What is Customer Relationship Management or CRM?
CRM is a software tool—uses by firms—to manage sales pipeline, establish trust, and build a long term relation with customers. Gartner defines CRM as a business strategy that is customer focused and consists of eight building blocks – vision, strategy, customer experience, organizational collaboration, processes, information, metrics, and technology.
Does Your Business Need CRM?
To answer this question, you first need to look inside your business, people, and the budget.
• Assess an existing process flow. Make a list of issues or flaws. Finally, evaluate whether the CRM could resolve those issues and streamline your business processes.
• Will the CRM implementation drives the real value to the business and will it make your employees become more efficient and effective? Which manual activities can be replaced by automation?
• There are 3 options when selecting a CRM system: vertical CRM, CRM with out-of-the-box functionality, CRM with customization. What kind of CRM will suit your need?
• Where do you keep your existing business data? What are the other enterprise applications?
• Executive Sponsorship is an individual or set of individuals with high level responsibility for the success of a CRM project and can quickly move the initiative forward with funding and influence. Could you get executive sponsorship?
People resist change. So make sure to talk to people who would be using or driving this change. This will provide you an insight and help in evaluating the readiness of CRM implementation, anticipating and mitigating user adoption challenges.
• Talk to your employees and find out whether or not they are ready for a big change.
• Is your team capable enough to use CRM effectively?
• If “training” is needed, you need to find out how much it would cost to train you entire team.
Yes, finally all boils down to how much you have to pay to get the right solution and if it is aligned with your budget. Start from finding out the following costs –
• What’s the cost per user per month?
• Would you be allowed to upgrade or downgrade as per your choice?
• How many users could be supported?
• Does that include technical support and how long is the support period?
• What are included in the package?
• What’s the SLA of any issues reported? How’s the support feature of CRM 24/7 or 24/5?
• What are all the features your business are considering?
• List your existing systems that need to be integrated with CRM?
• List all the reports that matter to your business?
• Does it allow social media integration? Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?
• How’s the navigation and user friendliness of the system?
• Where will your data be stored?
How Can CRM Boost Your Sales?
If you follow the best practices of CRM, your CRM is capable of not only boosting your sales, but also increasing firm’s revenue and helping in gaining the trust from customers.
• Gathering all data of prospective clients at one place
• Assigning tasks to respective data points
• Highlighting the issues/concerns
• Be prepared for goal focused selling
• Schedule calls or meetings internally with other departments and externally with client
• Monitor and response for delivering quality
• Track your business on daily basis
• Streamline reporting methods
• Make sure to have all documents updated
• Collaborate with your team and cross departments
• Use other CRM apps/modules to increase efficiency
• Connect to your customers through social network
• Appreciate customers’ feedbacks and reduce your response time
• Use real-time data to track the progress
• Use analytics to track the history of purchase, and update your marketing strategy accordingly
What Should You Look for in CRM?
1. Is the CRM customizable?
2. Accessible from anywhere and any device
3. The friendliness of the user interfaces and navigation
4. Real-time feed support
5. Reports & data analytics
6. Predictive analysis tool
7. Implementation time
8. On-premise CRM or online (hosted) CRM?
9. Integration with enterprise systems & other software applications
10. CRM standard features
11. How much does it cost?