative” to Salesforce.com. My concern is that they are misleading the public. Here is why.

When comparing crm software programs look for products with similar features and functions

The majority of CRM software programs today are low cost solutions that offer very basic functionality with little to no customization. Many are self-service offerings meaning that you put your credit card over the internet and begin using the system. There is no contact and often no telephone number to call if you need assistance. Yes, they are easy to use, less expensive, and sometimes free, but the word alternative traditionally means that you can get a similar product or service at a lower cost. Simply put, these products are not alternatives to Salesforce.com. When you see these posts or articles comparing some unknown product to Salesforce.com, pay no attention to them.

The good news is that like any product or service today there are several very good alternatives. Two companies that are growing their customer base and winning decisions over Salesforce.com are Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Commence CRM from Commence Corporation. Both have comprehensive functionality that matches up well to Salesforce at a much lower cost and both offer very good customer service.

There are many CRM solution providers in the industry that offer basic low cost solutions but to suggest that they are good alternatives to Salesforce.com without understanding a customer’s requirements is unfair and misleading.

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CRM Ticketing System Bolsters Commence CRM Sales

Posted by CRM Resources on March 4, 2015 under Commence News, Customer Service | Be the First to Comment

Commence Corporation has released a new customer service ticketing system that’s fully integrated with the account management and sales modules of their Customer Management Software solution Commence CRM.  Commence CRM is targeted at companies of 10 to 200 employees who are looking for more than a basic contact management solution.

Support On Phone Shows Call For Advice

The new customer service ticketing includes a customer portal where customers can submit service tickets directly into the CRM system. The  automated knowledge base and frequently asked questions area is designed to enable Commence CRM customers to provide 24/7 self service to their customers.  This additional functionality has bolstered sales of Commence CRM for two reasons. First, very few CRM solutions offer a fully integrated customer service system and those that do are very expensive. To learn more visit: http://www.commence.com/crm/customer-service-portal/

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Commence CRM Ups the Ante with Customer Support Portal

Posted by Admin on February 25, 2015 under Customer Service | Be the First to Comment

Commence Corporation, manufacturer of Commence CRM, has released a new customer service portal that will enable businesses to provide self-service support options to their customers. “The objective of the portal is to enable our customers to provide best in class service to their customers,” says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence Corporation. We already provide an integrated customer service application within our CRM system for ticket management, but the portal takes this to a new level. With the portal, customers can search a Knowledge base or Frequently Asked Questions section anytime, anywhere and from any device and submit service tickets directly into the CRM system. This reduces the number of support calls and enables customers to get the information they need 24/7” says Caretsky.

“Our target audience is customers that are looking to do more than manage contacts and a sales forecast,” continued Caretsky. “There are a hundred guys doing that.”

Commence CRM is best suited for mid-market companies that appreciate the value of partnering with a company like Commence with more than two decades of experience in the CRM sector and a professional services staff that can ensure they get the maximum return on their investment. The company competes with heavy weights Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com. The company offers a comprehensive suite of applications that rival these offerings and is less expensive and easier to use.

Small-Business CRM Software Report 2014 (Software Advice)

Posted by CRM Resources on February 18, 2015 under Small Business CRM | Be the First to Comment

Every year, Software Advice speaks with thousands of organizations looking for the right customer relationship management (CRM) software. We analyzed these interactions to understand buyers’ most desired applications and most common reasons for seeking new software. The report/slide show is listed below.

Software Advice BuyerView: Small-Business CRM Software Report 2014

CRM BuyerView Slide Show

One of the key elements to the successful implementation and use of CRM software, particularly sales automation, is selecting a CRM solution provider that can assist small to mid-size businesses with implementing a proven sales methodology and best practices that ensure an improvement in sales execution. Product reviews tend to only focus on features and functions. This is because very few CRM vendors servicing the small to mid-size sector have experienced staff on board to assist their customers in this area. One company that does is Commence Corporation, manufacturers of Commence CRM. See commence.com to learn more.

Why You Need a Customer Service Portal

Posted by CRM Resources on February 11, 2015 under Customer Service | Be the First to Comment

In today’s competitive industry providing world class customer service may be the one thing that differentiates you from your competition.

Is your support help desk able to handle the demand for a high level of customer service?

Customers have high expectations for service that includes the ability to:

  • submit service requests or tickets 24/7
  • access a knowledge base and frequently asked questions via the internet
  • get real time responses that their request has been received and is being reviewed
  • check the status of their inquiry anytime and anywhere

If you wish to remain competitive you need to consider how you can quickly and cost effectively meet this customer expectation before your competitors do. Commence Corporation, a leading provider of business software, has leapfrogged the competition with the introduction of a cloud based customer portal.

To learn more visit http://www.commence.com/crm/customer-service-support/

 

Time to Get Rid of That Old Legacy System

Posted by CRM Resources on February 5, 2015 under CRM software for small business | Be the First to Comment

Businesses tend to hold on to older legacy systems for too long and often for the wrong reasons. It can be difficult and disruptive to change. I appreciate that and many follow that old saying “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”. However, there comes a time when that old legacy system, while still operational, is simply not helping your staff to be more productive. Here is an example.

I recently worked with a company that had been using an old homegrown system for customer management. While a bit cumbersome as compared to modern CRM software programs, the system did a pretty good job of managing traditional contact and account information such as customer name, address, notes and other history. But it was lacking in so many ways that in my opinion the company was losing productivity and losing money. They felt that the system was providing value and not costing them anything but in reality it was costing them much more than they realized. Here is why.

Collaboration and productivy decrease with legacy system

No built in calendar or integrated e-mail

People used Microsoft Outlook to schedule meetings, calls and communicate via e-mail. While this worked, shifting back and forth from system to system, the lack of shared data caused a number of internal communication problems.

No workflow automation

The system had the ability to enter an account and contact or a lead, but there was no automation beyond this. There was no automated workflow to manage your leads or the sales cycle. The best you could do was print out all your leads or sales opportunities and manually contact them, then enter the notes into the notes field. This was highly inefficient causing many leads and sales opportunities to fall through the cracks.

How CRM Improves Business Performance

Modern CRM software programs, even at the most basic level, provide a built in calendar and integration with MS Outlook for e-mail so that you can track your activity within the one CRM system. They also offer the ability to separately manage your leads and use the integrated e-mail to send marketing emails, schedule follow-up calls, and maintain a history of all activities. The good solutions also offer automated sales management to manage each stage of the sales cycle from introduction to closure, and generate reports that outline where each new opportunity is in the sales cycle. In fact, many of these systems cost no more than $20 per user per month and some are even free for small groups of 1-3 users.

These systems operate in the cloud so there is no hardware to purchase or install, and nothing to maintain. There is simply no reason to continue to hold on to old legacy systems that are not meeting your current business requirements and costing you money in ways you do not even know.

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Commence CRM a High Quality Alternative to Salesforce.com

Posted by CRM Resources on January 29, 2015 under Salesforce.com competitors | Be the First to Comment

Let’s face it. Small to mid-size businesses are looking for an affordable easy to use solution for managing sales, marketing, and customer service and Salesforce.com just isn’t it. Being the first company to market has advantages. You get a lot of industry press and fanfare and you can set high pricing because there are few alternatives. Things have certainly changed however and today there are proven products that offer small to mid-size firms all the functionality they need and at an affordable price.

While there are numerous CRM systems to choose from, Commence CRM is one of the few solutions that match up well with Salesforce.com. The company offers a comprehensive suite of applications with robust functionality that includes contact management, lead and sales management, calendaring, activity management, documents, marketing, project management, customer service with ticketing, and a customer portal. Mobile access and integration with numerous e-mail clients such as MS Outlook and Gmail are also included. Commence also has an experienced professional services staff that provides excellent customer service. The product’s broad functionality coupled with an experienced service team differentiates Commence from lower cost competitors and makes it a tough competitor for Salesforce.com.

50 percent off calculator by stuart miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Let’s do a quick cost comparison of the CRM software. The Professional Edition of Salesforce.com is $65 dollars per user per month. The same functionality for Commence CRM is $35 dollars. The Salesforce Enterprise Edition is $125 dollars per user per month, Commence CRM just $65 dollars. Do the math? If you have 15 to 50 users the cost difference between Salesforce.com and Commence CRM is simply not justifiable. Add the cost of service and support and the savings are even greater with Commence CRM. Now multiply your savings by 3-5 years and it is easy to see why companies are switching to Commence CRM.

It’s hard to justify double the cost for a similar product and service, so if you think you are paying too much for Salesforce.com it’s time to look at Commence CRM.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net