Entering the utilities market in Australia is far from a simple task.
Amongst all the changing government regulations, relationship building, planning, and logistical work, it’s easy to lose sight of whether the software you have in place is able to keep up with your current and future needs.
One way to guarantee this is by making use of a quality CRM. As these platforms allow businesses to effectively organise and grow, understanding their ins and outs is a must for anyone hoping to light up the utilities market.
What exactly is a CRM, and who are they for?
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a set of online tools for managing your company’s clients and leads. Think list-building, record keeping, web design, marketing, sales, and customer service, all handled through one digital destination1.
While excel spreadsheets and individually-run social channels may suffice in the short-term, as your customer base expands it’s wise to look toward this more sophisticated means of managing all the data, emails, and reports that come with such success.
Retailers who typically operate from a CIS platform would do well to take advantage of these tools. Though sporting some basic CRM functions, CIS systems are built to strict regulatory requirements, and are therefore not as agile and open to change as modern CRMs. It’s hard to create a flourishing business when your software fails to evolve at the same speed as your business.
Why even CIS users need a CRM
Thankfully, there exist a number of ready-made solutions for those in this position, though deciding which one to adopt can prove troublesome in itself.
Which CRM is right for me?
As the number of businesses who recognise the importance of a well-managed CRM increases, so too does the number of CRMs on the market.
Largely, the choice of which one is right for you boils down to whether your needs can be handled by a ‘lightweight’ solution, or if a more robust, customisable platform is necessary.
A key player in the CRM space, Hubspot is an option many turn to when taking their first foray into the energy, utilities, or solar market (and with good reason). Offering an intuitive interface, varied features, and a vibrant help community, it’s able to support businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Unfortunately, with such mass-appeal comes a lack of specificity to the energy industry. Unlike some of its competitors, Hubspot offers few tools that cater to the unique needs of retailers or distributors. In order to truly get the most from this cookie-cutter solution, you’ll need to discern how to best adapt its existing capabilities. Contacting a Hubspot expert will allow you to devise an appropriate plan of attack in this scenario.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Salesforce. Thanks to their acquisition of Vlocity late last year, this CRM mainstay boasts a suite of features built around the utilities industry - something they call the “Energy and Utilities Cloud”. This means extensive out-of-the-box functionality for related businesses, including an ability to automate workflows and processes2.
While powerful, the more in-depth and tailored nature of Salesforce can lend itself to over-complication. Organisations should strive to achieve a balance between customisation and simplicity, so as to encourage the CRM to be managed effectively and efficiently by staff. It’s also useful to note that even the most adept Salesforce aficionado can need retraining upon each of the platform’s tri-yearly releases, which often dramatically alter the layout of UI components like dashboards and tabs3.
The dangers of over-customising your CRM
How to make the most of your chosen CRM
Whichever path you ultimately decide upon, utilising your chosen energy, utilities, or solar CRM to its full potential can be challenging. There will no doubt be delivery issues to overcome, automations to design, test, and implement, and processes to streamline. Tackling all these while dealing with the countless other demands of a burgeoning business can understandably feel a little overwhelming.
With a team of dedicated and experienced CRM experts, Transformable helps ease the pressure of finding and maintaining the right software solutions. Both a Salesforce Partner and Hubspot Partner, our prowess with these platforms delivers a variety of operational efficiencies for your business, saving time and money, and improving your customer experience. From creating a chat bot for your Hubspot-based website, to developing best practice Salesforce workflows, we specialise in achieving success for energy, solar, and utilities businesses with technology that fits you. Contact the friendly team today to begin your digital transformation.