At some point, with any luck, your business will outgrow basic spreadsheets, post it notes, and the rolodex. It will get too difficult to wade through all the information to get to the right client’s data, in order to provide the most topnotch customer service possible.
You’ll also need to have a program that can manage and track social media marketing, and organize your client relationships better so that you can create a better return on investment not only in terms of creating more sales per client, but just so that you can give better customer service.
Before you invest in CRM software
It’s important that you determine what types of features and functions you want to include.
Remember that a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application is designed to improve organization when dealing with customer relations. You’ll use the CRM to not only set goals, but to manage goals through to completion of the entire sales cycle.
With the right CRM app, you’ll be able to combine many different aspects of business from sales, to customer service, to accounting and marketing.
The Most Important CRM App Functions
To that end, ensure that at the very least the CRM app that you choose performs the following functions.
- Searchable Customer Database — You should easily be able to input some information into the system to find a particular client, or to find all clients who purchased a particular item during a specific sale.
- Metrics Generation – In business, success often comes down to the numbers, and a good CRM app will supply you with numbers that you can see at any point in any campaign.
- Easy Dashboard — The system should be user-friendly and easy to use. If you don’t understand or comprehend the dashboard, you’re not going to be able to understand the rest. It’s okay because there are many CRM apps to choose from today. Don’t like one? Move on to the next.
- Report Generation — In addition to metrics, you should be able to easily create and print out or email various reports such as sales numbers to share within your organization. If you know that territory A is doing better than territory B, with the right numbers, and the right records, it’s likely that you can figure out why and improve territory B’s numbers.
- Forecasting Tools – Predictive tools that will help you use data to determine probable customer outcome of any campaign will be essential to developing any opportunity in a realistic way.
The one final thing that is highly recommended though not really a function, but something that is very useful, is ensuring that you choose a cloud-based application.
The reason a cloud-based app is so useful is that it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, using a number of different devices.
People from all departments can access the full features of the CRM app without even coming into the office so it’s very useful for making your business more mobile. For instance, a sales rep could access important data during a lunch meeting, or you could have customer service reps who work in other states, or even other countries, all accessing the same data.
Finally, I highly recommend that you study as much as you can about CRM’s by reading this free eBook put out by GetApp. They are experts in business software such as this, and you don’t even have to give them your information to get the free eBook. It’s called: “Powerful Customer Relationship Management For Small Businesses“.
Image © Adam Gregor – Fotolia.com