What is CRM?
And more importantly how can it help grow your business and your sales?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management
As with many terms, it means different things to many people. At its heart is a methodology and a strategy for keeping in contact with customers and prospects to grow your sales.
And to underpin the methodology and the strategy, usually sits a system so that you can keep track of your customer contact.
Usually a software package,or held in the Cloud ( you can login in via the internet anywhere to access your data ) CRM enables businesses to manage, cause and track contact with customers and prospects. Cloud based systems tend to charge a price per user, and price points vary dramatically.
Used in both business to consumer and business to business sales, a good CRM package underpins marketing, sales and customer service activity to enable the appropriately frequent contact with that type of customer or prospect.
Reporting enables companies to track contact, focuses people on performance and sales pipeline, and most importantly creates a discipline in following through with customers and prospects.
The new breed of CRM systems can support your traditonal sales and marketing activities, and develop your inbound marketing and lead nurturing activities both time and cost effectively.
What is CRM and how does it benefit a business?
We hope we've answered the question What is CRM?
If you are looking to implement a CRM system, it is worth taking the time to really think through what you need it to do.
Once implemented it will be an integral part of your sales and marketing activity and difficult to change when you've invested the time and energy into implementation.
We've just been through the exercise of changing our suppliers of cloud based CRM, and it can be quite a challenge. We've learnt quite a few lessons, and if it would be useful to talk through with us, please get in touch
All of the systems out there vary slightly in their features and their price points. Here's a process to help you think through which CRM system will help you most:-
What do you need it to do?
Write a list of the features that you need. Don't forget to ask the people you will need to use this system to have an input into this.
Tip: Don't forget to investigate their customer service. With cloud based systems this maybe overseas, and involve expensive phonecalls to solve problems. What sort of support is offered to get you up and running and conquering that learning curve of implementing a new system?
Weight their importance
Allocate points out of 10 for each feature in terms of their importance to you. For example is email marketing functionality more, less or of the same importance as task management to you and your business? It will depend on the existing systems you have in place. Put them into a spreadsheet.
Compare the suppliers you are looking at
As you start to look at suppliers, add them into your spreadsheet, Give them marks out of 10 for the features that you wanted; how user friendly are they? do they do all or just some of what you want them to do?
With your weighted list of the features that matter to you, you can do some simple calculations that enable you to narrow the range to two or three possibles.
What is CRM? Find out for yourself with a free trial
Most cloud based systems offer a free trial from 14 to 28 days, get people who will be using the system to explore the user friendliness, but keep checking back with the list of features that you wanted. As you explore what a CRM system can do for you, you may tweak that list, but as you are exploring the systems, keep in mind the implementation of the system across the business and all the people who will be using it.
As with any new system, there may be some resistance to using it. The system may be seen as a mthod of checking up, especially if the sales people have been field based and left to their own devices.
How will you sell the benefits of the system to the people who will be using it?
How will the system enable a sale, save time, effort, hassle and give confidence in this market place? All strong messages to customer facing people.
As with any business decision, the key question for you to consider is will the system bring a return on investment?
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For more information about how we can help you develop the skills, and approaches of your sales teams so that you can still be successful in your market place, call us now on 0845 450 0988
We'd love to talk through the challenges you are facing and how your sales people can become more confident and successful.
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