Let’s face it, when it comes to Britain’s exit from the EU, nobody is sure where we’ll be this time next week, let alone next quarter.
But one thing’s for sure, Brexit is creating a tough environment for businesses, which thrive on stable economic conditions and predictability.
One way that we’re seeing pragmatic companies take the initiative (or should I say ‘take back control’) is by making greater usage of business intelligence software, in particular Customer Relationship Management (CRM), to boost their flexibility, customer insight and market responsiveness. Each of these factors are crucial to help your business handle the current volatility and prepare for the large-scale changes that Brexit could bring.
Let’s look in detail at how companies are achieving this with CRM.
Business intelligence at your fingertips
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published a useful Business Brexit Checklist and its recommendations include reviewing your customer and supplier base to see how Brexit may affect you.
In fact, the deeper you can dive into data analysis right now, the better. This will help you keep your ear to the ground, spotting new patterns and trends in your customer base and your market at the earliest opportunity. By using advanced tracking, analysis and visualisation tools in a CRM, this task will be greatly simplified and you’ll have a window into what’s going on, not only in terms of your sales cycle but also wider business performance.
This does rely on your data capture procedures, of course. Which data sources is your CRM drawing together? Over the last couple of months I’ve talked about our Customer Success (CS) teamand their role in closing the gap between marketing, sales, product delivery and customer service. Part of their job is to conduct telephone Value Reviews with customers, which are the perfect forum to ask them about plans and predictions. This intelligence can be fed straight into your centralised database and contribute to the rounded picture that you are building of your customers and their evolving businesses.
Smart customer insight and engagement
2018 has been the year of Customer Experience, a trend which is still developing at a rapid pace– and Brexit won’t change that. If anything, it’s becoming all the more important to demonstrate to customers (and prospects) that you value and understand them.
You can harness the intelligence gained from any Brexit-related customer and market analysis to check that you are doing all you can to nurture important prospect and customer relationships. CRM software often provides a much-needed catalyst to organise this outreach. For instance, we use our own solution to manage our customer Onboarding process. Our customers’ journey through the crucial first three months is closely tracked and monitored, with automatic triggers set up to progress each stage as efficiently as possible. Bottlenecks are flagged up, helping to pre-empt any problems and keep the Customer Experience cohesive and smooth.
One of our customers recently commented to me that the biggest benefit of their CRM is the way it enables them to communicate more regularly and consistently with each and every customer in their database, at every point in the customer lifecycle.
Taking a structured, technology-driven and personalised approach to engagement will help you consolidate relationships as we chart our course through economic and political turbulence.
Explore new market opportunities
Brexit could well lead to many of us trading with a more diverse range of customers, partners and suppliers, regardless of the geographical market.
To make a success of new market expansion, you will need to be rigorous in assessing demands and expectations, identifying how these vary from your existing markets and what steps you can take to meet them. CRM technology is built for precisely this type of task. You can profile customers, identify your most profitable accounts, map customer journeys, configure workflow rules and communication triggers for different product lines and in different markets – all of which would prove impossible with spreadsheets alone.
Depending on the nature of eventual trade deals, Brexit could provide impetus for more companies to dip their toes into overseas, non-EU markets. Business groups have long called for a greater focus on exporting, as exporters tend to be financially better-performing and more successful businesses. So if overseas opportunities are embraced to a greater extent, this could be considered one potentially positive outcome of the changes ahead.
Keep a close eye on costs
Could you enhance the efficiency of core processes in sales, marketing and service, and improve your overall productivity? Can you manage finances more wisely? Now is the time to ask yourself these big questions, because the financial savings on offer are huge.
CRM software is your friend here, especially the Cloud deployment options that reduce upfront outlay through fixed monthly payments. The right system typically allows teams to work more efficiently by reducing laborious admin and speeding up analytical and reporting tasks. Productivity gains of 10% or more are perfectly achievable when you consider the impact of improved collaboration and joined-up working.
Specifically, mobile CRM makes a significant difference to the performance of remote workers (such as field sales staff) by enabling them to access customer records and sales data seamlessly on the go, from any location.
Given their diverse applications and benefits, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are on track for being the fastest growing software market of 2018and are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6% to 2023.
As Brexit negotiations continue, CRM is proving an ideal platform to help British companies tap into new opportunities and make sensible savings while still investing in technology to drive more sales, promote Customer Experience and build strong foundations for the future.
About Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson - Managing Director, Maximizer EMEA
As Managing Director (EMEA), Mike is charged with leading and delivering the marketing, sales, service and operational strategy for the EMEA region, alongside the management of the Certified Solutions Provider network.
Mike joined Maximizer Software in 2000, by which time he already had extensive experience in key operational roles in IT infrastructure, engineering and systems management.
Since then he has headed up several areas of the Maximizer EMEA to gain a full perspective of the business, its functions and processes, as well as an incredible depth of knowledge of Maximizer CRM and the value CRM can bring to business growth. Through this he has gained a true understanding of how to help other SMEs grow and succeed through the use of CRM.
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