Understanding your customers and tailoring products and services to their needs is critical to financial profitability and growth. There is a wide range of business software designed to support those goals, but sometimes, deploying these tools can create the opposite result.
Companies often grow in an ad hoc way, piecing together software solutions in a tactical fashion to meet immediate needs. You need accounting so you get a financial management package like QuickBooks. You may also need a system to help manage your inventory, order processing and fulfillment, although some companies try to handle all of this with excel. Many companies need online shopping functionality, so you roll out an ecommerce software solution. If you have a services organization, you likely have an application to handle project management and billing. Some customer data is stored in all of these places mentioned, but most growing companies also need a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage their leads and prospects. Eventually, this software hairball of unconnected systems with duplicate information leads to increased costs, inefficiencies, and errors.
Silos create missed Opportunity
The harmful impact on the business is clear when information is contained in separate silos. For example, with a stand-alone CRM that is not integrated with back office systems, a salesperson has no way of knowing when an order processes, if a customer receives a delivery or pays an invoice. That creates missed opportunities to contact the customer, to cross-sell or upsell, or just to build the relationship. Customer response time lags while employees chase down information across departments. Those missed connections are repeated across the business.
Choosing the right integrated system, one that is compatible with your business and is flexible and scalable enough to support your business as it grows, will help improve your customers’ experience.
Integrating business systems that centralize accounting, order management, CRM, and ecommerce processes give your people a single data source to draw on for all things customer related. When everyone has access to the same customer information and transactions, it’s easier to respond quickly to customer inquiries. It allows salespeople to spot opportunities to cross-sell and upsell, and teams can confidently track pending orders, service issues, or overdue invoices. Real-time visibility into the customer transaction means employees can provide a more consistent service experience, building customer satisfaction and developing longer term, more profitable relationships.
At the same time, end-to-end information is immediately available to individual teams. Your marketing, finance, sales, and inventory managers can all pull the exact data they need to understand trends and improve the accuracy of their forecasting. Because they all draw from the same data source, your company will have a more holistic insight into customer behavior at each stage of the transaction. More comprehensive insight allows the business to plan promotions, approaches, or new products that will win and retain more customers.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to knowing your customers. But if knowledge is siloed in different systems that are inaccessible or awkward to connect, you’re limiting the power of your business to attract and serve more customers, increase profit and expand strategically. An integrated business software suite that aligns your accounting, inventory, CRM, and ecommerce systems helps unleash the power and potential of your employees and your company.