“Keeping it all in my head” is all well and good for a company that has one or two members or staff and a hand full of customers. What about growth? what about keeping track of customers? what about making sure someone is reaching out to the right potential customers? what about automating processes? What about tracking sales?
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software is becoming increasingly critical in any business, in any marketplace.
It would be pretty embarrassing for any company for a member of their staff to reach out to a customer with a sales pitch or for a product upgrade only for the customer to be contacted again about a sale or upgrade by another member of staff. All because there was a break down in communication. Maybe the piece of paper didn’t get passed around the office.
Maybe someone has a really good prospect that the sales team didn’t follow up on. That’s a sale lost.
Customers always like to be kept in the loop. Questions should be answered, bases should be “touched”. Companies shouldn’t let their existing, valuable customers, fall by the wayside because of poor contact management.
At the same time though, you don’t want to be reaching out, grabbing, harassing and bothering your customers.
Centrally track and manage your sales activities.
There’s so much more than simply sales tracking in good CRM software though. You should look for software that builds forecasts and tracks figures. Good CRM should track accounts and opportunities, it should offer analytics and not only show you where you’ve been but push you to where you’re going.
Make sure that your chosen CRM software is extendable and integral too. Your CRM shouldn’t be a lone, stand-alone Island of software. CRM shouldn’t be completely separate to your other IT Functions.
You’re reaching out to customers via email? Why not tie the CRM into your email system?
You’re making appointments? meetings? How about tying your CRM into your calendar?
Sharing documents? proposals? spreadsheets? Why not share them using the Office Suite that you already use around the office?
The use of Customer Relationship Management software is limited only by you, your imagination and your staff.
Oh, and make sure your staff use the software too. No collaborative software is any good if it isn’t used to actually collaborate.
For a good example of fully functional, totally useful Customer Relationship Management software, check out Zoho CRM
Author: Andy Quayle
Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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