CRM: Customer Relationship Management
Let's break this down into its individual components to get a better understanding of this misused tool to help you, the small business owner, make a better informed decision when selecting your own CRM to grow your sales.
- Customer: that person that gives you money for your product or service. (a.k.a., The reason you're in business!)
- Who is your customer?
- Who is your competition?
- Why does your customer choose to do business with you compared to all of their options?
- Relationship: connecting with other human beings.
- How do you like to communicate?
- How do your prospects like to communicate?
- How do your clients like to communicate?
- Communication is the key to building relationships.
Noun: People with MBAs and suits that don't get their hands dirty and get their heads lopped off as soon as profits slide, which always happen when you try to cajole and manipulate people into doing things from afar.
Verb: The act of cajoling and manipulating people into doing things from afar.
- I hate this word. Relationships can't be "managed." They can only be nurtured like any living being or entity. You don't "manage" the growth of your child. You don't "manage" the growth of your rose garden. You nurture their growth through care, feeding and attention. Add a little love and see what happens.
- Can you "manage" love? I don't think so.
So as you look for your small business CRM ask yourself these questions that begin with "What must I have?":
- Sales force automation? (SFA) software is a type of program that automates common tasks in business such as processing sales, inventory tracking, and logging and reporting of customer interactions. It can also help you create and analyze sales forecasts and performance as well handling...
- Contact management.
- Lead management.
- Region / quota management.
- Partner management.
- Opportunity management.
- Sales methodology implementation.
- Marketing automation? refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments (everyone is in marketing in a small to medium business!) and organizations to more effectively market via multiple channels both online (email, social media, websites, etc.) and offline (direct mail, SMS, fax, voice broadcasts, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks such as registration reminders (live events, webinars, trade show attendance, etc.).
- Web forms
- List segmentation
- Follow-up sequences
- Multi-media integration
- Voice mail
- Direct mail
- Smoke signals (just seeing if you're paying attention.)
- Reporting / Analytics? If you can measure it you can improve it. What are you measuring?
- Scheduled reports.
- Customizable forecasting.
- Proactive alerts.
- Comprehensive library of pre-made reports.
- Shared database? Can everyone on your team access your CRM? Do they need to? Why or why not?
- Sales tracking.
- Customer service.
- Email marketing.
- “In the cloud” or on-site? SaaS (Software as a Service) is the name of the game and has been for decades. You don't want to be messing with your own servers and the headaches and expenses that come with that maintenance and support.
- Nucleus Research found >80% of companies that outsourced CRM achieved a positive ROI.
- Benefits of hosted.
- Fast deployment.
- Easy upgrades.
- Predictable costs.
- Enhanced security.
- Reduced need for staff expertise.
- Reduced “customization fever”
- Third-party integration? There is no perfect, truly all-in-one software platform out there today for the mid to small business. Heck, even the large enterprise is bolting on additional tools to get more out of their CRMS. What third-party tools are you using now that absolutely MUST work with your CRM?
- Google (Gmail, Calendar)
- UPS / Fedex
- Landing page software
- SMS software
- Softswitches to record phone calls
- Social media accounts
- Customizable? While I recommend you use your CRM as-is when you begin before you start tweaking it, customization can be an important consideration. However, I like to use tools that meet 80-90% of my needs right out of the box. If I have to spend an excessive amount of time manipulating it...what am I really paying for?
- Ease of use? I've used at least 75 different platforms since 1997 and I can tell you that most platforms work fine if you take the time to learn them. But few users do. So find a platform that has both great on-boarding for new clients and great customer support. That's why I love HubSpot.
- Stability of provider/developer
- Niched to your market
- Services offered
- Social media integration
And the party's just begun.
Next I'll get into some detailed questions you must ask yourself to really get into the nitty-gritty of choosing your small business CRM. Get ready to get uncomfortable.
If you need more help growing your sales, consider the following resources:
- Sell More This Month
- Automate Your Monthly Sales For Just $9
- Hire The Best Keynote Speaker
- Fix Your Follow Up Failure
- HubSpot vs Infusionsoft
- Ontraport vs Infusionsoft
Or just contact me and we'll set a time to speak.