How to use a CRM system

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How to use a CRM system

If you’ve never used a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system before then to get the most from it you’ll probably need to change the way you work if your previous system was a contact manager like Microsoft Outlook or just a big spreadsheet with all the names of your prospects in it.

These notes apply to pretty well any CRM system, not just Really Simple Systems Cloud CRM.

Many of the people signing up for Really Simple Systems Cloud CRM are first time CRM users, and this is a distillation of the advice we have given them over the years.

If you have a lot of data, you’ll want to segment it so you can concentrate on the important Accounts and only see the less important ones when you want to.

Start by allocating the Accounts between Users of the CRM system, assuming there is more than one of you. You can do this by changing the Account Owner. Then when you look at the Accounts tab you can choose to see just “My Accounts” or “All Accounts”.

If there are Accounts that nobody is currently engaged with, create a dummy User called “Marketing” and assign those Accounts to them. There is no charge for creating non-Live users in Really Simple Systems, you can have as many as you like.

You can distinguish between customer and prospects by using the Account Type field. That will make it easier to search for your prospects. You don’t have to stick with the default options in the drop-down box, you can create your own by editing the lookup table that drives that field. That’s under the Set Up tab/Manage Lookup Tables/AccountType. Some people use “Suspects” to distinguish people that you aren’t activily engaged with, “Hot Prospects” for those you hope to close soon.

It makes sense to work out how you’re going to segment your data before you load it, otherwise you’ll have to change the data again, but you might want to enter a few records to get the feel of it.

Move to being Task Driven
Instead of flicking through all your prospects, pulling up their details and seeing if you should be following them up, set Tasks against all your active prospects. Then when you need to follow them up, a task will appear in your task list reminding you.

After loading your data you should go through all your prospects and set a Task against each one for when you next need to contact them. When you’ve finished, every prospect should have a Task against it, even if it is for six months’ time.

Opportunities are deals you hope to close. When you’ve qualified a prospect you can set up an Opportunity with an estimated close date and value. If you don’t have a feel for the close date or value – its not qualified!

Then you’ll see your sales funnel on the home page building up, and you can run sales forecasts (from the Forecasts tab).

The Process
Now that you have your data loaded, nicely segemented and with tasks set up against all your active prospects, you can let the system take over.

Every day you’ll have a list of tasks. Make the calls/send the email/go to the meeting. Write up the call notes (we call them Activities), adjust the opportunity if it has moved, set up a task for the next action for that prospect. Now you’re organised!

Activity Monitoring & Reports
Once you’ve got the system sorted out, you can think about running some reports. Sales Forecasts. Activity Reports. Customer segementation reports. The Forecasting report writer is under the Forecast tab, the Listing report writer under the Tools tab.

If you have the Advanced Reporting option with our Premium and Enterprise Editions, you can run reports to show all your prospects who haven’t been contacted for a while, or who don’t have tasks set up against them.

If you have thousands of Accounts then it is impractical to set up a Task against each one. Set the Account Type to “Suspect” (as in, pre-Prospect) and allocate them to a User called Marketing. Then you can market to them using email or snail-mail. Really Simple Systems’ Marketing module is designed for doing just this.

That’s it, good luck with your CRM system, and if you need help just call us or send an email.

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About the Author

John Paterson

John Paterson

John is the CEO and Founder of Really Simple Systems