A CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) is an integral part of any business strategy. Employees can increase customer loyalty if they use a CRM because the system reminds you to keep in touch with the client. It will inevitably increase revenues and profitability and at the same time reduce costs.
The Benefits of a CRM
1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS – with everything from sales history to your last interaction recorded, you will have everything you need at the touch of a button. This makes understanding your clients os much easier.
2. UNDERSTAND THE VALUE OF EACH CUSTOMER – analyse buying patterns, use of products, required after sales service and qualify each customer’s value to you.
3. KEEP ALL YOUR INFORMATION IN ONE PLACE – with real-time synchronisation you can access up-to-the-minute data anytime, anywhere, anyhow if you decide to go Cloud Based.
4. PRODUCE MORE EFFECTIVE, TARGETED MARKETING – track and measure every campaign, and provide a foundation of new marketing initiatives from the information you build.
5. IMPROVE YOUR SALES FIGURES – with the sales dashboard and opportunity management systems that most CRMs come with, you can measure sales activity and time your approaches more strategically
Real world CRM uses
The right CRM solution brings together all departments and provides relevant information across the company. It will enable you to service each customer effectively and make fast informed decisions. These may include upselling, cross-selling and management of your sales and marketing campaigns.
Using a CRM solution would ensure that customer transactions and interactions are smooth and efficient. Utilising a CRM is becoming one of the most fundamental tools for any business. It can make a significant difference in achieving increased profits. This is achieved through customer satisfaction and repeat sales.
Whenever I am discussing the instigation of a new marketing campaign for a client there is always one thing on my mind. I want to determine how will the response will be monitored? How can we know whether the campaign has been a success or not?
In some cases, the client has a CRM (Client Relationship Manager or database). In others, they use a pen and paper or excel. Whilst anything is better than nothing there are degrees of “betterness”!
A CRM will help to ensure you do the correct follow up to any leads. This will also allow you to communicate with prospects from that point forward. Additionally, a CRM will generally increase your return on investment through a much more structured communication cycle and will improve your communication with clients and prospects alike.
It seems incredible to me that businesses still use excel as their method of maintaining a database. There are many that do and they do not know what they are missing out on.
How easy is it to use a CRM?
However, there is no sense in investing in a CRM if you can’t use it. You need to work out which of the countless CRM’s on the market best fits with your business and the people who will be using it. Simple doesn’t mean less effective. But, when a system is difficult to use may mean that it isn’t utilised at all.
You need to work out whether you require a cloud-based solution. Will you or your staff require remote access? A cloud-based solution will give you the ability to access your data anywhere because of the way cloud systems work. This also means you get a great “buy-in” from your employees because you make things easy for them!
Do you need it to integrate with other tools?
It is important that your CRM makes life easier for you and your personnel. Making sure it integrates with the applications or software that you already use like Xero, Mailchimp etc. will allow that. You can even have it “talk” to your website and gather information from that! Integration is a real time saver.
Flexibility and customization:
Every successful CRM solution is customised in some way. It may be that you opt for a cheaper solution and then customise it so it does exactly what you need it to do for you. When looking around or speaking to someone about CRM’s make sure that your choice can be customised.
Lead generation and follow-up tracking:
Communicating to a prospect can be automated with a CRM, using the exact business rules you need. It can quite literally turn an okay Marketing Campaign into an incredibly successful one.
Reports and Statistics:
A system is only as good as the data that goes in, and the same goes for a CRM. The reports generated from the CRM will only be as accurate as the data you put in. Be clear about the reports that you want to generate and ensure that you can do this with your chosen product.
Some of the CRM’s on the market:
Insightly is a solid CRM which manages projects and contacts all in the one place. Inslightly is FREE initially and you add people and cost as you grow. It integrates with Xero and Quick Books, Google Apps and Social Media profiles to connect all the information in one place.
Whilst Trello isn’t a CRM in the traditional sense, a Trello board is a list of lists, filled with cards, used by you and your team. Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size.
Zoho like Insightly Zoho offers a CRM and then you can add projects, campaigns and other features to it. Versatile and flexible.
We personally use Pipedrive and we find it gives us the most bang for our buck (currently). It is incredibly customisable and extremely cost effective. It also plugs into a massive number of other applications and software.