Loyal customers are the life force of any successful business, which is why for any business to rise high and win appreciation, it’s important to carefully foster relationships with customers. Sometimes, however, you simply cannot do so without the help of advanced organizational technologies. Over time, the amount of customer data that you need to keep track of may be too much for a simple spreadsheet, and opportunities for success may start passing by you. This is when a Customer Relationship Management system (or CRM system) becomes the necessity.
In a nutshell, a CRM system is an app that allows you to store, organize, and maintain customer contact information, accounts, leads, sales opportunities, and so on – preferably in the cloud so all this vital data is accessible by the sales, marketing, finance, operations, and logistics departments of your company in real time, on any device. Such cloud CRMs are also known as SaaS CRMs, online CRMs, or web CRMs.
There are lots of solutions in the market, but there are no guarantees that commercial CRM will meet your business needs. Typically, the commercial CRM systems have a limited set of features, adding custom addon will take a lot of time and money. Also, with commercial CRMs, you’re dependent on software support. And of course, the commercial CRM may cost your company a pretty penny: for instance, the basic version of Salesforce will cost you $25 per user monthly. So in some cases, it’s much better to develop your own CRM solution.
Today we’re going to talk about how to build a cloud-based customer relationship management system. We’ve carefully analyzed several of the most popular cloud-based CRM apps – Salesforce, SugarCRM, Pipedrive, and some other open-source solutions – and have come up with a set of must-have CRM system features, which will be helpful if you decided to develop an online CRM for a small business. Let’s see what these features are and how we can implement them.
Basic features for your web-based CRM system
- Address book
What is the central feature of any CRM software? Of course, it’s an address book. Without one, how are you going to collect all the contacts that may come in handy someday? With an address book, you can store all vital information on your prospects and other people who matter to your business – for instance, the CEO of your partner company and the contractor who works at your office. A person’s full name, email address, and links to social networks can be conveniently gathered and stored in one place so anyone can access it if needed.
Traditionally, new contacts are added to a system manually, but most modern CRM apps can now do this automatically. Salesflare, for example, gathers contact information from email signatures and social profiles. Some companies even build custom APIs that let them automatically drop every new contact into a system (this drop is usually initiated when a prospective client fills out a contact form on the company’s website).
What about existing contacts? You can also give your users the opportunity to import their contacts from other sources or CRM systems. Insightly, for example, lets users import contacts from Gmail and MailChimp accounts or from Excel files; Pipedrive even lets users import existing contacts from other systems like Zoho and Sugar CRM.
- Leads and deals
As it typically happens, you start tracking your potential customers as “leads,” add some customer information while you’re convincing them that your product or service is worth trying, and finally turn these leads into “deals.” A really effective CRM system should accompany you at every stage of this process, and so your future product should obviously have a place where users can see all of their leads and track their leads’ movements through the sales pipeline – from the first contact to signing a contract. After all, business is business, and helping to move the needle in your sales is actually why CRM systems are built.
Applications like Salesflare and Pipedrive use special board-like interfaces that allow you to see how many deals your company currently has, understand at which stage of the sales pipeline these deals are, and see which of them need your urgent attention. Moreover, these applications let users customize their pipelines to meet the specific business needs of their companies: set as many stages as needed, name them, order them, and so on.
You should also let your users import their leads from existing CSV files or other third-party sources (MailChimp, for example) just as with contacts.
Salespeople know that it’s very important not to lose even minor details while working with prospective clients. Many existing CRM apps have a range of tools that help you remember everything that was said and done during your last conversation with a client. Pipedrive, for example, lets you take notes and upload files from your device so you can have everything you need conveniently filed in one record.
You can also give your users the opportunity to upload files from Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and other cloud storage services. Insightly even provides seamless integration with Evernote, so users can link their Evernote items directly to contacts or deals.
Some software, like SalesForce, also provide so-called “smart” BCC functionality. Thanks to this feature, users can copy their emails (sent from external email applications) right to a contact or lead record in Salesforce. Simply enter your Salesforce email address in the BCC field and the email copy will appear inside the application so you can then link it to a certain deal record. Pipedrive provides similar functionality.
Many existing solutions provide built-in scheduling tools that allow users to set reminders for recurring activities and upcoming events, such as calls, follow-ups, and meetings. This way you can make sure that you don’t miss anything important. Pipedrive, for example, allows you to plan your own activities and assign activities to others. The application provides a special dashboard where you can overview the to-do list for your entire sales department.
Insightly uses a different approach to displaying planned events and activities, using a calendar-like board that gives you valuable insights into your sales department’s to-do’s and processes. You can even sync the Insightly calendar with Google Calendar so all your planned activities can smoothly mirrored on another platform without your having to lift a finger. There are a number of APIs that allow you to integrate your app with calendar functionality, including the most popular ones like Google’s Calendar REST API, the Eventful API, and Microsoft’s Outlook Calendar API.
Your users may want to be notified when important milestones have been achieved, big tasks have been completed, or important activities have been scheduled. Insightly offers special email notifications that are sent when changes or updates are made to tasks or deals. This approach helps users stay up to date on what matters to them.
You can also add real-time notifications to your web CRM app, which is an even more convenient approach since users can instantly receive the freshest information on what’s interesting to them without the need to constantly check their mailboxes.
Unsurprisingly, support for mobile devices is becoming a must-have for CRM software. To stay on top of the game, modern business people need quick and constant access to their vital data – be it a hot lead’s contact information or the sales statistics for the previous quarter. Immediate access becomes possible thanks to mobile CRM systems. Going mobile provides a greater degree of flexibility and efficiency, which is crucial for the success of any business.
Examples of companies that have already gone mobile are Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Insightly, Pipedrive, Base, and Netsuite. Usually, a mobile version of such an application contains all key functions of the web application – such as contacts, leads, tasks, and statistics – and applies some functionalities that are difficult to implement on the web: push notifications, audio recording, call logging, mapping with nearby contacts, and so forth.
- Sales reporting
Which of your products sells best? Who is your most effective sales managers? What’s the average number of deals you close monthly? And, finally, how can you improve your results in the future? Sales analytics and reporting have answers to these and many other sales-related questions.
Usually, CRM apps offer dashboards with a number of fields and filters so you can specify a certain time period, channel, and activity and get the data you need. Many apps also let you choose from a variety of view formats: colorful tables, charts, circle diagrams, and so on so you can visualize information the way you want.
Some systems also provide the forecasting functionality as a natural continuation of their reporting functionality. A built-in sales forecasting feature can help sales teams accurately predict future sales growth based on their pipeline of current and potential deals. By integrating your CRM system with sales forecasts, sales teams can adjust their selling strategy to achieve better even results. For example, sales managers can make more informed business decisions on how their team should manage its resource and define tasks and deals their employees have to devote their full attention to.
What to add?
Without a doubt, CRM apps are powerful tools to help businesses track valuable information about their leads, log their interactions with them, and convert these leads into deals. For some businesses, however, tracking, logging, and converting is not enough. If these functionalities are no longer sufficient, businesses may start considering adding some marketing automation features to their existing CRM solutions.
- Marketing functionality
We can always add a dash of automation to our CRM systems. Using an API, for example, it’s possible to automatically add every new contact when they’ve filled out a form on your website, but marketing automation extensions go a bit further. These tools are tied directly to your website, so they can “stream” new users to a CRM application as soon as they sign up. Moreover, marketing automation tools can monitor your product statistics – where your users come from, which parts of your site they’ve visited, at which point they’ve left, and so on. Having these insights on hand, you can create smart and effective marketing campaigns to nurture your leads.
There are a number of companies that offer CRM apps with embedded marketing automation functionalities, including Salesforce, Intercom, Hubspot, and Instant Customer.
Sometimes, it may be really costly and time-consuming to develop all necessary features on your own – for example, marketing automation or project management functionalities. That’s why during the process of SaaS application development you may start considering integrations with different third-party applications. Such integrations may significantly save time and money. Besides, this is common practice among popular CRM vendors. Pipedrive provides integrations with more than 20 third-party apps, including famous ones like Trello, Yesware, Callmaker, MailChimp, and Google Apps.
Insightly has a number of integrations with popular accounting and productivity tools, but its most compelling integration is with Slack. Insightly’s paid subscribers can enjoy communicating with the lovely Insightly Assistant in the Slack messenger. This chatbot comes in handy if you want to find, create, or update your records in the CRM system without leaving Slack. Of course, these aren’t the only capabilities of Insightly Assistant, but that’s another story.
It’s also important to give your users the opportunity to integrate CRM systems with their in-house software (their custom-built accounting and management tools, for example) or perhaps with hardware, such as POS systems. In either case, you’ll need to design an API. APIs enable a seamless exchange of information between applications, which, in turn, enables greater operational consistency and efficiency inside companies.
What to keep in mind
As far as CRM systems keep sensitive company data – customer details, financial data, and more – that’s why it’s very important to give users the security they expect. When developing a CRM solution, you should devote special attention to data encryption, advanced authentication (two-factor authentication), support for different access roles, session timeouts, and other security measures.
If solutions available on the market don’t fully cover all your needs, or you want to get an additional level of security and customization, CRM system development is something you definitely should consider.
In today’s business marketing, one of the critical element that drives the business momentum is Lead nurturing.
According to Andre Pino’s,
A process by which leads are tracked and successfully converted into sales-qualified leads is known as Lead Nurturing.
No matter how your agency or business gets leads, you can always contact those leads once and wait for their response. Lead nurturing is just a process, but it really works.
Marketo: Companies excelling at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads at a 33 percent lower cost.
Marketing Sherpa: 79 percent of marketing leads never converts to sales. The main reason behind the poor performance is the lack of lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is a process of dealing with qualified leads to make the conversion rate more apparent, but at the same time to make sure that you are gaining the business of customers when they’re ready.
CRM for Lead Generation
A CRM software is a very useful tool that simplifies the management aspect of business. If you have implemented the right CRM then you’ll definitely get improved results in sales, close more deals and increase real time decisions and predict accuracy. With a solution like Soffront CRM there is no magic formula to nurture customers and generate qualified leads. However there are chances to get into deeper customer data to improve sales initiatives.
6 Ways How CRM Nurture Lead Generation Process?
An efficient Customer Relationship Management system offers a number of functionality at an affordable price. A CRM impacts a business significantly. It helps in nurturing leads and building better long-standing relationships with customers even before interactions with the sales team happen.
- Find the right customers.
- Build more sustainable relationships.
- Reduce the cost of sales.
- Increase employee productivity.
- Offer better customer service.
- Improve customer retention.
Effective Marketing Campaigns
According to the latest CRM analysis of reports, businesses nowadays have realized the impact CRM software has on Marketing. Whether it’s about taking advantage of segmentation features to build shared groups of customer targets and enhance the messaging of campaigns, or profiting from the opportunity pipeline and campaign reporting. With CRM, you can fulfill your business objectives by providing yourself deeper fact based insight into your customers and prospects. CRM gives a detailed look at the opportunity pipeline which can be aligned with every opportunity to a specific marketing campaign.
Every CRM follows its own process of tracking and managing leads, and letting you see the status of the leads and where they’re in the process. Like sales, leads records can be tracked like the number of customers who were contacted in the past month or week, what was discussed, customer’s queries, and others. Specific reports can be generated and analyzed based on it.
“A 5% reduction in your customer defection rate can increase profits 25%–85%.”HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW
Companies can fulfill its goals with the help of CRM and improve the quality of leads as well. From both the sales and marketing departments, there should be a definite goal to enhance lead quality of more sales and revenue. You crm helps you to get quality leads and identify which actions are eventually translating into lead and then to a sale. Using those data, leads can be fast-tracked by the sales process to help you more economically and ensure you successfully reach your sales goals.
There are many more ways of improving the lead generation with a CRM. But the most important being CRM to be the the main pivotal point of lead generation, which not only helps in generating quality leads but, it enhances the sales process, ensure better conversion rates and helps close more deals.
CRM, website design, branding and development for Insurance Company RVOS.
The insurance industry has always been in great demand with fierce competition. For many insurance companies, differentiating themselves on the web becomes a great way to gain prospective customer’s attention. An insurance company website must be honest, convey well-structured insurance information, and have proper navigation.
Considering the listed design features of the insurance website, RVOS Farm Mutual Insurance Company contacted our design studio to make their customer portal stand out from the crowd and attract more target audience. In this article, we’d like to share the most important design practices we’ve experienced around insurance company website design.
Brief insurance company description
RVOS Farm Mutual Insurance Company provides protection to various clients from homeowners to farmers in the USA. Being a company with a solid history and reputation, RVOS always cares about improving client service. Our design studio in collaboration with RVOS representatives created the customer web portal.
Challenges in designing an insurance company website
For the RVOS policyholders, the customer service at an exceptional level is a very important standard, so the portal should fully meet their expectations.
There were 4 design challenges our team faced with:
- To include the features of the inclusive design to the RVOS platform for people with bad eyesight.
- To create a bright and clean dashboard for the customer web portal.
- The customer portal should be supported by all Internet browsers (including Internet Explorer) because many RVOS clients have been using their gadgets for more than 10 years.
- Web development has to match responsive design so that portal users can get the same quality experience when they browse online.
Both the designers in Cadabra Studio and our client were interested in developing a high-quality product. That’s why many changes and ideas were made during the PDP (Product Development Process).
Insurance company website design process
Great web design focuses on equal parts strategy and execution. To achieve maximum efficiency, we pay special attention to the workflow. 2 developers (front-end and back-end), 2 back-end developers from the client’s side, manual QA engineer and automation QA engineer, DevOps, and a design team worked on the customer portal. They make a high-quality customer-centered product that really solves the relevant problems that RVOS users have.
According to the client demand, we added to the customer portal quoting form for insurance products such as Home Insurance, Life Insurance, Farm Insurance. Moreover, we made information on the claims process and plugins available for submitting.
The clean dashboard was a must-have feature because RVOS users should be able to see their payments, insurance policies as well as overall statistics and don’t get confused.
Light colors and shadows along with appropriate typography met the client’s expectations. The primary version of the dashboard was the following.
For the first time, the sidebar menu was on the left side. However, after the first trial, the location changed.
As you can see in the picture above, we made some changes to the menu, added more necessary information about payments. To gain a better user experience, our designers created an agent account on the main menu, added the function “File new claim to each specific policy”. We also added the information about the claim number and policy number to a certain claim.
After testing, we made some changes in statistics as well as in buttons “Claims”. We also added more information about billing and payments.
Having conducted several tests, the vertical menu was transformed into a horizontal menu without icons that is good for responsive web design. The pie chart of the Remaining Balance in the Billing and Payment category were included in the dashboard.
Insurance company logo design and branding
The customer web portal is a new stage for RVOS. The right logo and branding increase the site’s visibility on search engines and social media, hold a visitor’s attention, entice them to know more about insurance products, and provide interactive ways to communicate. So, we suggested our clients make a trendy style of their brand.
The main goal of rebranding was to attract a younger target audience to an existing product. The existing RVOS brand is a combination of stylish conservatism and modern design. The process of rebranding was challenging and well-planned. The first thing we changed was the logo.
The insurance company logo design was made in a simple style, to keep the company’s spirit. The blue-colored bar was chosen for the logo. The logo shape perfectly matched the content, making the RVOS brand more recognizable.
For Instagram promotion, we chose trendy and relevant typographic, that would stand out from the endless content. For Facebook promotion, we created contrasting photos with bright colors.
Results and Data
Thus, the customer portal has been launched recently, the changes in site traffic are significant. We keep tracking various metrics and the results are impressive. The primary goal of the customer portal was to freshening up a solid insurance company, however, during the design process we changed even more, than planned before. The entire design and development process lasted for 1.5 years.
Must-have design features of an insurance company website: our expertise
The experience of developing and designing the RVOS customer portal is an achievement we are proud of. In addition to valuable experience, we’ve compiled the list of features for successful insurance company website design.
- Fully responsive and mobile-friendly;
- Clean layout with modern appeal;
- Simple and well-planned navigation;
- Quick loading time;
- Quick access to important information;
- Relevant CTA buttons;
- Quick access to online quotes.
Including the listed features to insurance company website design helps you to make an accurate representation of any insurance company.
When an insurance company invests in its website design, it is a straight way to succeed. With the upgraded customer portal and new branding, RVOS Insurance company attracts many new clients because their portal is a fast and easy-to-use, whereas the logo is recognizable. Cadabra Studio is glad to have a partnership with RVOS Insurance company, that trusted and worked with us for a long period of time.
Check out our blog to read more case studies and learn about our expertise.
Is yours a small business? If yes, then during the initial stages of business growth, the client contact book is an essential asset. You have to search for prospects and convert them to consumers.
Is yours a small business? If yes, then during the initial stages of business growth, the client contact book is an essential asset. You have to search for prospects and convert them to consumers. It is in addition to your current customers who provide you with ample business. Right at the start, a small business will have their prospect list, which they want to convert into loyal customers. The customer details are available in business cards, documents and spreadsheets. After this, there’s the contact management application. And it addresses all the necessary tasks, i.e. store the names as well as other personal details.
However, it is essential to have a systematic CRM platform that results in proper customer management. Other than getting connected with customers, it also allows small business organizations to carry out business with them. An organized CRM platform offers scalability and speed as your small business set-up expands and develops more work opportunities. It works akin to a map and compass for a small-scale business. You exactly know where the target customers are and the path you have to take for ensuring customer delight. You also get to know the obstacles that will come in your way to cater to customer requirements. Salesforce is one of the best CRM platforms for small businesses. To know more about this, you can check out Flosum.com.
Enables efficient selling
Can you think of having a detailed and clear view of each customer with just one click? Can you imagine viewing all the records of their earlier communications with your brand, the order status, pending invoice, transaction accounts and many more? You can witness precisely this and other benefits with the Salesforce CRM. Over the years, Salesforce CRM solution has helped both established and small-scale businesses as well.
Salesforce CRM has more to offer other than saving contact data. You can use it to qualify the leads and ensure that you channelize the efforts correctly. It will prompt you to take appropriate actions at the correct time. It means that you don’t fail on a business follow-up call or assessing the deal progress. You can’t convert every prospect into a customer. However, using this CRM tool, you will have a detailed insight into all your actions, which helps you to enhance your sales strategy. The tool collects and analyses the data that it stores, enabling you to improve and fine-tune your sales strategies at an ongoing basis.
Streamlined IT infrastructure
No small business owner wants to make limited profits! They want to expand and grow. For this, small business houses or organizations have to share their CRM information with their staff and colleagues, have access to the latest data, collaborate for sales strategies and many more. Businesses need to know about the latest data as they are working with their tablet devices and Smartphones.
To search for a software solution in-house, which will attain all these is a difficult task for established organizations. Hence, small-scale companies are bound to find it more challenging. It is here that the Salesforce CRM tool comes handy. It helps companies to create mobile apps for their customers and business as well. That way, you can leverage the “micro-moments” of the business productivity all through the day. When you develop the employee Smartphone apps that get targeted at particular tasks, the organizations globally witness good savings.
Customer service that’s aware of social media
When a small business is expanding at a fast pace, managing excellent customer service is challenging. Salesforce, with its cloud-based CRM solution, resolves this problem. It helps the company to have a compact and detailed view of the current and prospective customer’s activity on social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
When it comes to responding to these platforms directly, businesses can make use of the insights for predicting all the future patterns and trends. They can anticipate questions and arrive at solutions. The moment there’s an issue, they can use the cloud-based CRM tool to offer customer service through social media. It makes the user experience agreeable and smooth. Salesforce, with its Desk.com, helps small business owners to manage their customers better and expand their business as well.
Flexibility with business growth
No small business wants to keep on earning the same revenue! The company will make growth strategies and experience expansion, as well. When that happens, the CRM platform also needs to expand. As the company then will start to outgrow the “small business tools” and need advanced tools to address the new business requirements and client demands. Salesforce CRM gets built to scale as the business expands. It provides all the required features and apps that the small business needs as it starts to grow. Running on Cloud, it’s flexible and easy to use.
Small business owners can have access to this CRM tool anytime and from anywhere. The customer data also gets updated from time to time. It means that the company has access to the latest information at their fingertips. Also, there’s no need to fret about the cost of installing, updating and managing the solution. Salesforce comes with the Sales Cloud, which provides you with many ways to create a platform for your organization’s growth. The Salesforce AppExchange has several paid and free apps that you can integrate into your CRM system based on your budget and business requirement. Some of the apps carry out functions like signing a document, invoicing and incorporating with other famous applications like Outlook. There’s the Salesforce Platform which allows the small business owners to come up with their customized apps.
In conclusion, most small-scale business owners often think if the Salesforce CRM solution is the next best step they need to take. The truth could be yes for most of these business houses. 2020 onwards, the business domain will witness dynamic changes in the entire history of CRM. And that makes business owners to opt-in for advanced and affordable CRM solutions. From managing tasks to leads, CRM makes it easy for a company to expand and provide the best customer experience. And Salesforce, with its advanced features and apps, is paving the path for small business houses to accomplish their goals effectively.