By Carmelisa Dunne, Corporate Business Development Manager at Sage
There is no question that the global downturn has presented businesses with the toughest economic conditions for several generations. However, innovative businesses which are quick to react, adapt and find creative ways to accelerate out of the downturn, will not only survive the crisis, but will thrive in the long-run. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the global recession to subside, companies should look ‘inwards’ and set in place the correct tools and procedures for the business to take advantage of the upturn when it comes.
At Sage we are now seeing our customers using the Sage 200 integrated with Sage CRM to seamlessly co-ordinate their whole business: from customer-facing systems, such as sales and service, through back-office processes, including accounting and project management; to activities such as retail/wholesale, construction and manufacturing. As processes flow into one another, staff collaborate more closely, and managers have an instant, accurate view of the whole company. Importantly, integrating back-office functions with customer-facing systems means that they have one view of their business so all aspects of their organisation can focus on delivering the service that helps retain customer loyalty.
One example is the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The chamber upgraded from Sage 50 to Sage 200 and integrated Sage CRM. In an economic climate where member organisations struggle to recruit, the Dublin Chamber has done well to hold its numbers, a feat achieved by concentrating on membership retention. Sage CRM has played a significant role in this and helped achieve a two per cent improvement in the first year. The strategy is to engage with members before they receive a renewal invoice, a process made easier by an inactivity report module that was built into Sage CRM. For the first time the Chamber has access to information on members who are no longer taking advantage of its services.
“By giving us a snapshot of inactive companies it’s definitely helping with retention,” said Michelle Berry, Financial Manager at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
The Sage 200 Suite enables businesses to easily segment customers and prospects to ensure that tight marketing budgets are not squandered on those who are unlikely to buy. List segmentation and group management tools enable businesses to execute highly targeted campaigns on customer segments and sectors showing signs of recovery, thereby increasing response rates and ultimately revenue.
Marketing executives can develop a deeper understanding of customer needs, enabling businesses to create tailored propositions to their customers and take advantage of spending as and when it increases in the post-recession period.
A business can grow and profit during a recession if it understands the underlying dynamics of the marketplace. Crises tend to stimulate change in people. During a recession, buying behaviour shifts, changes and refocuses more than it declines. The challenge is for businesses to respond to these changes in a timely and direct fashion. A business that really knows what its customers need and understands their behaviour will be able to serve their customers better as well as manage their own business more effectively, now and as we enter the post-recession period.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Sage 200 and Sage CRM has helped other organisations, more case studies are available on the Sage Flow Better website.