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CRM Best Practice: Is your valuable data locked away in your back office accounting system?

By Stuart McLaren on Wed 09 May 2012 in CRM

Most companies are either thinking of implementing, or are currently using a CRM system. Research shows that for those already using a CRM system, many have not realised the importance and potential benefits of integration with their back office accounting system. 

Why? The simple answer to this question is that people underestimate the potential benefits of CRM, and often mistake CRM as a tool solely to manage contacts and documents. However, without realising the importance of better CRM through accounts integration, many are not maximising their return on investment (ROI).

What can you gain from integrating your accounting system?

CRM accounts integration can help companies to understand customer purchase patterns or the sales history of a particular customer. When trying to pitch for new business sales staff should have the full picture of their customer record, which could help them better serve their customers and create more up-sell opportunities. Effective integration with your accounting system can multiply the value and ROI of the CRM solution.

Consider this scenario:
You are a sales or account manager, and you are questioned about an account balance by your customer. Would you rather:

1. Put the customer on hold and ask a busy finance manager?

2. Access information yourself and give the customer an accurate, immediate answer?

Hopefully, your preference would be to give your customer the answer on the spot without putting them on hold.

This is what we call moments of truth. With the right approach, these moments of truth can be turned into moments of magic by exceeding customer expectations.

Turning moments of truth into moments of magic

Centralising customer information gathered from different departments is crucial to providing good customer service. For example, if you know what you have in stock you could promise the customer next day delivery, stopping them going to your competition. Or if the sales team knows the margin on a particular product they could beat a competitor price. These are just two examples of how important accounts integration can be to success.

Why is CRM Integration with your accounting System so important?

The purpose of accounts integration is to provide CRM users with live access to important data in your accounting system that will help you improve efficiency, reduce cost, close sales, improve service and improve collections. This data is presented directly from the account record in the CRM system, eliminating the need to exit or switch screens. Without this information problems such as mis-matched customer details, current pricing and stock information, order status visability, credit status’ and other time consuming business processes are likely to arise.

Top Tip: Real time accounts integration puts critical information in the hands of customer-facing staff who need it most.

For most businesses, the accounting system is probably the most complete and accurate source of customer information. It is therefore essential that your CRM system is able to access this information and make it available to the employees who talk to your customers. This helps to reduce cost, optimise resources and achieve ROI in the following ways:

  • Employees can work more efficiently due to process automation, for example generating and sending more quotes, confirming more orders and making more sales.
  • Customer calls are dealt with quickly and their problems solved, improving customer satisfaction and customer retention.
  • Customers can be segmented by sales and purchase history to create more targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Information regarding high priority accounts helps you ascertain the best match, and manage them through account management to achieve high value sales in a lesser time frame.
  • Quotations can be raised with correct pricing and relevant discounts. Current stock levels, the customer’s purchase history and credit limit can also be checked prior to sending the quotation.

More and more companies are being asked to do more with less. ProspectSoft offers integrated and adaptable CRM Solutions helping you drive business growth, by giving instant, meaningful information on your customer data, allowing you to make better informed and more profitable decisions.

 Next Best Practice: Are your staff working as hard as you think they are?