Monday, June 23, 2008

Why CRM Should Start At Your Web Site

Often, the first contact your company may have with a prospective customer is on your web-site. For those visitors, your sales cycle begins right there. The typical workflow might be something like this: the visitor?s contact information is collected by the web site and sent to an email address; someone in the company gets the email and takes it over to sales; then someone in sales calls or writes the prospect; depending on what happens then, someone has to remember to follow up on that prospect later? and so on. Unfortunately, equally often, the result is prospects that slip through the cracks of your organization, a longer sales cycle, and higher costs for excessive handling of prospect information.

But Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that begins at your web site will empower your entire organization. With CRM, the ?click-through? from your web site visitor will automatically be routed to the appropriate salesperson, automatically be scheduled to receive appropriate sales literature, and automatically be scheduled for future interactions using pre-configured workflow rules.

Web site and CRM integration can also add value after the sale. Your service and support processes can also begin at your web site by offering clients useful information online. This can take the form of FAQ?s, a ?knowledgebase?, or troubleshooting wizard. If a customer is unable to resolve their issue online, then a support ?ticket? can be initiated online that will automatically be routed to the appropriate service person, schedule a service call, and schedule follow ups ? all automatically!

With CRM, your web site does more, too. Your web site becomes an active agent in your customer relationships and a valuable tool. With CRM, it helps your business increase its capacity to deal with the prospects and customers without increasing your employee workload. Between your web site and your CRM system, much of your day-to-day sales and service tasks can be automated, the sales and service cycles shortened, and your customer loyalty increased.

This article was written by Rick Bellefond president and founder of RB Data Services. RB Data Services has specialized in providing our clients with a full range of CRM services since 1989. For more information, please contact us at 858-541-1820 or by visiting our website at http://www.rbdata.com

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