A customer relationship management (CRM) software was initially designed as a simple contact management system that helps businesses establish and nurture relationships with their existing and new customers. Over time, CRM software has grown into a powerful, feature-rich tool that besides working with contacts, enables you to manage and automate sales, marketing, accounting and other forms of work data. Although CRM software is one of the world’s most widely-used business tools many are still captured in a dilemma of whether to invest in it and stick with old and ineffective systems and spreadsheets they’ve been using for years.
So when is the right time to go for a centralized system? Early on, to support growth, or when your customer base grows big enough?
Well, it depends on your budget, timing and the kind of relationships you’re establishing. However, if you strive to achieve sustainable growth and if your business deals directly with customers it’s never too early for CRM software as it happens to be an essential investment.
Read on for you may identify your business with some of these “symptoms” which make it a nominee for CRM solution:
1. You feel that you can’t keep up with the speed of your business growth.
Keeping track of your accounts is easy with a smaller number of customers. However, as your business starts to grow, balancing with contact-specific details (addresses, line-of-business or birthdays), logging communication and storing account histories, would be impossible without a centralized system in place. CRM helps you manage all that data you need in order to better identify sales opportunities and deliver personalized services to your customers.
Furthermore, it also helps you automate work systems by offering built-in tools for task management and scheduling. Making notes about past conversations and scheduling an automatic follow-up will put an end to forgetting who you already did or didn’t make contact with.
2. You worry too much about how to keep your customers happy
As your business grows customer knowledge becomes the key to customer satisfaction. And what is a customer knowledge if not data? Poor customer interactions create distrust, which is damaging to your bottom line because it spawns derogatory brand messages and contributes to customer churn. Your CRM stores data you can use to develop a multiple-channel awareness (social, web, mobile) of each customer’s behavior as well as to personalize their experience. For example, you could offer a specific product based on signals like relocation to a new city or job, or you could simply learn from past downfalls and upgrade your services to meet new requirements.
3. You need to access your work at any time, from anywhere
Scribbling notes and uploading them at the end of the work day leaves plenty of room for making mistakes. Luckily, most of the today’s CRMs have a cloud-based version and are “designed to travel with you”. This makes them accessible through almost every device and from any location with an internet connection.
Managing sales pipelines and recording new customer information on the spot reduces the number of errors and future service flaws.
4. Your team members struggle to establish collaboration
The majority of today’s business world still uses email to communicate with customers, prospects, co-workers, and vendors. Unfortunately, there is a certain level of separation as between individual accounts as between email and back-end systems. This may lead to important information being lost between different systems which can eventually negatively reflect on the customer.
Most CRM systems help with data silo problems by offering integrations with leading email service providers. This allows for users to complete account work from their inboxes and the other way around.
Finally, CRMs also include powerful tools for collaboration such as file sharing, social media-like news feed as well as internal messaging.
If you haven’t already, use a deeper evaluation of your business needs for creating a shortlist of CRMs for final consideration, rather than relying purely on feature comparison for different CRM solutions.
At the point when you finally opt for this investment, your analysis should make your favorite clear, and your choice will be driven by top-priority requirements for your business.