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Introduction to Customer Relationship Management – Part 2

If a Lead shows considerable amount of interest in the product and could become a prospective customer, then an Opportunity is generated with the Prospect information. Once an Opportunity is created, the objective of the Sales Representative responsible for the Opportunity would be to convert this Prospect to an actual customer. A systematic way of doing this would be by using the Sales Methodology. Sales Methodology provides certain tools for approaching an Opportunity. Some of the tools are Buying Centre and Sales Assistant. Buying Centre provides a picture of the key people in the Prospect’s organization – the decision makers, the people who can influence the decision makers, the amount of such influence etc. Sales Assistant suggests the activities which have to be performed to win the opportunity and these suggested activities depend on the phase or stage in which the Opportunity is currently in. Once an Opportunity is won, then a Sales Quote can be created. Sales Quote gives an indication of the total price the customer would have to pay for buying the product. The quote would take care of discounts and other pricing related items. The customer can either accept or reject the quote and if the customer rejects the quote, a new one can be sent to the customer after making adequate changes as per the reason for rejection of the initial quote. If the customer accepts the quote, then either a Sales Order or a Sales Contract can be created. A sales contract is usually created if the purchase is for huge quantities and the delivery spans a period of time. Individual sales orders can be generated from such a sales contract. For a one-time purchase, a sales order can be created directly without a contract.

Once the sale is done, it is important to take care of the product because such a service would keep the customer happy and the chances of selling more to the same customer increases. The service can be done as per the terms mentioned in the Service Contract. A service scenario can be initiated in two ways – the customer has an issue with the product and reports the issue to the company which sold the product or the company which sold the product can do regular service as per the terms in the service contract. If the customer reports an issue with the product, a Service Request would be created. If the issue is already reported by the same or different customer and if a solution is known, then it will be provided to the customer. Else a Service Order will be created. The Service Order has information about the customer, the product and the possible repair and spare parts needed to perform the repair. This is assigned to a Service Representative. The service representative can go to the customer’s location and perform the repair. Once the repair is done, a Service Confirmation is created where the Service Representative can record the actual effort and the spare parts used. The amount to be paid by the customer will be derived from the Service Confirmation and the terms agreed in the Service Contract.

All the information collected in the Marketing, Sales and Service scenario can be analyzed and reports can be generated by using the analytical tools provided by CRM. This information can be used to get an idea about the past performance and also plan future activities based on this.

A Customer Relationship Management solution can be used differently by different industries and also by companies within the same industry. What has been explained is the very basic CRM cycle and the actual implementation would vary from company to company.

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