The CRM Advisor
You ask the questions, and our resident CRM guru shares her wisdom.
This week’s question:
“The CRM vendors we are currently evaluating have been talking about opportunity relationship management. What is it and what value can it provide?”
A: Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are highly effective at helping businesses manage clients throughout their lifecycle – from the time they first make contact with the company, until they “sign on the dotted line” and continue to interact with various members of the organization as they use its products and services. In most cases, these relationships become more multifaceted after a prospect is converted to a client, when multiple departments – such as sales, service, and accounting – interface with customers on a day to day basis.
However, in many organizations, the activities involved in managing opportunities before they become customers can be highly complex. For example, companies who rely on sophisticated channel sales strategies, firms who are outsourcing various marketing and lead generation functions to third-parties, businesses that have multiple sales teams “working” to land the same account, or organizations with multi-level referral networks can all face unique challenges in identify and closing potential business. In these instances, it is necessary to closely manage the various internal and external stakeholders, as well as their tasks and actions, as they relate to the deal as a whole.
That’s where opportunity relationship management (ORM) comes in.
ORM serves as an extension of CRM, taking it one step further to create an environment that enables more strategic selling, boosts close rates, and maximizes revenue potential. Opportunity relationship management provides the following benefits to companies who are looking to simplify and streamline the execution of their complex sales cycles:
• A single, consolidated, “global” view of an opportunity across all touch points, including marketing, sales, and channel and referral partners.
• Increased visibility into and tracking of end-to-end pre-sales activities.
• Improved coordination of activities and tasks among all those involved in the sales cycle, including all internal and external constituents.
• Dynamic opportunity assessment, for more rapid identification of those potential deals that are truly viable, and those that are not.
• The ability to uncover the most efficient and effective pre-sales processes, and use those to create best practices and ensure consistency in mission-critical selling procedures.
As a result, businesses can retain complete ownership of and visibility into each and every sales opportunity from start to finish. This allows for seamless sales cycle execution, even if account management responsibilities change hands (i.e. if a lead sales rep leaves the company), sales hierarchies shift, or deals get put “on hold” (i.e. due to budgetary cutbacks on the customer’s part) only to gain momentum again at a later date.
Sound like something your organization needs as part of its CRM strategy? If so, then be sure to ask the vendors you speak with about their capabilities around opportunity relationship management.
Those providers that focus primarily on the sales force automation component of CRM may be the best place to start looking. Since they have extensive experience in enhancing pre-sales processes, and have worked closely with sales professionals at all levels, they are the most likely to have the in-depth knowledge and insight needed to build the required ORM-related features and capabilities into their products.
Submit your question to the CRM Advisor at CRMadvisor@business-software.com.
[Photo courtesy of hatchfs.]