Don't read this if you never want to grow your business.
How do you store and use all the data about the network of relationships that make your business run? A rolodex, note cards, or an Excel Spreadsheet might work up to a point, if you want to run a slow, forgetful, inefficient organization. Consider upgrading your ability to stay on top of your contacts, prospects, opportunities, customers, salespeople and more with a CRM, which stands for Customer Relationship Management. The basic function is to provide workable solutions to managing complex webs of companies' relationships.
Think about the connections you have in your immediate circle of friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Now add in your best customers, clients, vendors, and sales callers. Whether your total is 100 or 500, there is an upper limit to the number of quality relationships we can keep track of.
"Dunbar's number" has been proposed to show a correlation between brain size and the number of members of a stable social group. Studies of non-human primates show that once a group grows larger than 150-250, social instability occurs. That means that for one member of a group to know all the others and how they relate to every other group member, our brain capacity can handle no more than about 150 members if there is survival pressure on the group and up to 250 if not. Beyond that, there is simply too much data to track for each individual.
That's where Customer Relationship Management systems come in. Similar to the ways we've increased our communication capabilities from mere shouting distance to encompass our entire planet plus the moon and Mars, digital forms of data retention can greatly extend a company's ability to maintain order and contentment for a relationship web that is far larger than Dunbar's number.
Every commercial enterprise begins with high quality customer relationships. You, the seller, find a few people who want your product. Word of mouth and a bit of advertising results in more customers, more product, and the corresponding need for more sophisticated relationships. This goes way beyond keeping track of transactions between the buyer and seller. Someone has to manage a larger number of connections, across time, with each customer, vendor, contractor, client and employee. The fast pace of business means sharing information across multiple teams within your own walls who interact with the same customers. That's why CRM systems were invented: to help you keep order in your expanding universe.
So you're still a small business. You'd still benefit from moving all your data to "the cloud," making it accessible in real time from anywhere on earth, on any device. And as we've indicated above, it's completely scalable as you grow. Collaboration is easier, automated functions like regular customized emails and newsletters come into play, you can monitor social media conversations- all while keeping track of orders, stock, time… almost any data point you can imagine.
If you don't want to grow your business or make your information sharing lightning fast, you're not interested in treating every customer as a valued friend, you don't care about the vendors you use, or the employees that are out there in the trenches, then stop right here.
BUT if you are a wee bit curious about CRMs, we've got a way to find out if your business would benefit from one.
You should consider a system such as Salesforce, On Contact, Net Suite, Act or GoldMine if…
1. Your people are looking for facts in all the wrong places.
Where do you store your contact info? Post it notes? Yellow legal pad? If you're really a techie, maybe a spreadsheet? Now how accessible is that information to the people who need it? Admit it, you're tired of people asking your for the latest data about such and such account. You've lost some data, too, haven't you? Storing ALL your data in ONE place makes it accessible to everyone who is allowed to see it, AND it can be updated by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Your people no longer have to waste time on sleuthing and can focus on selling.
2.You're not sure what your sales team is doing out there.
Accountability, motivation, training… none can happen without insight into the activities of your salespeople. Don't let them fly blind, either. Know the value of each deal, what stage it's in, who's responsible, the actions of competing companies and more with a few clicks.
3. Creating and analyzing reports has become a pain.
Think of CRM systems as the ice and pain reliever for your sore you-know-what. What used to be complex, time consuming reporting is actually quite simple once you customize the program to anticipate the specific questions you have. Accurate and timely reports can mean the difference between a good year and a bad one.
4. You suffer from leaky data.
Follow ups and closings are much more difficult when meeting notes are under the back seat of a salesperson's car. Recording everything digitally on whatever device your people prefer can be a huge advantage over your competition- no important details lost, especially when the vitals are immediately available to all who have a contribution to make to the sale. And when employees leave your company, you still have all the relevant data on their accounts.
5. You treat every customer the same.
Daddy Warbucks, Inc. gets the same email and newsletter as Mom and Pop's corner store? Please. Don’t send the exact same offers or messages to different-value prospects in different stages of the sales funnel. A great Customer Relationship Management system can also group prospects by industry, geography - whatever categories you need to segment your base.
6. You don’t have a plan to scale fast.
What if your business grew by 20% this year? Or 200%? Are your business processes and policies adaptable to expansion? Much better to be positioned to grow by using highly capable software now even if you don't use most of its features.
Imagine one customer relationship manager curating ALL your vital sales information, making it available to everyone who needs it while keeping it secure from those who don't. Imagine the speed of your business increasing beyond your expectations. United WebWorks can help you with CRM setup integration and so much more. Take the first step toward commercial greatness!