As CRM 2.0 continues to emerge as an innovative, viable, and highly effective customer relationship management strategy, how it will alter traditional sales processes remains to be seen. However, some industry experts believe that CRM 2.0 will transform sales operations in the following key ways:
Giving Ownership to the Client
In traditional CRM models, it was the company and its sales force that were in complete control over all touch points throughout the course of the sales cycle. Customers had little say over how outreach was performed – whether it came in the form of an email, a phone call, or a postcard.
But, CRM 2.0 will change all that, giving clients a greater say in how they are marketed and sold to. According to the CRM Guru’s blog, CRM 2.0 aims to make the client an essential element of not just the purchase itself, but of the entire business relationship. This will create a customer-centric “ecosystem” that is made up of new and more diverse connection points, over which the clients themselves will reign.
Less Face-to-Face Interaction
There are many trends driving the move towards CRM 2.0 in direct sales situations. First is the increasing cost of travel. With rising fuel, airline, and hotel costs, sending sales reps from one prospect site to another is simply no longer a cost-effective approach. In fact, recent studies performed by the US Department of Transportation show that travel is down 2.1 percent so far in 2008. In other words, companies across all industries are seeking new ways to interact with and sell to clients.
The online social networks that support CRM 2.0 provide the perfect vehicle for sales reps and the businesses they work for to convey their value proposition, offer demonstrations in the form of video, and more to a large audience of target buyers. This approach is not only more budget-friendly, it provides access to a broader base of prospects, while allowing sales reps to perform more outreach, in a shorter period of time.
Many experts also feel that the reason online communication has grown so rapidly and so quickly in popularity is that the “facelessness” of it increases confidence and encourages people to be more honest in their correspondence. This increased openness is what CRM 2.0 is all about, giving companies a new perspective on what clients really think, need, and want – and providing buyers with the mediums in which to tell them.
A Focus on Longevity
Old-school CRM claimed to help organizations nurture and grow relationships, but because they facilitated only one-sided transactions and interactions – where the company communicated to the client, not vice versa – they made true relationship-building nearly impossible.
CRM 2.0 aims to achieve continuous engagement, using a greater understanding of each others needs and a more mutually beneficial environment to create the kind of bonds between companies and their clients that can extend over many years, across multiple sales channels, and throughout many purchases.