There’s a lot to think about when you’re expanding your business across regions or operating across country borders. What are the tax, legal, currency and cultural differences? How will you overcome language differences? The list is long.
Hopefully - regional variations aside - there’s one thing that won’t be different. The way you service your customers. Being able to streamline business processes across different locations - achieving that holistic customer view - is something that modern customer management systems must deliver.
A company-wide approach to customer relationship management (CRM) should be the foundation with which an organisation can ensure all their processes and departments come together to benefit from that 360 view of the customer, no matter where & how the information is required around your operations.
The CRM software within this strategy is invaluable in assisting with getting a business up and running in a new region. Not only will it bring consistency to the way that you do business, it will also help by:
- Providing management with visibility into all locations to ensure business is performing in all territories
- Keeping track of organisation efficiency as well as providing a single source for viewing, analysing and distributing customer and business data across the operation
In a survey carried out of small and medium sized businesses [SMBs] that operate in more than one geographical region, 79% of those polled said that having a single CRM approach in all locations adds a competitive advantage. So, putting CRM in place as part of your foundational platform across multiple operating regions is critical. Further, when implementing this platform, most SMBs prefer a vendor and/or partner that has:
- an understanding of your business objectives and requirements and
- the experience along with complete insights into the local issues in the region you’re expanding into.
Both will be instrumental in ensuring that you derive the most valuable benefits out of your CRM implementation. Failure to adapt locally may risk alienating the customer base in the new market and business' need to look for companies who have local knowledge, industry experience and resources to deployment. For the Sage CRM product, sold around the world, we have over a 1000 partners to help with the "local colour" to best deploy local CRM initiatives and training.
You should also look for a CRM product that is customisable to map the processes & that is also scalable to your business’ changing needs. Particularly when a local, regional, operation needs to do something slightly differently or, perhaps more simply, include templates that speak in the the local language and/or reflect the local terms & conditions.
Returning to our primary benefit (that of bringing consistency to the way that you do business around the world), it's worth taking a moment to watch Joey Montambeault of Creaform, speaking about the leverage they gain from one platform supporting their worldwide operations. With 350 employees, Creaform was looking for a mobile, web-based CRM proposition that would modernize its sales pipeline and provide its employees with access to real-time sales information when on the road. In the video, Joey discusses how Sage CRM has helped to transform Creaform's sales processes as well as support its business growth across the world.