5 Hot CRM Projects For High Tech


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5 Hot CRM Projects For High Tech

Cloud software, smartphones, tablets, a nonstop flow of great paid apps and new gadgets galore: It’s a great time to be a high-tech business.

But as the high-tech sector seeks to maximize sales productivity, revenues and customer satisfaction levels, it needs to continue finding new ways to increase its efficiency. To do so, the industry has long practiced what it preaches, by being an enthusiastic user — and early adopter — of the latest CRM tools.

In the old days, of course, CRM projects largely focused on sales force automation (SFA) and on-premise software. Today, however, workforces have gone mobile, CRM has moved to the cloud and most high-tech firms have long since followed.

What comes next? Look to these five must-have CRM projects for high-tech players:

1. Tap CPQ To Avoid Order-Entry Errors

Without a doubt, many of our high-tech customers are most keen to automate configure, price and quote (CPQ) processes. One of the biggest benefits of doing so is the ability to avoid order-entry errors, since incorrect orders can rob a company of all of its profits — if not put it into the red — for any given deal, to say nothing of undercutting customer satisfaction. By using software such as the cloud-based Apttus platform, which we often recommend, high-tech businesses can eliminate the manual, error-prone processes associated with generating or adjusting quotes and avoid incorrectly configuring or fulfilling orders.

2. Speed Sales With Automation

CPQ is part of a continuing push by high-tech firms to remove as much friction from their customer-facing practices as possible through automation. Already, many have started integrating aspects of their SFA and order-entry systems, tapped product configuration tools and used CRM to help manage territories and leads. Automation is especially critical for territory management, because, unlike the average non-high-tech business, which will reorganize its sales territories annually, rapidly growing tech firms may revise their territories on a quarterly basis.

3. Crowdsource Service With Communities

The technology industry was an early adopter of customer communities and knowledgebase products, and that’s evolved into building today’s cutting-edge crowdsourced self-service communities. One of the biggest pioneers of that trend is Apple, who has mixed user-powered self-service forums with gamification. Notably, Apple rewards problem-solvers with points while taking a relatively hands-off approach to moderating forums. In return, the company sees continuing CRM payoffs thanks to an army of customers who provide free support for other customers, all of which polishes its brand, generates valuable intelligence on product errors and points the way to essential new features and future product demand.

4. Keep Customers With Rapid Case Resolution

High-tech companies need to excel at support in three ways: first, servicing trouble tickets quickly and accurately; second, providing customers with the level of entitlement for which they’ve contracted, per their SLA; and third, capturing all required knowledge — from agents, customers and self-service forums — to help avoid repeat problems in the future. Businesses that do this well will satisfy and keep their customers. But they’ll also have the opportunity to turn their contact centers into profit centers by cross-selling and up-selling customers and by using their field forces to gather intelligence on customers’ purchases, then mining this data to help sales teams pitch replacements for competitors’ products.

5. Drive Cloud Success With Renewal Management

Many Cloud Sherpas customers in the high-tech industry have shifted to being SaaS-oriented product vendors themselves — and their success rests in no small part on securing contract renewals. Accordingly, many have been beefing up their service-team capabilities, not least to keep better tabs on customers’ service history and satisfaction levels. Tracking the service history helps salespeople monitor crucial accounts. In addition, the CRM system can be programmed with rules to ensure that salespeople reach out to talk about renewals not just earlier in the renewals cycle, but also at the most appropriate time — for example, only after any open trouble tickets have been successfully resolved.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Robert Scoble.

Adam Honig

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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