Do you really need a CRM?
So many organizations ask this question. CRM’s (Customer Relationship Management) are powerful tools for many aspects of a business, but how do you determine if you need one and in which one to invest?
The first and most important step is to determine what you want this tool to do for you. Is it to track sales activity, or results from marketing campaigns? Keep records of customer purchases in order to upsell or identify your customer’s buying cycle? Once the purpose is established, and you identify all the information you need to acquire from this tool, do some investigation into the existing tools you’re using to run your business in the day to day. Many accounting systems, such as QuickBooks, have some features built into their products that can produce the information you might require from a CRM. Customizing a few of the fields in your customer’s information profile will allow reports to be pulled from the customer base information. This will ensure that your data is accurate and doesn’t require additional data entry or software syncs which interface with existing tools and can sometimes have errors if not set up correctly.
Once the determination is made on the need of a CRM tool, it is Important to chart or document your sales process from lead source through the closing of the sale and delivery of product or service. Many companies make the mistake in thinking the CRM tool is going to “fix” their sales process, when in fact it can cause more grief if not set up correctly. Your sales process and needs should drive the selection of the tool, not the other way around! This will only be a successful addition if done in this order.
When selecting a CRM, it’s important to know if you need a CRM that is industry specific. Not only are there general sales based systems, but there are also systems developed for industries like insurance, engineers/architects, car dealers, etc. There are also CRM “add on” services for existing business software, such as accounting software which may be cost effective and provide the features necessary to achieve your ultimate goals for the addition of this tool to your organization.