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Tag: recession

CRM solutions for a recession

InsideCRM posted a good article on the top 5 reasons why a CRM system increases in importance during a recession (the US is in one, it is only a matter of time before Australia and others admit they are in one too).

Stressed about sales?

Stressed about sales?

For me, the key is working smarter not harder. When unemployment starts creeping up people start getting stressed about their jobs and start burning the midnight oil. Here is how a CRM helps you achieve more without burning yourself out:

  1. You can slice and dice your customer data to target the customer segments that aren’t suffering so much or have fallen through the cracks in the past.
  2. Customer retention is easier as you can track and schedule catch up emails, meetings or calls.
  3. Customer wide cross-sell strategies can be more easily implemented and coordinated.

Many companies have implemented a CRM system because it is easy to demonstrate reduced data entry, documenting customer complaints or managing product inventory. During a recession, companies should be looking at the analytical and other tools that have gathered dust within your CRM during the good years.

So what are some facts that can motivate you? Improving customer retention by 5% can boost profitability by 25% to 95%. Sales force automation and a consistent sales process has been shown to increase sales per representative by 30% over a three year period. Still not enough reasons?

Well what are the top 3 reasons why now is a great time to go through a CRM implementation?

  1. CRM retailers are hurting like everyone else, prices are better than ever.
  2. Excess capacity within the business can be used to scope, build and train on a new system.
  3. Business model change is slowing as new entrants fail to gain VC or other funding. This gives you some breathing space to document your current business model and tighten the screws.

Making money from SaaS

Internet Cash Machine

Internet Cash Machine

The core promise of SaaS is that it will help you deliver services more efficiently. Instead of trying to manage software projects (which can easily get expensive and out of control) a company can outsource non-core development and deploy an SaaS solution almost instantly. In the current economic downturn many people have been watching SaaS vendors closely to see whether they struggle or thrive. On paper they are cheaper and allow businesses to focus on their core strengths, but would companies shun the risk and element of change in uncertain times?

There have been a few earnings announcements over the last couple of months that are proving the SaaS backers right. Salesforce is the biggest ‘flag bearer’ for SaaS solutions, and it has exceeded analyst expectations and posted a 43% revenue increase from the same quarter last year. The good news doesn’t end there however. Concur, Taleo, RightNow and many other SaaS providers are also posting record quarters.

Recession Spending

An article by Andrew McAfee triggered my interest today, what will happen to technology in a recession? Or more specifically, what technology actually excels in a recession? Some IT leaders have commented in the NY Times, but I would like to focus more specifically on software technology.

The most obvious answer is that the cheapest software wins. Deploying SAAS and other Web 2.0 models are not just about delivering new functionality; they are about driving down costs through low delivery costs and economies of scale. With employment at near record lows (and salaries at record highs, especially in IT) no-one wants to take on more staff.

I think that the silver lining to a recession is that the weak get weaker and the strong get stronger. A renewed focus on what works and how to efficiently deliver value is a good thing for any company. With SAAS systems now gathering widespread acceptance a recession will, in my opinion, accelerate the growth of these systems. The current financial crisis has also highlighted how interconnected the world is, and SAAS systems delivered from data centres thousands of kilometres away will again gain more acceptance.

Unlike the article I don’t think it is necessarily a case of socially driven applications gaining traction, I also think CRM and ERP systems will see an increase in popularity. Customers are no longer so easily separated from their cash, and every inefficiency in the supply line is being watched like a hawk. Adopting best practice from a new technology package is a great way to address these issues.

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