Do I need a CRM System? Only if:
You’re a B2B business
You sell to businesses, not to consumers. All the major CRM products are built with a B2B (business to business) data model with Contacts (people) belonging to Accounts (businesses). 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. In a mixed environment of mainly B2B with some B2C, the compromises are worth it.
Too many leads to remember
If you are handling more prospects that you can remember, you need a CRM system so that no prospect gets forgotten and when you do contact a prospect in the sales cycle, you have the history of previous contacts in front of you. You need to set up follow up dates for each prospect and be reminded when they are due.
You have Sales staff
If you have sales staff, then you want the details of their prospects under your control, both so that you can monitor what they are doing, and to make sure that if they leave, their sales pipeline doesn’t leave with them.
Lengthy Sale Process
If you have a sales process that takes over a month, you won’t remember where each prospect is in the cycle, and what happened in the last call. Especially when they come back after two years!
You want to do Sales Forecasting
If you want to do sales forecasting (Opportunity Management in CRM jargon) then you need to record the values, probabilities and estimated close date of each deal, and a report writer to add them all up for you, spread across the months.
Your prospects have multiple points of contact
If prospects and customers are talking to multiple points of contact within your organisation, and you need to see the result of that during the sales cycle, then you need a CRM system.
You want to do Marketing
If you want run email campaigns either simply to send out newsletters or to do more sophisticated segmented marketing or drip marketing campaigns, then you need a CRM system both to hold the data and ideally to send the emails out as well, so when you look at a prospect you can see if they responded.
Take us, Really Simple Systems, for 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.
Conversely, you don’t need a CRM system if:
You’re a one man or woman band, you only get one lead a week, the sales cycle is short, there’s no repeat business, you have a few large customers that you can remember all about.
You are selling B2C, especially via a web site. You’re better off with a dedicated B2C marketing system that captures sales history.