As you look for ways to accommodate the growth of your company, it is natural to seek out tools to optimize the various aspects of work required to do business. One of the most often implemented of these tools is a CRM or Customer Relationship Management system.
CRM software organizes and collates cloud-based data sets including information on customers, prospects and leads, sales records, marketing, support, forecasting, and more. A good CRM implementation provides a centralized place for salespeople to input and keeps track of data. It helps managers make data-driven decisions, build forecasting dashboards, and support workflow automation.
CRM systems can clearly be beneficial, but does your company really need to make the investment in this product, as well as the time to train employees?
Here are some factors to think about when you are considering the purchase of a CRM system.
Are Prospects Being Overlooked or Dropped?
“A shocking 46% of qualified leads end up as missed opportunities.”
Not only can a CRM system perform as an electronic Rolodex, recording the contact information for new leads, but it can also keep track of prospect interactions, automatically schedule meetings, follow-ups, and reminders, and help sales representatives prioritize customer leads and gather more complete personalized information to drive workflow. This opportunity management eliminates the need for handwritten spreadsheets and notes and increases efficiency.
Do You Have Employees Communicating with Multiple Contacts at Your Customer/Prospect Locations?
Using a cloud-based CRM means that members of your team from all departments have access to the entire history of client/lead interactions, regardless of who inputs the data. Team members can update information in real-time, even if they are working remotely, eliminating miscommunications caused by overlooked messages and streamlining interdepartmental collaboration all the way through the sales process.
Are You Operating B2B or B2C?
If you are considering a CRM tool, chances are you are a B2B (business to business) company, and your contacts belong to accounts that represent the companies you do business with. This is the model that CRM products are designed to accommodate. If you are a B2C (business to consumer) company, a simple contact management system may be the more economically wise choice.
What is the Basis for Decision Making in Your Company?
Are your business decisions instinctual or data-driven? CRM systems provide quantitative data, such as key sales metrics. This can inform better decisions at all levels of your company. Team members can contribute valuable data on sales, marketing pitches, customer and lead interactions, and spending habits. “Data analytics tools can help you make sense of what you take in and spot trends and patterns that are invisible to human eyes (Reference #4)”
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How Large is Your Sales Team?
If you operate with a sales team, a CRM system can optimize your business in two ways: helping your reps keep track of each other and helping you keep track of them. With a CRM, your reps can respect the territory assignments of their peers and more smoothly pass a lead from one rep to another. Managers can monitor their sales team’s performance, see which marketing strategies are working the best and make substantive suggestions for next steps.
How Complicated is Your Sales Cycle?
Depending on the products you sell, the length and complexity of your sales pipeline could make it difficult to keep manual track of the history of a particular deal. A CRM system documents each step in the process and makes it accessible to all involved employees, ensuring that no information is lost, overlooked, or repeated as the deal passes from sales to fulfillment to billing to delivery to support.
Are You Running Marketing Campaigns?
In today’s digital business world, companies are exploiting numerous marketing avenues. Sales representatives must be familiar with how marketing strategies have engaged with leads and customers before they interact with them. CRM tools can consolidate all this data, as well as helping the marketing department automate web marketing, personalize communications, generate content, optimize search engine results, and create online content. “Seventy two percent of customers will not engage with messaging that is not personalized. Showing customers what they want to see and where they want to see it will increase your chances of making a sale.”
You Probably Do Not Need a CRM If:
- You already have a viable plan to manage the potential scale-up of your business successfully.
- You are a very small company, without a large sales staff to manage.
- You have only a small number of new leads or routinely handle just a few larger customers.
- It is the nature of your business to have a short sales cycle with little or no repeat business, and you do not need to record customer histories.
- You are selling B2C, especially via e-commerce. Here you might be better off with a dedicated B2C marketing system that captures sales history instead of adopting a CRM system.
Evaluating the need for a CRM system is an important step toward expanding your business. Before making the financial and training investment in such a software platform it would be helpful to consider your answers to the above questions. If you answered yes to any of them, you may want to begin the process of finding the product that is right for you. CRM systems are expandable and customizable, giving you the ability to digitally store, organize, retrieve, and analyze multiple types of data, benefiting all departments in your business. When you facilitate communication with a quality CRM system, workflows are automated, lead volumes are boosted, deals are closed faster, support teams are more helpful to customers, churn rates are lowered, and your entire team can communicate more effectively!