There’s been a blizzard of talk about how customer relationship management or CRM tools can help businesses in all industries to reach their customers, but some of the nuances of what these services can do are less a part of the general discussion. Sales managers and those at the helm of customer-facing enterprises are taking a closer look at the specific ways that technologies like voice-over-IP or private exchange phone systems, equipped with the vast visual CRM interfaces, offer opportunities to improve day-to-day operations. One way that these solutions can do this is by providing a separate data set and profile for each individual at a client business, or in other words, “matching a name to a face.”
B2B Back Channels and “Point People”
One of the common enduring principles in business-to-business communications is that those who reach out to another enterprise often deal with more than one person. As much as a company may try to provide a specific point person for each kind of department or task, incoming messages or requests often end up getting passed up the line, or through even more elaborate internal hierarchies. This is true whether the message is a sales message, where a dedicated sales agent is trying to work his or her way through to decision makers, or when a company has already signed on to do business with a third party. Generally speaking, it’s often unlikely that someone will just pick up the phone and get the exact person they were trying to reach on the first try, that is, without a prior knowledge of how an office works.
Industry-specific needs and common business models also affect how B2B communications work: for example, in a medical business, there are often specific people handling communications with IT providers and those offering medical billing services, electronic record integration, or other vendor services. In these kinds of situations, it’s extremely helpful for each person to understand who they’re dealing with at any given time, especially when an “outsider” may need to funnel messages through front desk staff or other frontline clerical workers, toward specific “non-public” offices that aren’t used to cold calls.
The Sales Process: How CRMs Helps With B2B Navigation
Visual CRM interfaces are particularly useful in sales because, as mentioned above, as salespeople “climb” toward their goals, they’ll need to keep the details straight on who they are talking to, and who they talked to in the past. A sales message may get generated at a reception desk, transferred to a department, escalated to supervisors, or shuffled off toward another departments such as an IT or maintenance service. Therefore, seasoned sellers are likely to agree that having detailed data on multiple individuals at a potential client operation can help them respond to each person’s input appropriately, rather than getting confused about who does what or how later contact should be made or re-established.
Ringio offers a variety of tools for the modern business. These include visual CRM tools that are often referred to as “caller i.d. 3.0” or “caller i.d. on steroid” because in addition to matching names and faces, they contain other information such as “VIP” data sets and contact histories. These are the kinds of things that experienced career professionals swear by when they talk about how technology can really improve what businesses do in the twenty-first century, and how big data is helping their companies to accomplish more, keep customers and dominate in their respective territories.
Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia and Business Finance Store, as well as Ringio’s blog, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.