With its full suite of applications that span the business processes of multiple departments, many organizations recognize the value that NetSuite brings to financial, professional services and operational teams. And frequently, these organizations also exploit the additional value of having a customer relationship management (CRM) system built on the same platform.
These customers benefit from the flexibility that NetSuite CRM provides, with capabilities that support customer self-service, closer collaboration among dispersed teams and better customer segmentation through lead scoring mechanisms, improving productivity.
Many businesses benefitted from NetSuite CRM(opens in new tab) when the pandemic struck and employees began working from home.
For Depatie Fluid Power Co., an industrial design and distribution business in Kalamazoo, Mich., the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to rethink how it interacts with customers.
“We’re B2B, so expecting the customer to go in and sign something was an issue for us,” said Ryan Thomas, group manager. “That customer separation made us create a way to communicate with them and share it with our organization.”
Depatie created a mobile app for its customers that allowed them to access NetSuite CRM records and see things like inventory availability and case status. That has also created more opportunities for customer self-service.
“We would have had [a paid rep] doing that, whether answering calls or taking orders. Now customers are doing it themselves,” Thomas said. “We leveraged the core CRM and built it out in a way that made sense for our business.”
Businesses now routinely turn to social media to connect with customers, and including social media data in CRM systems has become a vital aspect of understanding and acting on customer behavior and desires. NetSuite customers are adding that social media data into the customer record.
“Social media has been a big adjustment for us. Our business is a lot of farmers so they like their paper stuff,” said Shana Rowlette, CFO of Mann Lake Bee and Agricultural Supply in Hackensack, Minn.
Mann Lakes uses customized links on Facebook and other channels to track where customers are coming to the website from.
“That allows us to better market to our customers,” Rowlette said. “If they’re somebody new, I don’t want to send them an advanced beekeeping catalog.”
On Deck Sports, a Braintree, Mass.-based distributor of baseball and softball equipment has seen a “huge investment in social media and huge growth in our follower base,” said Jeffrey Bernstein, marketing operations manager. “Our cost per lead has been driven down quite a bit in the last two years and little else has changed in the business.”
Mann Lake saw social media as an effective way to reach people overwhelmed with email marketing.
“Our marketing team found, with the pandemic, everyone’s inbox is full of email—marketing emails and coupon codes,” Mann Lake’s Rowlette said. “It’s possible for marketing to create a really nice campaign, but that individual probably got 50 of those that day. Social media became a strong alternative.”
Many NetSuite CRM customers are undertaking projects to score leads and segment the customer prospect base within the CRM system to improve customer retention(opens in new tab).
“We use that for a whole lot of different things. It triggers drip campaigns with details on how to install our products and customer testimonials,” On Deck’s Bernstein said. “Our outbound program has seen tremendous growth. In the last four to five years, we went from retaining 20% of customers in one segment to 78% right now. Having our sales reps build those relationships has been transformative.”
Mann Lake uses NetSuite to segment its commercial beekeepers from backyard hobbyists.
“Our sales staff knows right away if they get a commercial beekeeper spending thousands of dollars with us,” Rowlette said. “Our sales staff can see who the customer is and route them to the right person so the customer doesn’t get frustrated.” And that’s especially helpful where the company may have less experienced sales staff that may not understand the nuances and needs of these customer segments.
The success of any CRM project(opens in new tab), whether it’s part of a unified suite or a standalone system, depends on getting sales staff to actually use the software. Businesses should address this factor early on.
Depatie has taken a different approach to commissions to encourage CRM adoption. Any opportunity that goes through the CRM system and is closed by a commissioned sales rep gets extra margin on commissions.
“We know that’s new business and we’ve qualified it and they’ve turned it into revenue,” Thomas said. “Instead of traditional transactions and driving commissions off of quotes, we’ve leveraged that to get our teams engaged with the CRM.
These NetSuite CRM users are, naturally, at different levels of maturity with how they’re using NetSuite CRM, but they all agree on the value it provides. Many of them examined other solutions, like Salesforce.com, and eventually elect to use NetSuite’s CRM tool instead. Depatie even launched Salesforce.com and went back to NetSuite.
“We needed the execution piece more than we needed CRM,” Thomas said. “Our sales team asked for Salesforce. We said, ‘do you really want another system? Did those features outweigh the fact that you’re going to have two systems?’ It felt like [implementing NetSuite CRM] was a nice gradual step forward. NetSuite allows us to take greater control over the customer relationship.”
As a smaller organization, Mann Lake took it slow when it started with NetSuite.
“We weren’t coming from a prior system. We didn’t want to go overboard from day one,” Mann Lake’s Rowlette said. “We worked closely with sales managers and departments to understand the key information we’re looking for. We made sure the sales team understands why we’re adding that stuff and what the benefits are to them or the company.”
For more, watch the webinar on 5 Proven Ways to Build Lifelong Customer Relationships with NetSuite CRM(opens in new tab).