The title of this article seems an obvious statement. But interestingly, most CRM applications don’t quite do it the way it should be done—without having to move out of the CRM interface. Ideally you should be able to engage your contacts across any channel from right within CRM. Email just happens to be the most common engagement tool, still chief among them all. Hence you should never have to leave CRM to discover if you’ve received email in your Google mail, Outlook, or other inbox, and you should be able to read, reply and store right from CRM as well. You also need to be able to view that email in an instant context with the rest of the information about that account.
Unfortunately some companies still operate a CRM application that has no email interface whatsoever. CRM is over here, and email is over there. A member of the sales force must independently check each email box, and hopefully remember to make some kind of note in CRM of important tasks that result from emails. With a high amount of email traffic for a busy sales rep trying to get the most work done, it can happen that important emails don’t get read, or that “mental note” made gets dropped between the cracks once the sales rep has exited the email.
Another point of complexity occurs when relating important tasks that come in through email to the sales process step to which they apply. That can of course only happen if the CRM tool is logically arranged to mirror a company’s sales process. If not, the salesperson must not only keep a reminder of the necessary task discovered in email, but must also find a way to place it—and a record of it—at the right stage of the sales pipeline. If the sales process is only reflected within a rep’s own spreadsheet or in his or her mind, that task or a record of it is likely to be lost to company sales memory and perhaps even the rep.
And what of important documents attached to emails? If email and CRM are separate, the salesperson must go through the trouble of copying-and-pasting the document into the right place in CRM. That is, of course, assuming that documents can be saved into the CRM application.
A number of CRM applications have developed compatibility with leading email applications, such as Outlook. They make it possible to view all CRM contacts—and interact with them—from within the email application.
That’s totally fine if you’re doing all of your business from within that email application. But if a CRM application is truly useful—as it well should be—a rep is going to need to see an email message in context with the rest of the data about the account. That cannot be done from within the email interface.
Lastly, the salesperson cannot place information, reminders, notes regarding tasks or documents into the CRM application without separately viewing the main CRM interface.
Leading Edge CRM Application
A leading-edge CRM solution provides the facility to sync with all of your email services, so that email from contacts can be seen and acted on right in CRM. You can instantly view the context within which an email message applies—without having to open any other application or interface. This enables for the whole new level of sales pipeline management. Contacts can be synced between email contacts and CRM, so that they can always be tracked. Important documents can be easily moved from email messages to the place in CRM application to which they apply, and in which they need to be found for anyone involved in that particular sales cycle.
This truly means the end of losing track of important tasks and information; it’s all instantly accessible and visible, as is the rest of the sales pipeline.
It is the beginning of the age of instant context.
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