SMEs are finally taking the plunge and moving from spreadsheets to proper CRM systems, says John Paterson founder and chief executive of CRM provider Really Simple Systems. “This is driven by affordability, cheap online systems, no installation and minimal set up and newer systems that are easier to use. But many SMEs still think that CRM systems are above them, or have had bad experiences previously such as cost or user adoption. They have then fallen into disuse after a year.”
He says the main benefits of using CRM technology for an SME are – “No lost opportunities, nothing falls through the cracks, visibility of the sales pipeline for management and protection of data and pipeline when a sales person leaves because management still owns the data. Finally making the most of that data with integrated email marketing campaigns.”
Nadia Finer defines a CRM as an online system which allows you to store information about your leads, customers, clients and contacts and the interactions you have with them, in one central easily accessible place. A CRM allows you to share information with your team and ensures information is not duplicated or lost. It can help you to keep track of valuable customer information such as: Names and addresses, Contact information, Purchase history, Payment history, Phone or email conversations and tasks relating to each client.
Even when you are out of the office you and everyone in your team can access and update information about clients. CRMs can act as a sales tool recording the value and potential value to your business of each lead and client. “It will help you make more intelligent decisions as a business,” Finer states. “A CRM makes it easier to grow your business. By keeping track of who’s who, how far along the buying process they are and what you need to do to convert them – a CRM can help you make more money.”
She believes a CRM is more intelligent than a spreadsheet, because of its multiple layers of information and the fact that it can synchronise immediately ensuring that everyone in your team and in different teams can access and update important information instantly.
“Basically, a CRM helps you put your customers where they should be – at the heart of everything you do,” Finer says. “Building strong relationships with clients is fundamental to the success of your business. A CRM system will help you to do this, in the most efficient way possible. If you’ve ever lost a client because they felt neglected, you need a CRM!”
Helen Amour, marketing manager at RSS, says SMEs should not worry about losing the ‘personal touch’ in customer relationships. ”Customers will feel more recognised and the time you will save through using the systems will give you more opportunities to engage with them,” she says.
In tomorrow’s instalment of our CRM series, we find out how you can decode customer behaviour and experience quickly using data analysis…