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Why understanding your client organisation is so important

The total value of the UK consulting sector is a pretty hefty £8-10 billion, making it one of the largest markets in professional services. But it’s a highly complex business. Let’s say you’re a middle tier consultancy and you win a mandate for a change project for the UK’s largest (recently privatised) mail organisation, you are still only a tiny cog in a very large wheel. You might have won a piece of business with that organisation but that would account for only a tiny amount of their overall consultancy spend.

That postal organisation is divided into multiple business areas, divisions, horizontal business functions and when you factor in the personnel movement within that structure – people moving department, leaving the organisation, new people coming on board. Keeping on top of all that is beyond the capability of many businesses. And this is why being able to map a client’s organisational environment is key to (a) retaining their business and (b) hopefully growing that business. This is how CRM can help:

  • Untangling the web: trying to understand the structure of many global organisations is head ache inducing. Large public sector organisations spread over multiple divisions and sites, global corporates with various business areas across different jurisdictions – all are highly complex networks. You might also have multiple contacts within one client. If you are able to successfully map that client organisation, cross selling will be much more effective. CRM will do that for you.
  • Knowledge is power: it’s really important to know and track the services that a client is purchasing from you and the services they could be purchasing from you. This might seem obvious, but when you have a team deployed on site working on a HR system implementation for example, your people on the ground will probably have no idea that the same client is looking for help with a financial systems implementation. Tracking this information and knowing the client across all their business areas helps you stay a step ahead and ensures your new business effort is more effective. CRM tracks this for you.
  • Managing risk: in the current climate, client retention is probably more important than it’s ever been. Keeping clients close, listening out for any gripes and solving them before they become a problem is key. CRM helps you to track and map the detail of these client relationships, flag any concerns, so they aren’t just lost at the bottom of a phone call. If a client is hacked off, ensure everyone knows about it – if the marketing team doesn’t, they might end up sending campaign emails to “at risk” clients. Guaranteed to rile.
  • Intel: if you don’t know that a big solution replacement project is coming up, how can you be in with a shot of getting in on the tendering process? CRM helps you spot and track upselling and cross selling opportunities. The marketing team can act on this and send relevant campaign emails in the run up to the tender, so the client is fully aware of your capabilities and services. Marketing can also track which clients have been on which sections of the website, telling you what services they are interested in. All of this can feed into the cross selling process.

Selling services is no piece of cake. Much of it is relationship based and down to who you know. But what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is why understanding your own clients and making the complex more simple is so important. CRM can help you to do that much more effectively.

To read more about how CRM can help your firm with its business development, please read our white paper. CRM for the Services Industry – Becoming “New-Biz” Smart.