Your CRM, or Customer Relationship Manager, helps you manage all activity by a customer or prospect including marketing, pre-sales, and sales activities. But are you using the right CRM? Are you using the right CRM in the right ways? Is yours outdated or your methodology dysfunctional? In this article we will explore the distinct value of the CRM and ways your CRM should be connected to other software and applications you use in order to save more time and increase efficiency.

 

The Value of Your CRM

Your customers, prospects and suspects are the lifeblood of your business. Your customers pay the bills. The right prospects become customers. And the right suspects, or people you’ve identified that might value doing business with you – fuel your prospecting. The right CRM helps you understand, identify, and take action on these people with ease, efficiency, consistency and robust capability.

Products like Zoho, Salesforce, Hubspot and Pipedrive help companies manage how they’re marketing, selling, and ultimately creating customers. When planned correctly the CRM can have a powerful place in a company’s entire technology and communications methodology.

The Value of A Plan

The CRM software and solutions available can be incredibly powerful and often complex. Features that might be just right for one company can be too confusing for another, or too limiting for still another. This is why a lot of investigation is necessary to find the right fit for your organization. To identify this, think about where you are now as a company and where you want to be.

What do you want your CRM to achieve?

Do you want to do email marketing out of your CRM? How about tracking salespeople’s tasks and actions? Do you need to create proposals directly from your CRM? Or do you mostly just need contact information, a modern-day Rolodex in the cloud. Whatever you think you need your CRM to do today should align with the problems that you are trying to solve today, or the efficiencies you’re trying to create. But don’t forget about tomorrow – maybe you are not doing email marketing now, but you might want to in the future. Explore the capabilities and features CRM’s have available and determine what’s best for you now and who you envision growing into. Your CRM should grow with you.

All in One or Just The One?

When considering capabilities, explore how a CRM might manage things vs a dedicated application or platform. Many CRMs pack a lot of features into a single platform. This can lead to a decrease in specialization and an increase in generalized capabilities. A CRM might have a simple checklist task management feature built in where a dedicated project management platform like Trello, Accelo or Monday can offer many more robust features. Your business, or the people using the CRM, might work best with a simple checklist. Great! Alternatively, creating an integration between your CRM and a task or project management application might deliver the best of both worlds. Knowing what’s right for you requires thinking about your vision for the company, those performing the work and the support they need for success.

Know Your Next Move

Inertia is powerful in business. The direction in which you are heading can determine your destination and level of success – even if that’s not necessarily the destination you would have chosen or preferred. It is important to make the right decisions for the present, but never start or continue a game of chess without thinking at least two or three moves ahead. Companies that are constantly reacting and are on the defensive rather than controlling their own metaphorical board (and direction) have a hard time ever getting and staying ahead. This also applies to the software and systems you use, how you use them and why.

What databases do you use in your organization? Do you use an ERP? How does other data get managed in your business, and by whom, and for what purpose? Determining what else is happening with information in a company should be a crucial consideration for what CRM you choose or use and what you expect of those people using the CRM. 

How is business changing around you? Are you in a volatile or dynamic industry where customer behavior is constantly changing (like incorporating mobile apps as a way to capture and service your customers, for instance), or is your business more predictable, like in manufacturing or construction? Your customer’s profile can have an impact on what systems you use to manage your relationships with them.

Asking questions, developing insight, and solving for what you are trying to achieve is always a smart place to start in considering what CRM is right for you. For us, this starts with the right conversation with people who know how to help you identify your unique path to success. At InterSoft Associates our discovery process is a helpful framework we use to help you better understand where you are, where you want to be, and how you might get there. Like with any software or technology in your business, your CRM should help you towards achieving your vision. Make sure you have confidence in that vision as you consider your CRM.