Who needs a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system when you have a Rolodex? (So said Aunt Gertrude.)
Okay, I am not going to lie. The Rolodex was already phasing out by the time I was old enough to even know what one was. But really, who wants to flip through cards to find a name, shuffle through address books, or even scan through an outdated excel spreadsheet? Is this really how you want treat your customers; like the old sweaters your Aunt Gertrude gave you that you only pull out when she decides to visit?
If client relations are not a priority, you will have no clients. Without clients, you will have no business.
How a CRM system boosts your client relations to heights far beyond a Rolodex:
1. Organize all your customers and leads – down to the last detail.
It is not enough to have all your contacts saved in one place. You need details and categories for each client to really gain a full understanding. For example, categories like Customers, Lost Customers, Prospects, Suppliers, Partners, Potential Partners, Influencers and Inactive Customers. You could also consider dividing customers into A, B, and C customers depending on different customer programs for each segment.
Furthermore, any notes that anyone in your organization should be aware of should be listed on their contact card. For example: Pays only in cash, prefers email, loves small talk and has three dogs: Moe, Curly, and Larry. Any employee who contacts the customer will be looking at his CRM card, immediately informed of any pitfalls or preferences. This enables your company to give a personal touch, no matter who is handling this particular interaction.
2. Track profitability and develop sales strategy.
With a CRM system you no longer need to worry about tracking every penny on shipping costs, client returns, product discounts… (According to the U.S. Mint it actually costs 1.67 cents to make each penny – I guess making money isn’t always a winning proposition.)
Put the right details in the right places, and your CRM system crunches the numbers for you, assessing value, tracking growth and decay, and identifying potential sales opportunities. You can see sales trends, target profitable client segments, and schedule follow-ups for your company previous customers.
3. Save your time and money.
CRMs are a very cost effective way to store data. One central, readily accessible program reduces the time taken to search and correlate data for each customer. Staff productivity increases accordingly. No one is sifting through files (paper or paperless) to find the information that “they’re sure they know where they put.”
Although slightly more pricey than a Rolodex or address book, CRM technologies are inexpensive to purchase, and easy and inexpensive to maintain and administer.
CRMs also reduce the need for manual and paperwork. You won’t need to hire as many people (or buy as many reams of printer paper).
Lastly, every member of your staff has access to this database in real time, the information often making the difference between the sale that got made and the sale that almost got made.
Think you might be ready to join the CRM nation? Stay tuned for my next post: how to choose the right CRM for your business.
Submitted by Zehava