Baufritz introduced a CRM system 20 years ago. However, the program developed in-house did not keep up with the progress in customer relationship management: nothing went mobile, there were no automatisms and there was no connection to the operational ERP system. That is why the ecological house builder switched to a common system at the beginning of the year. “The path is challenging,” says sales manager Nadja Wriedt, because 90 users have to say goodbye to old habits. But first successes are emerging: Some colleagues already find it “cool” that they can work with the tablet anytime and anywhere and have all information and customer details ready.
The traditional company based in Erkheim / Allgäu is taking an important step forward strategically. Because 80 percent are unique customers when building a house, it is crucial to quickly establish a first contact. With 15,000 catalog inquiries annually, the 25 sales representatives across Germany do not always have the ability to react within 24 hours. Therefore, after the catalog has been sent out, prospective customers now automatically receive a personalized email with the contact details of their regional contact via the CRM system. “We gained valuable time for the first telephone contact,” says the 42-year-old business graduate. In addition, very interested customers sometimes report back themselves.
Baufritz’s decision corresponds to the general development according to the “CRM Study 2020”. Systems developed in-house account for 17 percent of the more than 800 companies surveyed. But the market share is waning compared to the above-mentioned providers such as SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce or CAS. One reason for this is that almost two thirds of users are critical of their own developments.
The four major providers do not always meet customer expectations, too, according to the study, but the bottom line is that there are more supporters than critics. Rainer Schramm explains that behind the in-house developments there are almost always lone fighters or very small development teams that have been unable to keep up with the CRM development of recent years. In addition, post-programming is disproportionately more expensive, according to the chief consultant at itDesign, who, in addition to Maiborn Wolff, Muuuh! Consulting and the Sievers Group initiated the study.
The CRM expert justifies that customers are still dissatisfied after switching to conventional systems with, among other things, excessive expectations: “Every company would like to know who buys something new when and where”. Artificial intelligence is not yet there. In addition, Amazon, which is often used as a benchmark, would maintain its data with extreme care and generate strong growth from it. The study participants are still lagging behind: only two thirds have fully documented their contacts, contact details and services. Just two fifths document contact history and sales opportunities. And not even a third know anything about the satisfaction of their customers or their wishes. “The basis for an oiled sales process is often missing,” comments Schramm.
According to the study, it can also be a hindrance to success that the decision for a CRM system is made by only one department and without consultation. It is better: The introduction is decided by the top management and that for all departments that have an indirect relationship with customers. Because CRM is above all a corporate strategy rather than a technology. The managing directors are particularly concerned with increasing communication between sales, marketing and service (36 percent), developing uniform management of customer contact points (29 percent) or better exploiting customer potential (26 percent). Tasks that require common thinking and action.
In order to fully utilize the potential of the CRM implementation and receive additional impulses, it can be a decisive factor if the project is accompanied by an experienced consulting company. The study also confirms this: three quarters of the companies surveyed are accompanied and benefit from the knowledge of integrating the appropriate software into the IT landscape and the existing processes.
With this claim, Yamaichi Electronics introduced its CRM system in 2003. Around 80 employees from sales, marketing, purchasing, product and quality management use the software. In line with the communicative corporate culture of the Munich-based specialist for electronic connectors and cable assemblies, these colleagues can view all customer data, ongoing projects and sales, explains Marketing Manager Constanze Knoesel. In addition, an assessment of sales opportunities can even create a certain forecast for the coming months.
The marketing employees use the customer data, for example, to set targeted filters for mailings. The experience is that the more pointed the target group, the more clicks through the mailing. If the company has a stand at a regional trade fair, only the customers in the immediate vicinity are informed or invited. If there are new products for a very special market such as data networking, only this group of customers will be contacted and not the whole customer with “useless information”. According to sales, the response is positive because there are more customer contacts through these targeted mailings.
When there were trade fairs outside the Internet before Corona, such as SPS or Electronica, Yamaichi also used the CRM system to better record customer contacts. “We initially recorded the leads at the trade fair using a handwritten trade fair report sheet,” says Constanze Knoesel, because the employees keep in better contact with the people they talk to when they write on a piece of paper rather than on a laptop.
After the trade fair, the report is entered into the system as a PDF and as a customer contact. Trainees can do this within a quarter of an hour. The A, B, C categorization by the trade fair team is important. After all, the in-house or field service has to follow up with customers quickly. The sales manager also has a quick overview of whether h
is team has completed the tasks. “This tool has proven itself in the collaboration between marketing and sales,” says the Munich native.
Nadja Wriedt is happy that Baufritz switched before the corona pandemic: “Without mobile access, flexible and structured work would hardly have been possible”. Thanks to the new CRM system, your employees can access customer data from their home office and continue working independently. (hk / fm)