Your business and customer base are expanding, and you’ve started to research how you can improve your customer relationships and manage your sales. It’s likely you’ve noticed an acronym mentioned often, CRM. Simply put, CRM – or Customer Relationship Management – refers to software that tracks your interactions with your sales prospects and customers.
The right CRM system can power up your business like nothing else. Implemented properly, a CRM will store and manage your customer and prospect data, tracking your interactions and helping you win more customers by boosting your sales team’s ability to close deals, improve your support team’s customer service, and automate your marketing.
But does your business need one? And is a CRM system worth the investment?
Here are our top pointers to help identify if your business requires a CRM System.
Lead Management and Flow
Handling more prospects that you can remember is a key sign that you need a CRM system, so that no prospect gets forgotten. When you add a new lead into your sales cycle, you will start to build a timeline of your interactions with them, creating a full history of your relationship. At the same time, a CRM system will let you set follow up dates for each prospect and can remind you when they are due.
Your Prospects Have Multiple Points of Contact
If your prospects and customers are talking to multiple points of contact within your organisation, it can be easy to lose track of what’s been communicated over the period of the sales cycle. A CRM system will provide a documented history of all your interactions with them, showing who has said what and when.
All the major CRM products are built with a B2B data model with Contacts (the people) belonging to Accounts (the companies you do business with). You can use B2B CRM systems, like Really Simple Systems, for B2C (business to consumer) but it isn’t ideal, and you might be better off with a simple contact management system instead. If your business operates in a mixed environment of both B2B and B2C, the compromises still make a CRM system worth the investment.
Run Sales Forecasts or Report on Data
The visibility of data is just as important as collecting it. If you want to run sales forecasts or review your sales, marketing, or other businesses activities, then a CRM system will give you what you need. From the probability a sale will close to the number of customers who clicked on your latest newsletter links, a CRM can pull all your data into a report for easy analysis.
Monitoring Sales Staff
Sell, sell, sell! If you have sales staff, then you’ll want to make sure the details of their prospects are under your control, so you can monitor what they are doing and to make sure, should they leave your organisation, their sales pipeline doesn’t leave with them. Not only that, a CRM system will show you how they are performing and the value of customers they are bringing to your business.
Lengthy Sale Process
A lengthy sales process could take well over a quarter. Therefore, it’s likely you won’t remember where each prospect is in the sales pipeline, and what happened in the last call. If this is the case, a CRM system is needed to easily pull up your history with the customer and continue where you left off.
Marketing Campaigns & Automation
If you want to run email campaigns to either simply send out newsletters or to do more sophisticated segmented marketing, then you need a CRM system both to hold the data and ideally to send the emails out as well. Then when you look at a prospect in the CRM you can see if and how they responded.
Let’s use us, Really Simple Systems, as an example. We get 50+ enquiries a day, far too many to remember each one. The sales cycle can take anywhere from a week to six months, with lots of interactions between the prospect and multiple points of contact within the company, both sales and support staff. We run segmented marketing campaigns to our customers, prospects and ex prospects. There is no way we could function without a CRM system.
You Don’t Need a CRM System If:
There are instances where a CRM system won’t fit your business. A few examples of this are:
- You’re a one man or woman band. If this is the case, you don’t have to manage sales staff or their activities.
- You only get a small number of leads a week. With less leads, comes less to remember!
- Your sales cycle is short with no repeat business. Self-explanatory, if you’re not receiving repeat business, then you don’t need to record customer histories.
- You only have a few large customers who you can manage easily. Similar to the number of leads you receive a week, if you only have a few key customers, then its much easier to manage them and a CRM system might not be necessary.
If you are selling B2C, especially via a web site. You might be better off with a dedicated B2C marketing system that captures sales history instead of adopting a CRM system.
A CRM system will be of no use if you are not organised. To benefits from a CRM system, you and your colleagues need to use it and keep it up to date, otherwise it will fall into disuse and its demise will be self-fulfilling. A CRM system will help you to be organised, but it can’t organise you itself. However, if you implement and use a CRM system properly, it can become a sustainable and scalable tool for your business’s long-term growth.