Why Should I Use CRM, Anyway?
It doesn't matter if you're an executive of a company or an independent salesperson. The more leads and customers you can work with, the greater the number of sales you can make and the greater your resulting income will be. Managing customer relationships is very lucrative!
You're not a computer (and that's a good thing.)
Can you organize and sort through millions of notes, numbers and documents to get the exact pieces of information you need in a few milliseconds? Neither can I and the effort involved in trying to keep track of even a much smaller collection of data would be overwhelming and time consuming.
Of course, computers aren't very empathetic or intuitive so leave the data to them and the people to people.
Ever feel like pulling your hair out over a company's (lack of) customer service?
(If so, check out our Customer Service Nightmares articles.)
We've all had the unfortunate experience of dealing with subpar customer service. (And if you haven't you're incredibly lucky.) Whether it's having to repeat your situation 10 times while the company plays musical chairs and nobody bothers to take notes...
Or cycling through an endless series of automated recordings that tell you to press this number--to get looped back through the same sequence without ever getting any actual help. Or being incorrectly billed for something and everybody you talk to insists there's nothing they can do, you'll just have to deal with it...
Or being left on hold for 15 minutes ... which to me says you don't value my time very much, but you want me to give you my money? If you're that swamped then schedule a callback. It'll take you 10 seconds to put a contact's name and phone number in your system so you can get back to them when you're available without making them wait (and fume) on hold.
For some reason, these situations happen. They shouldn't, but they do. What's baffling about it is that every time something like this happens it hurts the company. It hurts their reputation and costs them customers. Most customers aren't especially demanding and it isn't particularly difficult to provide a satisfactory experience that they'll tell their friends about and do business with you again and again.
What's the big deal? Stuff happens.
Sure, but your customer doesn't have to do business with you. In a few clicks they can pull up a dozen of your competitors and get in touch with them. This doesn't just apply to existing customers - it also applies to prospects and leads - one misstep can cost you the deal or drive your customer away.
With an effective CRM system you can attach any relevant information to a customer account and retrieve everything about your relationship with that customer in seconds. You'll never forget any previous conversations, agreements or promises that you've made. You won't have to worry about being that company that everyone has a horror story to tell.
And your customers will see you as professional and reliable. Somebody that they enjoy doing business with because you're organized, efficient and show them that you value their business because you take the time to keep track of what's important to them.
Customer relationship management is an effective system and strategy:
The advantage to a CRM platform is that it's designed to facilitate that specific purpose. Sure, you can store your contacts in Outlook or Excel and create hundreds of quotes and documents with Word and sort them in dozens of folders ... I've seen people do it. But it isn't very efficient. It's time consuming and doesn't give you a 360 degree at-a-glance summary of the client that lets you make fast, accurate decisions.
That 360 degree view should be your starting point each time you speak with or meet with a customer. Your CRM platform should let you store contacts, notes, supporting documents, events ... everything about that customer so that it's all visible and easily accessed in one place.
While the system helps organize and manage the data, the strategy is how you use the data and whether you're able to integrate other systems with your CRM so that you can leverage the data you've already created for other tasks.
If you are using the right system you'll come to rely on it heavily, especially once you make it an integral part of your operations. This will give you a lot more time to focus on your customers and sales since you'll spend a lot less time manually organizing and searching for information.
Just keep in mind that as your business grows, you'll need more than just CRM so it's worth considering a complete business platform so you don't have the pain of trying to migrate to a new system and export/import your data between systems.