Customer Relationship Management

In this modern era of technology, we now have lots of options when it comes to strategizing in business. One of the most popular one is CRM. What is CRM? According to the leading CRM software companies, Salesforce and HubSpot, CRM also known as Customer Relationship Management is a technology used to manage interactions with customers and potential customers. CRM software is a system for managing relationships with your customers.

Customer Relationship Management enables you to focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people – whether those are customers, service users, colleagues or suppliers. CRM is not just for sales. Some of the biggest gains in productivity can come from moving beyond CRM as a sales and marketing tool and embedding it in your business – from HR to customer services and supply-chain management.

When is the right time to use a CRM?

If you have decided a CRM system is probably in your company’s future, the next logical question is when. Many companies start small, storing their leads in an email tool, and their list of customers in a spreadsheet. This works fine for a while, but at a certain point, things start to break. Here are some scenarios that will make you consider using a CRM:

  • It becomes tough to manage your data in a “flat” structure like a spreadsheet as it grows (e.g., visualizing the relationships between contacts, companies, sales opportunities, etc.)
  • Jumping between the different places your data lives becomes cumbersome and slows your team down (e.g., log in to the email tool to find your contacts’ email addresses, your accounting tool to see the revenue they are associated with, a spreadsheet to find out what state they are located in, etc.)
  • An employee leaving results in a loss of data (e.g., a sales rep leaves, drops all of the deals he was working on, leaving you no way to pick things up where he left off)
  • If you’re in the fortunate position of having a flood of new business, but are struggling to keep up with it, you might need CRM. An intelligent CRM system will quickly sort and prioritise your leads so that your sales team can respond to them in a timely, efficient manner.
  • Whether they’re in the office or on the road, it’s essential to know what your sales teams are doing and how they are performing. A powerful customer relationship management system allows team members to update details from their mobile devices, so information is instantly available for you to see and act on immediately, if needed.A good CRM solution not only allows you to track what’s going on with your business; it helps you see where you should allocate extra resources, while helping you accurately forecast future sales.
  • Getting customers is tough enough as it is. The last thing you want is to lose them due to subpar service. If you find that your customer service team spends more time reacting to customer complaints than proactively anticipating customer needs, it might be time to invest in a CRM system. Being able to effectively manage case flow while having a unified view of your customer creates the opportunity to wow your clients with spectacular service — and keeps them coming back.Additionally, smart CRM solutions allow you to extend the power of learnings among customer service agents, routing cases to the right agent and helping agents answer questions with shared knowledge. You can also create self-help communities that allow customers to find answers on their own, so agents can spend more time solving tough cases.
  • Not all customers are created equal. And you certainly don’t want your best and biggest customers to feel unappreciated. A CRM system can automatically remind you of milestones and important events for your most valuable customers, so you can easily send out timely communications and assure them you’re in it for the long haul, too.Plus CRM solutions can help keep track of individuals within an organisation. This not only allows you to further personalise your communication but also to maintain a relationship with an account even if your contact there has moved on.
  • If your salespeople are manually entering data to produce reports, they’re spending less time doing what they should be doing: selling. CRM systems can keep all your data in one easy-to-access place, making up-to-the-minute reporting and accurate analysis a breeze.Some solutions even automatically flow account and contact information into your CRM and can periodically “clean” your customer data, filling in missing info that sales people left out and intelligently removing duplicates.
  • Do you know how your organization will handle a potential rush of new business? Are you completely confident in your company’s ability to scale effectively? If you don’t think your processes and tools are up to the task, it’s probably time to research a CRM solution that fits your business needs. A suitable system will grow with your business without sacrificing productivity.

In short, the answer for most companies is pretty simple. While you may be able to get by for a while without a Customer Relationship Management system, adopting one sooner is often better than waiting until you feel the pain of an ad hoc solution you’ve outgrown.