So, why do all small businesses need a CRM solution? The short answer to this is because all businesses need customers (or clients). However, we are all human and therefore fallible. So, we need some support to make this happen successfully.
What is CRM?
There are many answers to this question, but perhaps what is most important is to remember that CRM is far more than technology. In fact, although technology usually forms part of a CRM solution, it is never all of it. I like this model of CRM
as it reminds us that CRM is about people and process. The technology is subservient to these.
The technology performs three parts of the overall process
- Holds the data in an easy to enter way
- Makes the relevant data easy to retrieve
- Does the repetitive work to save time for your people.
In summary, what a CRM gives us is easy access to the information – both our own and colleagues – to enable us improve the relationship between our organisation and the prospect, and where relevant, their organisation. We should be able to see quickly and simply a history of communications, so that we can move the relationship forward, rather than going over old ground. We should be able to rely on the CRM to take on some of the repetitive tasks such as sending high quality emails and updating some data.
How a CRM can increase the profit of your business
There are five ways that a CRM can increase the profit of any business:
What is particularly interesting in this model is the compounding. If you increase each of the lines by 10%, your overall improvement is not 10%, it is not 50%, but 61% !!
How to make YOUR CRM implementation successful
- Understand the issues that you are trying to solve. These issues will be areas within the business where processes and / or data in the legacy systems cause the users, or customers / clients to work inefficiently, perhaps re-entering data, or hunting for information or performing manually tasks that could readily be automated.
- Understand the technology in enough detail to see how much of the issues can be resolved out of the box and then design a solution that really takes advantage of the existing functionality. I have worked with many failing and failed projects and the underlying cause of the failure comes back to poor use of the selected technology.
- Ensure that your implementation includes enough education so that the implementation maximises on the functionality that comes out of the box and the users know how to use the solution to make their own tasks simpler and more efficient.
And remember a CRM is not just for sales. It should give you one data repository for all of your client data – from the moment that they first engage with you, or a colleague at your organisation, to when the relationship comes to an end. This encompasses marketing, sales and support. Once a prospect becomes a client, they should be receiving communications that relate to sales and marketing as well as service in parallel, rather than sequentially.
Organisations who are successfully using a CRM will be touching each of their clients and prospects at least 15 times per year – in a mixture of ways. Modern CRM solutions can also bring information in from social media and SMS communications to help you build up that big overall picture of the relationship.
The best CRM’s will also enable to ‘slice and dice’ that data to see what is working, and perhaps more importantly, what is not working, so that you, and your organisation, can learn and grow.