If your business is a one-person startup consultancy in business just 30 days, you still should have CRM.
This is a strong statement and I stand by it. I feel sorry for any business where all customer data including every single “touch” is not logged. Again, a strong but true statement.
Customer Relationship Management software systems enable everyone in your business to manage and analyze all customer “touches” (including in-person meetings, phone calls, email messages, social media, etc.) and data throughout the customer lifecycle.
The primary purposes are:
- Improving business relationships with your customers
- Improving customer retention
- Driving sales growth
CRM systems can also provide you and your customer-serving staff detailed information on customers’:
- Purchase History
- Personal information
- Buying preferences and concerns
- And much more.
Let’s examine a scenario:
A fairly new customer called your office and spoke to an employee Friday afternoon. They requested service on their initial purchase. Monday morning, that customer calls back and asks for you, the person who sold them the product that needs service. Your initial response to them will go one of two ways:
- (after hearing about the situation) “I understand Susan. I’m sorry you needed to ask for service but I’m sure our support team will get right on it and make everything good. I’ll check with them myself and make sure your situation is handled well.”
Customer Reaction – “He had no idea but hopefully he’ll make sure my product gets serviced quickly and well.”
- “Hi Susan. I see you opened a service case on Friday afternoon. That case has already been assigned and Joe Smith is being assigned to your case. I’ll speak to Joe and ensure everything is handled promptly.”
Customer Reaction – “Wow. He knew all about my situation without me telling him. The people in this company actually talk to one another! I’m sure my product will get serviced quickly.”
The results of a properly implemented CRM system include:
(1) improved customer data including personal details about every customer
(2) detailed notes from every customer (or prospect) “touch”
(3) a comprehensive purchase and service status and history
(4) a record of all marketing efforts specifically targeted to all prospects and existing customers
(5) flexible, detailed reporting revealing market and customer trends
(6) real-time employee performance feedback and much more.
Salesforce is established as the king of CRM but many other systems such as SugarCRM, Goldmine, Dynamics CRM and many others offer very solid solutions to consider.
The due diligence process for CRM can be complex so this may be the time to obtain the services of a business coach or project consultant if you do not have the in-house knowledge and experience to make the purchasing decisions, plan and implement a successful system.
For the very small businesses, products like Goldmine offer a solution for as few as 1-5 users.
Some of the critical purchase variables include which system will exceed our needs after you continue to grow, if you need project management expertise to ensure success, who will administer the system after it is live, where it will be hosted as well as the security and redundancy provided, access on all desired platforms including smart phones, ad-hoc reporting and more.
Making the case for CRM is an estimate to some degree, but it’s also clearly desirable.
Again, I feel sorry for any company attempting to thrive without CRM.
Return on Investment estimates include over $6 for every dollar spent, customer retention improvements over 25%, increased mobile productivity over 15% and more.
I find myself asking ‘how any inspired business can afford to be without CRM?’
If you’re wondering about how CRM could benefit your company, the most logical starting point is ensuring you have the proper partner to ensure every step of the process goes smoothly.
More next week…
I hope this first lesson on CRM has you thinking. Best…
“When you’re green, you’re growing; when you’re ripe, you’re rotten”