A few years ago, when I talked to small business owners like myself, no one knew what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was. Now, everyone seems pretty familiar with the concept, and the more well-known ones like Salesforce.com, AgileCRM, Hubspot, Infusionsoft or Zoho are common business parlance. But the sad fact is that even though many know what CRM is, most still aren’t using CRM systems very well. In fact, of the 34 clients my company serves using various CRM systems, I’d say only 20 percent of them are really doing the right things.
When asked about this on a recent Webinar I attended as a host, I summarized it with three distinct Questions – And if you do these right, you can be assured that you are using your CRM well.
- Integration.A CRM system should not be on its own island. It should be talking to other systems — which means that your CRM software should be exchanging data with your accounting system, website and other databases. So when you choose a CRM application, make sure it has links into these other systems. When you view a customer’s record, you not only want to see their activities, notes, emails, pipeline and other CRM data but you also want to know their order history and whether or not there are any outstanding invoices.A CRM should ideally provide you a 360 degree view of your client’s digital profile.
- Reporting.The CRM software is really a big database. An intelligent one at that though. The companies I know who are most successful using CRM systems are getting good, relevant and timely data out of their systems and using that data to run their organizations. A well curated CRM shows you potential opportunities and where they stand. It has activities report, which lists what your sales and service people have scheduled, who they’ve spoken to, who they’re planning to visit. And good ones also have you an issues report, where you learn of any problems, cases, tickets, calls that need addressing, who’s working on it, how long it’s been a problem and when it will be fixed. These reports should be delivered to you automatically and frequently. You should be relying on them. If you are, then you’re using your CRM well. If you’re not getting good reports from your CRM software, then you’re really not using it at all.
- Automation.When someone issues a quote, are you getting reminded before it goes overdue and falls through the cracks? If someone signs up for a newsletter, requests a brochure or registers for one of your company’s events — are you getting notified? Are you aware of those customers that haven’t received a single phone call from any sales rep in the past six months? All good CRM software has a little bit of automation. And the great ones have a lot.
The real challenge is figuring out the process. But once you do, that process can be automated in your CRM software so that things run faster, quicker and more productivity.
Ask yourself the three questions –
Are my business systems integrated with my CRM?
Am I creating Reports that give me a clear understanding of how clients are moving through my sales pipeline?
Am I automating enough?
If any of these are in the negative – its time you had a relook at your CRM – Close look!