‘I need CRM software’: I hear this phrase a lot from clients, but my reaction is usually: ‘Are you sure?’.
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a very general term and conjures up different pictures for different people.
The first step is to be clear about what you expect it to do for you. You may find you have everything you need already.
The sales management red herring
The main confusion surrounding CRM systems stems from the fact that they contain a range of different functions based primarily on sales management, with an emphasis on marketing, or generating new sales.
In order to help achieve great customer service, which is often why people bought CRM systems in the first place, the CRM system would then need to integrate with other software.
In reality, the kinds of companies who come to us often need something much simpler than what is on offer from mainstream CRM systems.
Instead of sales management functions, what they are looking for is a way of having all the information to hand about a customer, so that they easily deal with any enquiry they choose to make.
They do not, for example, want sales automation; they want simple opportunity tracking from enquiry to delivery.
Nor do they want a sophisticated degree of marketing automation; all they often need is to efficiently deliver customer contact data into marketing tools like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact.
They also tend not to want knowledge bases, ticketing systems, or the integration of data from multiple sales channels.
They simply want the right information at their finger tips when a customer calls, and this as likely as not will be an order status or account status.
Avoid an unnecessary expense
Implementing CRM software into a business’s existing IT systems can be costly, time-consuming and risky. And, if it contains a lot more functionality than a business needs, it can be a waste of time and money.
What’s more, many businesses often purchase CRM software only to find that they still need to integrate their existing systems, such as accounts, stock records and customer details, into the new software for it to be any real use to them.
The chances are they already have the information they need within their own computer systems – maybe the accounting system, or something as ubiquitous as Outlook- and can get a lot further with a lot less upheaval and risk by looking carefully at their existing systems and maximising their use of them.
For instance, Sage Line 50 has a system for recording communications with customers. You can view order statuses, financial information and potentially record details of sales calls, their calls to you – follow up reminders etc. etc. – all in one place.
An IT company, such as ourselves, can integrate the software you already have to create a system which puts all the customer service information you need at your fingertips.
It really can be that simple.
If you would like a chat with us to see if your existing systems could provide you with the CRM functionality you need give us a call.