According to recent statistics compiled by FinancesOnline, the top challenges of the professional services industry are increased competition, managing changing client expectations, and limited access to required skills. A whopping 79% of these professional services organizations use CRM to manage their operations; and there’s a reason for that. Unlike accounting, collaboration, project management, or BI solutions, CRMs are the whole package. They offer professional services teams the tools they need to automate processes, better manage resources, innovate customer experiences, and interpret analytics. In this post, we’ll lay out six reasons why professional services teams love CRM.

Improved Productivity

Businesses that are tracking data across multiple systems are in danger of creating data siloes. When employees have to dig through numerous solutions to find the data they need, it wastes valuable time that could be spent elsewhere. In addition, false interpretations of that data can result when teams in different departments try to build reports from partial data sets. Financial services professionals recognize the importance of collaborative data for productivity and accurate analytics. CRM brings these crucial data sets together to build a complete picture of customers and prospects. The alignment of the data between departments and the full scope of analytics it provides increases productivity across the board.  

Automated Processes

Client expectations are evolving, fast. Not only must professional services organizations understand these expectations, but they must also be able to deliver on the customer’s needs quickly. In fact, 50% of professional service providers rate “speed of delivery” as a top business pressure.

The automation capabilities of CRM not only speed up these customer experiences with instantaneous responses and proactive communication, but they also enable teams to automate redundant and time-consuming tasks. Every department can find uses for workflows. Sales can use workflows to track lead status and automate lead follow up. Marketing can use automation to trigger messages based on customer journeys, and services can automate the ticketing process for more seamless customer issue resolution.

Finding More Leads

Regardless of your industry, finding more leads is always a priority. The analytics, closed-loop reporting functions, artificial intelligence (AI) features, and integration capabilities of CRM make it a dynamo for lead generation. Artificial intelligence is making huge strides in the CRM world, as more providers are focusing their energy on this booming trend. AI is powering predictive lead scoring, account-specific recommendations for personalized sales and marketing, and analytics on customer sentiment. Smart CRMs are also cutting down on opportunity research for sales reps through built in intelligence features.

Take, for example, SugarCRM’s customer relationship intelligence tool, Hint. The feature uses minimal contact data (name and email) to scour social sites, news outlets, and other businesses sources to “fill in the blanks” on a prospect’s information.

Integration with social channels is also helping professional services organizations pinpoint buyer personas and consumer interests to uncover more cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Empowered Customer Service

Automation is only one of the features that boosts customer service capabilities for professional services teams. Access to real-time information keeps the entire CX team on the same page about a customer’s status and allows them to track and manage issue resolution more effectively. Historical data from notes, activities, service calls, and other customer interactions is quickly referenceable by any rep, so issues can be moved through the department without friction.

Chatbots, social feeds, and email tickets integrated with the CRM fortify the omnichannel pathways to the customer. They keep the customer service department tuned in to the channels where customers engage most, so they never miss a beat. In addition, CRMs easily enable self-service options with knowledgebases, self-service ticketing and ticket status updates, AI, and more.

Uniform Quoting

CRMs offer quote and proposal management features to standardize these processes within the organization and speed up the overall quoting process. The ability to create a quote directly from the CRM platform (Sometimes with just one click!) reduces manual data entry (and any errors that go along with it). Templates help sales teams conform to a uniform quoting formula to keep branding and consistent customer experience on lock. It’s also easy to integrate an eSignature solution with the CRM for seamless payment collection and tracking.

Retaining Client Knowledge

To provide a seamless customer experience, you must be aware of your customer's journey - Where are they right now? Where were they before? Is anything still missing? What do we know about them and how can we use that information to serve them better?

In the past, when an employee left the organization, they often took that kind of knowledge with them. Professional services organizations recognize the value of customer retention and satisfaction and how it relates to client knowledge. By documenting transactions, emails, calls, notes, tickets, social interactions, and other customer touchpoints, businesses can maintain those relationships. CRM enables the gathering and archiving of these data sets so no matter who is serving the customer, they are able to pick up right where their predecessor left off.

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