CRM – A Less-than-Dynamic Guide to Why You Need One

So, the question you may not want to answer – does your business have customers?

The answer is obviously “yes” – unless you’re reading this to see how you can come by some; in which case you’re on the wrong page. We take it you’re here to learn how to better connect with your customers, through the use of CRM.

But first, what actually is CRM?

Well, mostly Customer Relationship Management, but this can also – in some businesses or ERP systems – mean Contact Relationship Management, as a CRM can often give you the same level of control over Customer and Supplier details and data. This is important to remember when sourcing a CRM or an ERP system that might offer a CRM within, as a good relationship with suppliers is as important as a good relationship with customers.

However, for this article, let’s concentrate on the former version and talk ‘Customer’. Without them we don’t exist, or will soon cease to. The need to ensure that your relationship with the customer is kept on an even keel is paramount as, a business, your S&M and CS teams should always have their finger on the pulse regarding the current status of any and all customers, and how they fit into your business – be they a major or minor player. The need for this cannot be stressed enough and the lack of a CRM to assist will often mean that this level of detail cannot be achieved or maintained.

What will CRM actually give you?

Firstly, a one-stop-shop to store/review and update all data relevant to a customer
Secondly, ease-of-access to anyone in your business (with the correct permissions) to this real-time data, to view such things as credit history, current spend, outstanding payments, and live orders
Finally, an opportunity to solve specific customer relationship challenges and to invest in real-time information only where it’s needed, along with a sleek order-processing system and the ability to deliver firm quotes immediately.
An added benefit will be that, due to the streamlining of all things to do with managing customers, your team will have more free time to pursue new business, deal more efficiently with ongoing issues to resolution, and – most importantly – have an overview of all of the above with the ability to seamlessly share this information with the Management team. That, right there, is a major win.

How do the savings manifest themselves?

There’s no shying away from the fact that a CRM program involves a range of business and technology issues and significant investment – in both time and money. But, to emphasise its importance, here’s an example:

The scenario – a customer calls with an issue regarding an order. Your team have no CRM but instead a number of files, spreadsheets and manual logs where information is added – or maybe not always added, and maybe not to the degree of detail needed! From these, your team need to apply the details from the call, locate documents and cross refer with their content, then reply to the call later once they have collated the relevant information. With a CRM, the information required resides within one record, is easily accessed and easily disseminated, and the time saved per enquiry could be significant.

Marry with this the ability to respond efficiently, and usually instantly, to shifting customer desires, thereby bolstering revenues and also reducing marketing costs, and you should have already convinced yourself that you need a CRM. Once convinced, a suggestion would be to take a pragmatic, disciplined approach to CRM, pivoting around highly focused projects but initially maintaining a relatively narrow scope and modest goals. Instead of using a CRM to transform an entire business, rather, direct the investment toward solving clearly defined existing or perceived problems within the customer relationship cycle—the series of activities that runs from the initial identifying and targeting of customers, through to the end goal of ensuring they come back for more, repeated business. Isn’t that want everyone business strives for?

Once these smaller, more-targeted CRM projects have been completed, you can use your investment as a catalyst for solving additional, more testing problems within the Sales arena.

Any company should ultimately use the CRM and the data it produces to improve the business. Don’t underestimate the benefits of this tool – analysing the data, trends and sales flows should lead to a brighter future. Ensure your staff are suitably adept in its functionality, use the data it spits out, and analyse all it gives you to look forward instead of relying on the reams of paper, bytes of spreadsheets and human data-stores (people!) that can be here one day, and gone the next, taking all their company knowledge with them.

So, invest for success. It might be the best ‘unexpected’ outlay you ever made!

If you’ve like to find out more, contact us today for an initial, no obligation discussion about your aspirations and how we can help you and your business deliver your vision for the future on +44 (0) 1282 463710.

Still not convinced? How about learning more about Gradient and why you should let us help you by clicking here.