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Every major crisis poses both challenges and opportunities for businesses. Some are able to evolve and adapt to the new reality while others give up and fade away into obscurity, not having found a way to reinvent themselves. Given the ongoing lockdown and its predicted aftermath, the biggest challenge now is whether companies will be able to change their business model and switch to remote sales.
In this article, we are going to talk about the current trends and challenges of the consumer market while also focusing on the transition from physical sales to remote sales using Bitrix24 CRM.
If you’d like to know more about growing your sales with Bitrix24, you can create a free account
today and get access to a multitude of online business tools, including CRM, website builder, and sales center.
COVID-19: A Sea-Change for the Economy
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic downturn have drastically changed the way we go about pretty much anything - from personal interactions to customer relations. From the way things are going now, there is no return to the old paradigm - at least, in the foreseeable future.
The Great Lockdown has pushed all of us to rely on the Internet more for our basic, daily needs - now, we have to use it almost exclusively for the things that we could previously do offline:
The most interesting thing about this sudden “switch” is that it has gone surprisingly well for many. People have discovered that they could actually work, study, and shop from home with little to no compromises to the overall experience - all thanks to modern technologies. Now, it’s time for businesses to take advantage of the situation as well.
Customers Are Ready to Buy Online. How About Businesses?
Amidst the overall chaos and panic generated by the media, it wouldn't be hard to assume that the world economy has collapsed and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. However, a closer look at the actual numbers and a deeper study of the statistics might give a different perspective.
It turns out that the crisis did not hit all businesses equally hard and some of them are actually doing fine, especially the ones engaged in e-commerce and remote sales.
As you can see from this chart courtesy of CNBC
, the consumer demand is not entirely gone - it just took a different shape and form. People are ready to buy online and businesses that provide them with an opportunity to do that, seem to have found a winning strategy.
Here are a few more points supporting this claim:
Videoconferencing has become commonly widespread and is not dismissed anymore as some gimmick. Now, it’s a full-fledged communication tool that’s good enough for school lessons, business meetings, and friendly chats.
Mobile phones are not just for social networking and taking pictures. If you look hard enough, there’s an app for just about everything.
Most areas of the world now have a reliable, high-speed internet connection. Combined with global delivery services, this means we can sell anything online and ship it to wherever the customer wants while keeping the costs at an acceptable level.
File sharing and electronic signatures have made document management easier than ever. You can even sign contracts online without having to meet your client in person.
This massive shift towards remote sales is just the beginning. As advanced as it is now, e-commerce technology is inevitably going to evolve and provide us with even more possibilities for remote sales.
Interestingly enough, we have been advocating the “remote sales” approach since day one. Our online collaboration service Bitrix24 came out back in 2012 already containing an advanced CRM and a bunch of other remote sales tools. Even though Bitrix24 was successful before the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent increased demand has prompted us to give a detailed explanation of how to use our CRM for remote sales.
Why Do You Need Bitrix24 CRM for Remote Sales?
First of all, it’s the recession that has already started in many regions of the world. Even the most optimistic experts estimate that the global economy will shrink by at least 3% (IMF
), which will inevitably lead to fewer customers and a tighter competition on the market. As with any evolution, only the fittest business will survive.
Being “fit” in business means spending less money to make more money. You will have to rethink the way you run your sales now in order to cut the costs and maximize your efficiency on every stage - whether it’s lead generation, lead conversion, or generating repeat sales.
Since a large part of the previously “offline” economy suddenly had to go online due to the lockdown restrictions, the Internet shall become the new battleground where companies will fight for their customers selling their stuff remotely.
When selling remotely, you obviously cannot rely on physical communication or presentation. Therefore, the importance of customers coming from online channels like your website, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram increases greatly.
Not only does a Bitrix24 CRM allow you to store information about your clients and organize it the way you like, but it also helps you understand your sales pipeline better and find ways to optimize it.
Unlike some other CRM offerings on the market, Bitrix24 CRM is not a standalone product that’s just there by itself - it is tightly integrated with the other business tools available in the Bitrix ecosystem, including the ones that help you grow online sales - like Website Builder or Sales Intelligence.
In addition to that, our CRM will help you automate and digitalize the processes that are currently done manually, which is quite convenient by itself and also gives you plenty of opportunities to increase your remote sales - more on that below.
5 Rules For Successful Remote Sales With Bitrix24 CRM
These rules highlight the best use cases for our CRM and show exactly how it can make your sales process more streamlined and efficient.
Rule #1. Add Leads to Your CRM and Qualify Them Automatically
When we talk remote sales, a lead is anyone who has ever shown any interest in your product/service and you have a way of contacting them. It could be a person who:
- Called you
Connected to you via messengers or social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
Filled out a form on your website
Used a live chat on your website
Signed up for your newsletter or webinar
Interacted with you in a way that you can reach them back
Also, those people who used to be your customers but stopped buying for whatever reason and whose contact details you still have can also be considered your leads. In Bitrix24 CRM, these leads are grouped by their respective sources and laid out nicely in the Contact Center.
The beauty of this system is that anyone who has ever matched your custom-set criteria will be automatically added to the CRM as a lead and appear under the proper category. No manual tweaking required - once you’re done setting up and connecting all your channels, it will work like magic saving you plenty of time and effort.
After the lead has been added to your CRM, it is time to qualify it, which is another process you can easily automate using Bitrix24. Of all the leads you’ve got in your CRM, you need to pick the ones that have the biggest chance of becoming your paying customers and work with them first - and that can be done automatically.
For example, if a person requested a quote from you, they can be treated as a sales prospect and therefore it would be wise to move such prospects to a separate category for your sales team to start working with.
To automate this process, all you need to do is set the parameter based on the person’s actions (i.e., requested a quote) and the system will automatically move everyone who matches the parameter to a separate category as defined by you.
The same logic can be applied to the customers who haven’t bought anything from you in a certain period (e.g., 30 days). Once you’ve separated this category of users, you can start working on their reactivation.
Rule #2. Remove Sales Person and Provide Self-Service Options Whenever Possible
Although it may sound controversial at first, we have come up with a few solid arguments in favor of software vs. people:
- Human workforce is expensive while software is cheap or even free
People tend to forget about stuff and make mistakes - not software
Software is easily scalable and available 24/7 while people aren’t
There are so many ways you can automate your non-essential interaction within clients and take some of the burden off your sales team’s shoulders by providing self-service options to your customers.
Since Bitrix24 has a built-in telephony module, one possible option is setting up IVR (interactive voice response) and ICR (intelligent call routing) to handle incoming calls. A regular salesperson can have only one call at a time while these systems allow you to handle the most common requests automatically and route calls depending on the availability of your specialists at the moment. Needless to say, the phone number of the person calling can also be automatically added to the CRM.
Online order forms serve the same purpose - basically, you remove the salesperson from the process and let your customers do the easy job of filling in their order details. Again, all the customer data will be automatically added to the CRM.
Of course, you can streamline your remote sales process even further by introducing:
- Online payments
Online calendar (to schedule appointments)
Online knowledge base (to have the most frequently asked questions already answered on your website)
If you’ve just started to sell remotely, these are among the first things you should do - having them qualifies you as a bona fide online business right away and provides your customers with a familiar shopping experience they are used to getting elsewhere online.
Again, all of these tools can be easily integrated with your Bitrix24 CRM, which makes the job of your sales team easier and helps them concentrate on the more important things like top-notch customer service.
Rule #3. Identify Best Places for Remote Selling in Your Sales Process
Most sales processes can be broken down into 4 stages - lead acquisition, lead conversion, generating repeat sales, and reactivation. You can run sales on each of these stages easily with Bitrix24 CRM.
Typically, this is done via ad campaigns on Google and/or Facebook. All of your potential clients who responded to your ads are then referred to a landing page describing your unique product. From here on, you can start collecting leads as they are automatically added to the CRM under the appropriate category.
The same formula works for other channels, such as WhatsApp, social media, email, phone - as soon as the potential customer commits a designated action, they become your leads and go straight to the CRM.
This is something we have mentioned earlier. At this stage, you need to identify the leads with the highest probability of purchasing from you. A number of criteria can be used for the qualification depending on the actions performed by a lead.
Also, there’s BANT - a popular lead qualification technique that stands for Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline. Based on each of these points, you can create a system of questions/criteria to qualify your leads.
If a customer is ready to pay right away, consider yourself lucky, and start celebrating. However, most of the leads are not willing to pay unless you nurture them a bit and finally convert into paying customers.
This is typically done using email marketing (if you only have their email), calls (if you’ve got their phone number), or messaging. In Bitrix24 CRM, all of this can be automated and launched via an email marketing campaign, SMS campaign, messenger campaign, voice broadcasting, or retargeting campaigns in Ad Networks like Google and Facebook.
All of the campaign results will be automatically added to your CRM and available for further analysis to calculate your marketing ROI (return on investment). This way, you will be able to see which channels and lead sources are the most efficient.
Generating Repeat Sales With CRM Marketing
A fact worth mentioning: in 62% of cases, businesses lose their clients due to poor handling of customer relations. If you don’t start caring about your customers, someone else will gladly do it instead.
One tool that can definitely help is CRM Marketing, which helps you to increase sales among the existing clients. CRM Marketing solves three main problems:
- Reactivates one-time customers and prompts them to purchase from you once again
Reactivates the clients that started but did not complete their purchase
Increases brand awareness and loyalty among your repeat customers
This way, you will know that almost all of your client segments are covered by your marketing efforts getting offers that are relevant to them. When running CRM-marketing, another important thing to keep in mind is segmentation. You want your sales proposition to be targeted directly to your customers using various criteria available in your CRM:
Any other criteria you can think of
This way, people who have bought from you once will be more likely to come back for more - especially if they see something that is completely relevant to them at the moment.
Rule #4. Selling at a Distance Can Be Personal Too
Even though you might never meet your clients in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Modern technologies allow us to get in touch with pretty much anyone anywhere in the world. When you think of all the possible ways you could connect with your clients (email, social media, phone calls, video calls, etc.), it seems strange that many of us don’t do that as often as they should.
Using Bitrix24 CRM, you can easily reach out to your customers via all of the channels we mentioned and establish relations that are stronger than just “thanks for your purchase”.
Rule #5. Rethink Your Business Model
If you think about it, a lot of new, revolutionary and successful businesses got started during the times of crisis. Recent examples may include Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, and Groupon - all of them were founded during the last Great Recession of 2008-2009.
These businesses saw an opportunity where no one else could and seized it. As hindsight is always 20/20, now it’s easy to see what their rationale was and what steps they undertook to succeed. However, back in the late 2000s, the majority had no clue and were often quick to dismiss what these pioneers had to offer.
The same thing is happening now - lots of new ideas are brewing around the world ready to blow up any time soon and become the next big thing. Every time there’s a recession, there’s always less money to go around. Customers become smarter, thriftier, pickier - they want to have more for the same or even less money. Businesses that are able to comply with this formula (BETTER + CHEAPER) will come out winners.
Remote sales can, should, and most likely will be the future. They give businesses plenty of opportunities otherwise unavailable and allow them to adapt to the ever-changing environment.
Switching to remote sales will take your business to the next level and enable you to:
- Sell without borders
Work 24/7 from any place with a stable Internet connection
Lower your costs
Scale up easily
Scale down painlessly
Streamline your sales process
The technology is already here - you can access it today and start building the foundation for your successful online business. While your competitors are still doing things the old way, you can get a nice headstart and start using modern e-commerce tools like CRM to make money.
Try Bitrix24 CRM for Free
As you may have noticed from the screenshots provided as an example in this article, we happen to have a CRM of our own, which is a part of a bigger tool called Bitrix24 - an online collaboration and e-commerce platform.
Bitrix24 CRM does have all of the features mentioned above and is tightly integrated with our other tools like:
- Website builder (allows you to create template-based landing pages and e-shops with zero technical knowledge)
Payment systems integration
Sales center (to run marketing campaigns in Google, Facebook, or via email)
Sales intelligence (to calculate your marketing ROI based on each source of leads)
Knowledge base, chats, project management tools, and more
You can get free access to Bitrix24 CRM now by clicking here
. Trust us - this will be one of the smartest business decisions you have ever made.