With the talks of cutbacks and budget reductions, now more than ever is the time to invest in the people and businesses that have been your loyal clients from the start. Even with the latest edition of Microsoft Outlook, it is very challenging to maintain quality ongoing relationships with your clients on an enterprise level. If you or your sales, service or support staff is tied down to working out of a shared database on a network in a PC environment, you are missing huge opportunities.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have made fantastic leaps in scalability and have become significantly more user friendly. Without having to sacrifice the comfort of working in a Microsoft environment, many CRMs have the functionality to integrate with Outlook and Word. Software CRMs that are installed on local machines are now being challenged by on-demand web-based CRMs making mobility affordable. Open source CRMs are gaining fast ground to rival “In the Box” vendors because of flexibility and complete customization to fit the way you do business.
4 Mistakes When Considering a CRM System:
• Wrong End of the Binoculars – The goal of your CRM system should be to raise the profitability of revenues: Lowering the cost of customer acquisition, increasing customer lifetime value, and reducing waste in sales, marketing, support and service delivery. Focusing primarily on the cost, rather than the business impact can leave you paralyzed in indecision.
• Goal Overloads – Better to have a very small number of goals for the system, each with a clear owner, metric of success and deadline. Every CRM goal should be prioritized with no ties. After you’ve registered some quick wins that demonstrate results and get users committed to the CRM system, add the next one or two goals as you build the system out incrementally.
• Using NASA Measurements – What proportion of your current business is represented in the CRM database, and how often are users accessing the customer relationship information? The first order of business is user adoption: How quickly and deeply are they using the system? The second order of business is the value of the orders flowing through the system per month.
• Roman World Domination – The warning signs of Caesar/Nero Expectations include: Infrequent project milestones; large, complex, monolithic project deliverables; little consideration of political or change-management issues; or overstated requirements, particularly for scope of system integration or historical data.
Here is a simple quiz to help you have the best perspective going into finding the right CRM:
What would be the net effect to the bottom line if your sales staff could close one percent of the deals they lost last year?
Who would benefit the most if you could reduce the prospect to client funnel by seven days?
What result would you see if your business reallocated 10 percent of its advertising dollars to speak directly to clients who have already bought from you and have confidence in your business, compared to trying to convince total strangers to buy from you?
Would your customer support cost increase or decrease if you could handle each customer issue with one less phone call?
If you are looking for more information on CRMs, here is a list of bloggers who are passionate about CRM:
- Between the Lines
- CRM Advocate
- CRM Guru
- Enterprise Anti-Matter
- Inside CRM
- Jonathan’s Blog
- Negative Approach
- Open Source Pragmatist
- Open Source Unleashed
- Open Sources
- Software as Services