“A business absolutely devoted to Customer Service Excellence will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”
-Sir Henry Ford
Do you remember the time when you started the business? You knew the names of your customers, and their spouses, names of their pets, their next international trip and where their kids went schooling. Then the business grew and it started becoming difficult to keep track of all these things. Business grew even further and now you cannot possibly remember how many customers you have in total. So how will you evolve your sales strategies without having this insight into your customer behaviour?
Few organisations have been able keep a meticulous record of customer interactions in spreadsheets or in notes. However even if one is able to maintain the same, it will only act as a recordkeeping tool and will not throw any information which may be further used to create a better customer experience. Given this, many organisations have started using Customer Relationship Management tools (CRM). Before you follow their suit, there are factors you need to consider.
Migration of existing data
You collect important customer information everyday. Over the years, without realising, you have created a warehouse of invaluable data points which cannot be bought from anywhere. This data, if used properly, can result into further growth of your business. It is very important that you use a CRM which gives you the freedom and ease of migrating your existing data. Many CRMs offer various ways in which the data can be migrated. Chose the one which best fits your existing database.
Ease of use
Most CRMs fail in organisations not because of lack of features, but because of poor adoption rate. Due to lack of understanding or a complex user interface, the users keep on using the existing way of recording information. Chose a CRM which is easy for a user to understand and adds value to your business.
Reports are the most important feature of a CRM. They should give you the kind of information you require to make critical customer, marketing and sales decisions. They should be simple to understand and downloadable in different formats. Some CRMs provide a differentiating feature of customizing the reports yourself. Many CRMs charge for this feature separately while some CRMs gives you this feature by default.
“On an average, sales and marketing costs range from 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate for more sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%.”
You may be launching sales campaigns from time to time. Can you keep a track of which campaign was successful and which was not? How much was the cost to benefit ratio for each campaign. There are CRMs who help you keep a separate track for each campaign. Also while the campaign is live, you can create groups and interact with the team on a social engine on CRM itself while they login the lead and progress through the customer lifecycle.
Compare plans and Trial
CRMs create plans according to features of user base. Compare the plans carefully and see what features are absolutely essential to your operations. Check which company is providing those features in their basic versions. Plan your user requirement well and take higher plans for savings. Also go for testing trial versions and see which CRM is offering best features and suiting your organisational needs.
Help and Support
Are you more comfortable talking to a chatbot or a human available on your dial? There are merits and demerits to both. Every system has its teething issues and you may need someone to train the users how to create an account, create leads and opportunities and change the stages for a meaningful interaction. Chose a CRM which is more suited to your conversation preferences, with a strong help section and easy accessibility to company representatives.
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”