The internet has transformed the way that companies do business and the way that customers behave throughout the buying cycle. In fact, it could be said that the traditional sales process has been turned on its head and never has the customer had more power than they do now.

1. The power to share their views far and wide

asset-1.pngThe rise of social media has been phenomenal and although it offers marketing departments a wealth of opportunities to interact with customers and prospects in new and exciting ways, it also give those customers a platform to voice opinions in ways they couldn’t before. It’s a sad fact that they won’t always be nice opinions; it’s long been known that customers who have bad experiences tell more people than the customers who have good ones.

2. The power to discover

asset-2.pngBefore the advent of the internet, anyone wanting to buy your products or services had to talk to someone in your company to find out more. Now they can just search online and, as well as finding out what they need to know about the specifics of  the product, they can uncover any negative comments people have made about it, or indeed if you’ve had the misfortune to get slated online.

3. The power to speak up around the clock

asset-3.pngYour email, phone number, address, Facebook profile, LinkedIn account and Twitter page mean you can be reached easily at any time of the day or night. Customers no longer have to wait for you to open to ask a question or make a complaint and they expect a fast response.

4. The power to compare

asset-4.pngIt’s not just your information that’s out there for potential customers to find. Your prospects can just as easily find out everything about your competitors, including reviews, prices and features. So you need to manage your online presence to make sure it looks good in such a scenario.

5. The power to buy from anywhere, anytime

asset-5.pngNever has it been so easy for customers to pick and choose who they do business with. No matter what product or service you are selling there is someone, somewhere selling it cheaper than you. With many B2B products and services, its not just the price that matters but nor is location so important anymore either. However, reputation is.

So, although it would seem that the ball really is in the customer’s court, smart businesses can use the power of their CRM to turn the advantage in their favour. Integrating your business processes so everyone in your company can access information on prospects and customers means you can be flexible enough to meet all of the challenges and opportunities the internet age brings.

The right CRM system can help you track which leads responded to your tweets or blogs, or even find out who came into your database via your company’s entry on a comparison website. Not all CRM systems are made equal though, so make sure that the one you choose really can join up your business to enable you to work smarter and keep customers happier.

To find out how streamlining your business processes with the right CRM system can enable your team to make the most of this new age of customer empowerment, download our eGuide: