Customer relationship management technology for B2B is squarely focused on helping these companies enhance their customer experience. By forging closer relationships with existing and potential customers, B2B companies can better understand customer needs and improve their sales funnel. Due to the complexity of the business-to-business customer relationship, companies must have as deep an understanding of their customers as possible.
And this is where CRM comes into play.
What you will learn in this article
- What is a B2B CRM system
- How it can help you and your business
- The difference between B2B and B2C CRM systems
- The benefits of CRM for your small business B2B company
- How to get started with CRM
What’s B2B CRM, then?
The term B2B CRM spans strategy, process, and technology. However, in practice, most people, when they use B2B CRM, mean the system itself. That said, it is more accurate to primarily think of B2B CRM as a strategy to understand and deliver your business customers’ needs at each phase of the sales cycle. The ‘system’ is what facilitates this.
The system makes you customer-centric by compiling data from every customer touchpoint. These touchpoints encompass:
- Phone calls
- Website visits
- Live chats
- And social media, etc.
CRM can also include buying history, quote, sales inquiries, and reported customer service issues. Typically, all the data is stored in a central database that is hosted online.
What B2B CRM can do for you
B2B CRM is the premier tool nowadays for assisting businesses to guide potential customers through the sales funnel.
It does this by letting you create a series of targeted content and messaging to generate leads, raise brand awareness, and make conversions. Using CRM, you can then follow up this sale with comprehensive customer care. This should, in turn, encourage repeat business and brand advocacy from satisfied customers.
As you are doubtlessly aware, the B2B ecosystem is much more complex than other types of business. B2B customers are, by nature, multifaceted and have complex needs. Each touchpoint involves multiple considerations. Often these requirements make it challenging to pinpoint what and where the customer needs attention.
Enter CRM. By collating all your customer data centrally, a CRM system enables your marketing and sales teams to track leads in unprecedented detail. Armed with this data, they can then make informed decisions on how and when to nudge customers to the next phase of the sales funnel. They can also speed up the sales process by automating routine, time-consuming tasks to give themselves more time to work directly with customers.
The role of B2B CRM, therefore, is at the very beginning of the sales process. Before the potential lead has even made direct contact with your sales team. This because the information gathering by the CRM enables it to flag up which leads should be prioritized for attention. Less promising leads can, at the same time, be prevented from slipping out of the pipeline, meaning fewer opportunities get lost.
B2B vs. B2C CRM: what’s the difference?
B2B and B2C inhabit different business environments, so naturally, the CRM systems offered reflect these differences. Here are some of the most significant differences.
- Number of leads – As B2B companies usually deal with lower volumes but higher value products, the pool of leads is lower than their B2C counterparts. However, a B2B company needs to spend more time on each lead and monitor them closely as soon as the lead is generated.
- System focus – The B2B system is designed for long sales cycles and long-term management of each lead.
- Sales funnel – As B2B deals are of higher value and involve many decision-makers, the sales funnel has more stages. Knowing where a lead is situated in the sales funnel has a significant influence on how you communicate. Therefore, it’s vital to maintain high visibility of each stage.
- Emphasis – Due to the larger volume of lead-specific data, B2B CRMs focus on helping sales staff manage their sales process as efficiently as possible. The data generated, such as buying history and performance stats, are used to monitor and forecast when a lead is ready to buy.
- Number of leads – Typically, a B2C company will be dealing with a massive number of leads. This, of course, presents challenges in handling the volume and scope of data and selecting the correct time to attempt conversion.
- System focus – The B2C system is designed for consistent sales levels over long periods.
- Sales funnel – The more straightforward sales funnel and higher number of consumers means it is either unnecessary or impossible to track each stage at the same granular level as a B2B CRM.
- Emphasis – The focus of the B2C CRM is on compiling data for specific target groups to analyze and create ‘big picture’ reports.
How to get started with CRM
Thinking about CRM and then taking the next step and doing something about it is easier than you think. However, before setting off to go B2B CRM shopping, you must consider a few things. Number 1 is, what are the problems you want to solve with CRM, and what do you want to achieve.
When you have figured these out, the next stage is deciding on an on-site or cloud-based CRM solution. Today, the most popular solution (unless you have deep pockets and an IT team) is a cloud CRM solution. These are affordable options for small companies and can be quickly upscaled to accommodate business growth.
B2B companies are well-known for having long sales cycles and complex relationships with their customers. It is against this background that B2B CRM comes into its own. While it may simplify relations to a greater or lesser extent, the real prize for B2B companies is the ability to keep track of every move. No more missed follow-ups or going over old ground with clients because you can’t remember what was discussed the time before.
B2B companies – even if they are relatively small businesses – stand to make significant gains with CRM. Contact us, the cloud CRM experts, today. We are well versed in the needs of both B2B companies and small businesses and look forward to helping you further.