You can’t rely on notepads, verbal notes, or the sales managers memory of the conversation. If that’s the case then details can get lost or forgotten, meetings and phone conversations may not be followed up, and choosing what to focus on can be a matter of guesswork rather than a rigorous implementation based on fact. It’s also critical to have this data stored and accessible for other staff members to be able to pick up where one person left off in case of staff changes.
Fortunately there is a solution to this problem. The solution is Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A reliable (CRM) takes your client data and turns it into useful, actionable insight that can transform your business.
How does it do this? At the most basic level, a CRM system provides a central place where you can store customer and prospect contact information, and share it with colleagues.
Once this is in place you can track the history of all your communications you have with those customers: phone calls, emails, meetings, presentations, enquiries. Because tracking is everything.
With a CRM system in place, every question, every service request, every preference and every past contact detail about every customer is at your fingertips. And that means that every contact you have with your customers is always personal, relevant and up to date.
5 Things to Look For When Choosing a CRM System
- Choose a CRM vendor that offers support. No two businesses CRM needs are the same and it’s important that you pick a vendor which can provide you with the support you’ll need. Choose a company that has a point of contact available to you for implementation questions and technical support services to clients.
- Does the CRM have unique features? What features does the CRM app you are considering have? Are they unique and worth considering? Always look at the unique features of the CRM before you commit to a particular app, to make it worth considering. There are CRM systems available specific to your industry. Research those as well. They will have features specific to your business needs.
- Read reviews on different CRM systems. A review is worth a thousand words. Look at other businesses’ experiences with that CRM system to see certain trends that point out flaws or support issues. Research on potential CRMs by reading reviews and testimonials on the platforms before you commit to a particular product. The more data you have on the different CRMs, the more informed choice you will be able to make.
- Find out who is responsible for data security, backup and recovery. Small businesses can be permanently crippled if they fall victim to a security breach. It is therefore critical that you consider the security of a CRM system and which party involved is responsible for data security, backup and recovery.
- Look for personalization. Sending customers personalized emails and other methods of communication based on accurate customer data can considerably increase click-through rates. It is very important that your CRM system can provide the personalization that modern consumer’s desire.
- Ask about automation. Another CRM practice that could save small business time, effort and money, is to have CRM program that is automated. Some CRMs enable automated communication with leads, providing salespeople with more time to focus on people who are ready to buy.
- Look to the future. Another key point to look for is advanced features. If you are planning on having some future sales and marketing efforts in the near future, make sure the CRM you are looking for offers those features already or have an option to add additional features.