Managing a growing business means there are a million and one things to think about. Of course, there are some things that a small business might not need, that a large organisation couldn’t function without. A CRM system is one of these. In a growing business the question is, how do you know when it’s time for a CRM system?
You may have been able to rely on excel sheets at the start to record client details, but the saying ‘what got you here, won’t get you there’ is very fitting. As your business expands, so does your client list, the number of employees and the amount of information that needs to be organised and stored, which is a lot easier with a well-designed and properly implemented CRM system.
Ask yourself if any of the following points sound familiar to you, if so then it’s about time for a CRM system.
- It is hard to clearly see which employees are interacting with a customer or when more than one of your employees are contacting the same prospect. A CRM system would provide you with a platform to see exactly what is going on with each account or prospect. Allowing you to see which employees spoke to them, at what exact time and notes on the conversation. It’s very hard for your employees to coordinate and share all of this information accurately with each other. So if your employees have been unknowingly contacting the same person, you need a CRM system.
- Customer information is scattered in different places. You may have a plethora of databases or systems all containing crucial information, but the problem is the information is separated, one system recording information on which customers spend the most, another one on your most popular products. Until these pieces of information can be integrated you won’t have the necessary knowledge to make strategic decisions based on it. A good CRM system will collect all relevant customer information together, organise it according to your preferences and let you access it whenever you want.
- You have noticed that some of your biggest customers haven’t been contacted in quite some time. If you knew exactly which clients were slightly interested in more of your products or for which clients a quick callback is due, it could immensely improve your sales strategy. With a CRM system, every time your business is in contact with a client, they can update the client’s status and leave notes, making it simple to see which ones may need more attention.
- Reporting and analysis is consuming your time. With a growing business, admin and reporting can seem like a never ending task. Have you ever been late with finalising sales reports only to find that your sales team haven’t been hitting their targets for some time? Having figures like these up to date, at all times, should be a priority but shouldn’t have to take up your time. If a CRM system was implemented in your business then the sales team’s performance would be automatically benchmarked against KPIs and this information sorted into charts or reports in real time.
- Your employees can’t stay up to date while on the go. You have sales reps on the field getting valuable information, but their notes are taken down on a notepad or on their personal computers, or mobile devices, which they will only get to share with you and the rest of the team until much later on or the next working day. A CRM system allows for sales people to input information in real time, from anywhere once they have an internet connection and a login password, keeping everyone in the picture and reducing the risk of losing any information.
- Every customer is treated the same. Are you treating every customer with the same merit? Many businesses send the exact same promotional messages and offers to all of their clients and prospects. Why would you try and sell additional products to a customer that is overdue on payment? With a CRM system you can easily organise your clients and prospects into different lists to send out targeted marketing material and get the most out of your marketing efforts.
- Sales staff turnover is a huge disruption to business. Staff turnover will disrupt any business, however it can be especially damaging in sales. If a sales person leaves and takes all contact information and notes about a client, a new member of staff would have to start from scratch to build up that relationship again. As we know trustworthy relationships are extremely important in sales and if you have a CRM system those vital contact details, notes and history of relationship would be easily transferred to another employee.
- You have made decisions on a gut feeling. This is a risk that you should never have to take. You should be able to make decisions based on analysis from accurate reports that you have full confidence in. Without a CRM system, many businesses find it hard to have accurate, reliable reports that they have immediate access to. If you can’t easily tell how many successful projects you have had in the last year to compare to the new year and you don’t want to spend your time figuring this out manually, then a CRM system is what you need.
- You’ve had trouble recalling details about a particular client. Or a conversation that went on between the both of you. A CRM system, then you would be able to go back and view the communication stream between yourself and the client, as well as when and who corresponded with them and the comments and notes that were left. Don’t underestimate the power of having the history of your business relationship on record. By having a particular customers product set at the tip of your fingers, the information can be used to up-sell or recommend products that you know they could use, also it will help you see if you are over-investing in marketing to customers that will not produce more revenue.
- You have lost important data before. Human error is inevitable, notepads go missing, spreadsheets can even get deleted occidentally, laptops break or get stolen. What if there was crucial information stored on the hard drive of that laptop? A cloud based CRM system would mean that information stored on them can be backed up so your data never goes missing.
To solve any of the above or similar issues, you will need a tool that allows you to track customers and transactions. A CRM system is the easiest way to do this as it enables you to track and record every interaction with customers, as well as alleviating you from manual data analysis and reporting. From the points illustrated in this article we hope it will help you see when it’s time for your business to make the move from spreadsheets and manual tracking to automated, effortless and reliable reports, a stronger sales strategy, appropriately targeted marketing and overall, stronger relationships with customers.
About the Author
Our CRM is a London based professional software development company that provides businesses across the capital and the surrounding area, with the original CRM software application for Microsoft SharePoint.