We have all heard the term “CRM” over the years. Ask ten different people what “CRM” is, and you are most likely going to get ten different answers.
“CRM” refers to customer relationship management and are tools to help organizations manage all of their contacts, whether they are customers, prospects, partners or any other relationship that you have that is worth tracking. Not only will the solution help you track your contacts, but equally important, it will help you track other very relevant information such as activities, proposals, discussions, campaigns and purchase history.
Most of the mid- to large-size organizations have a CRM in place and have been capturing important customer information for years. However, many small organizations and those just starting up might think they can do without a CRM. Their rationale is that they are not at that “stage” yet.
Whatever the stage of your company, you should take a serious look at a CRM software if you are answering “yes” to any of the following:
- Would having a history of information exchanges between your employees and your customers be of any value to you?
- Do you have multiple people within your organization interacting with your customers?
- Would spotting purchasing trends be helpful for forecasting and budgeting purposes?
- Is there interest in developing specific and unique sales and marketing campaigns to your customers?
- Is it likely that interactions will be spaced out over time and that there will be action items to be followed up?
This list could go on and on. The question to ask yourself is:
Are we missing out on opportunities to either sell more or better service our customers by not having a CRM?”
Having been in the sales and marketing world for close to 25 years, I can tell you that having a well-deployed CRM throughout your organization can be invaluable, whether you are a large multinational conglomerate or a six-person startup company. The trick is to make sure that all customer and prospect-facing people are using it diligently; that you are capturing the most relevant data; and that data is reviewed each month or quarter. Regular reviews will help spot trends, make key decisions and provide the best possible customer support.