How to Avoid a Crazy, Scary CRM Failure
The two most important things to know about CRM are what it can do, and also what it can’t. If you’re new to CRM, and your company doesn’t own a CRM system, then knowing how CRM is being used by others can help you get your brain around the possibilities. But, if you’re looking to upgrade or replace an existing CRM system it’s more important to focus on what your company is trying to accomplish, and knowing that any potential new system addresses those needs. With a little luck, this post will address both of those issues.
First of all, here are the top ways that companies are utilizing CRM today: assuming that you’re looking to take your business to the next level, there are certain tools that can make your journey faster and easier, including customer relationship management (CRM) software. With it, you can stay in contact with your customers and potential sales opportunities, as well as be more organized in general around Customer Service. But what makes for a truly great CRM platform? Let’s explore.
- CRM Actually Improves Your Company’s Sales & Business Success
If I’m going to invest time and/or money in a software program, I want results. Am I being unreasonable here? I want it to give me an edge and make it easier to bring in more business. I’m not alone in this, am I? According to the CRM Guide from Insightly, business owners they are looking to get a solid ROI with their CRM…and quickly.
Your first step is defining the primary focus of your CRM system. Clients tell us that their efforts typically fall into the following areas:
- Converting prospects into sales
- Supporting customer service efforts
- Supporting dispatch/ field service efforts
- Tracking warranties/ other support services
Once you know your CRM’s focus, you can look at how it increases your success.
2. It Scales with Your Business
When you’re just starting out, you probably have enough clients to count on one hand. But as that number multiplies, you need better methods to keep up with their information than a spreadsheet. CRM doesn’t care if you have 10 or 100,000 contacts. It’s just as easy to manage them all.
- It Lets You Provide Stellar Customer Service
I’m a firm believer that the more information you have, the better customer support you can offer. If your customer service team can dig into a customer profile and see that s/he’s called before on this same issue, they can quickly read the previous notes so the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves and tell the whole story again! To 5 different people! (Sorry…I speak from personal experience here.)
And next; the top must-have functionalities clients tell us they need…
- User Acceptance and ease of access
I’ve tried a lot of CRM systems, and to be honest, I always end up abandoning them because they’re overly complicated. Software should be simple, right? It should be easy to navigate from one section to another, and easy to enter client contact info.
- It Integrates with Social media for providing sales insights
I’m a marketer, so I’m constantly peeking at people’s social media profiles. I prefer CRM that integrates with LinkedIn, Twitter, G+, and Facebook profiles so I can easily connect on those channels and see what my contacts have been posting.
- Makes Sales Opportunities Clear with integrated Calendaring
It’s easy to let sales opportunities fall to the wayside if they’re not easy to track. A good CRM system shows you where you might be able to offer an existing client or contact additional products or services and then lets you track the lead until it closes. If you’ve got a sales team, this is essential.
- It Integrates with Your Marketing Tools
Who wants to enter info into both a CRM and an email marketing system? I prefer the least amount of work possible, and that means I want my CRM to play nicely with my marketing tools my preference (Click Dimensions).
- It Ties In with Your Tasks
When you’re on the phone with a client, you’re likely to end up with a list of tasks to complete. It’s really nice to be able to assign those tasks (to yourself or others on your team) from within your CRM rather than use another service to do so.
- It Links to Your Email
Have you ever tried to search for an email and not been able to find it? So frustrating! That’s why I look for CRM that automatically links to any email correspondence I’ve had with a contact. It makes finding the conversation I’m looking for fast and easy.
- It’s Constantly Improving
What I think rocks right now about CRM will be old hat in 6 months. That’s why CRM companies that continue to innovate constantly impress me with their continual rollout of impressive features. Here’s a flow chart of how things typically work:
Now that you have an idea of what other companies look for, it’s also important to know what a new CRM system won’t accomplish. Interestingly, success isn’t about price or about buying the hottest name brand. Often the best option boils down to three things:
- does it address the additional functionality that we need?
- can we easily make changes to the reporting as our needs change? And
- will it easily scale over the next three to five years as the company’s needs change?
If what you’ve seen here has got you thinking about what your next steps need to be, then I believe I can help. For the next 30 days, I can provide a blueprint of your existing system along with a plan that will map out the timeframe and cost to get from where you are now to the outcome you’d like to achieve.
Simply send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s get you started on your journey to the effective CRM your company must have in order to take your business to the next level.
To your success,