Finding the right CRM

Posted On: March 19, 2016 1 Comment

Why you should use a CRM
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution should be a godsend to most businesses. Trying to manually manage your emails, email follow-up, phone calls, customer interaction and notes, cross referencing of records, prospecting, management of stats and analytics, to name but a few things that you are likely to need to take control of, then ensure that all your sales and/or admin staff are fully up to speed can be a nightmare without a good software tool to do this for you.

What you should expect from your CRM
Your customer should be at the front of your business strategy and you are not being efficient if you try to achieve this through manual processed. You cannot do everything and as humans, we make mistakes. The best way to optimise this objective is to harness the power of technology to streamline this for you.

By making this investment, your business will benefit because, the right software tool will help you better understand your customers, their needs and to be able to personally tailor offerings to them. This information can be shared across your business team, which in turn will help to service efficiencies, marketing efforts and ultimately sales.  With the right system enabling you to manage your knowledge systems, you should expect to benefit across three principal areas:

Marketing: Your marketing efforts can be enhanced through a better understanding of your customers, their behaviour, expectations. This in term means, you can effectively manage planning, design and control of targeted campaigns and prospecting. This will not only keep your customer at the heart of your goals, but will also serve your sales team.

Sales: The former process will feed your sales efforts by aiding management of your sales strategy and pipeline. The knowledge and information here can in turn feed into your after sales work.

After sales: Follow-up is important and your aftersales team, armed with full knowledge and information about the customers experience to this point will be in a better position to improve among that experience, continue management of the relationship, providing technical support such as fault reporting and requests for information.

What you should consider when choosing a CRM solution
As we firmly believe at In4Media, it’s all about driving efficiency through technology, which means, getting the job done in the most optimised manner.  All businesses are fully aware that time is money, without technical process to aid you in streamlining business efficiency, your efforts will be unproductive and inefficient, ultimately costing you in the long run. Technology is there to make the process easier, so you should use it. The only thing you need to do is find the most suitable system to manage your needs.

Things to think about when looking for your system
So now you know you need software to help manage your customer relationship. How do you go about choosing the system that is right for you?

Start with the basics: Think about what are your specific business needs that need to be met.  Think about the problems you have, the things you would like to handle in a better or easier way. These may include and by no means be limited to keeping customers records (contact details; communication notes, call recordings, email tracking); monitoring your sales pipeline; scheduling follow-ups, setting KPI’s, managing data analytics for insights and direction, projecting ROI, how much you are prepared to spend, etc. etc.  Do not forget to note down after sales support on the ‘things I need list’. It is important you are clear on how much support you will get for the product, how long will it last, whether there are fees or costs involved with this service and the level of access you have to support services. You should be aware of when can you contact them and what means of contact are available to you).

Make a list: List the things you have identified on a list called ‘things I need to resolve’, then set aside another list and call this list ‘other’.  On this list you are going to write down anything you come across when you start researching that you may not have thought about and either realise that you need or maybe would be useful or helpful to you, but do not necessary need. Now that you are prepared, you can begin researching.

Research: You can start with search engines to see what CRM are out there. You can search on social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Forums, etc. to see what’s available but more importantly, read what users are saying about these tools. Product reviews are always useful, as they reflect real users’ views. We say this loosely, as of course there will always be biased or non-genuine reviews on the internet. You can also look for reviews on the companies behind the products as well. It is good always good to get an idea of what people think about them and the service they provide. This is likely to be a good reflection of the type of service you might expect from them. That said, be careful about sites that are directly promoting a product. This is not to say that the content is questionable, you just need to bear in mind it may be biased. Ask other business owners or people that you know about the systems they or people they know are using for their business. As you conduct your research and start looking at products, you need to start identifying products that will resolve the problems you have noted on your ‘things I need to resolve’ list.  At the same time you should make a note on the blank list of all the other features that you come across that you did not have on your ‘things I need to resolve’ list.

On completing your research, review your ‘other’ list and decide whether you really need these items for your business, or if they would just be nice to have (meaning they are not absolutely necessary). Once you have determined this, either add it to your existing list of requirements or leave it on this ‘other’ list.  Once you have completed this task, rename the other list ‘would be nice list’. We suggest doing the process this way for a simple reason, and that is to stop you coming across things and convincing yourself you really need them and unnecessarily adding them to your ‘things I need to resolve’  list.

A good way to make a note of your findings, is to use a table layout, so you can cross-reference your findings against the different products. You can use a plain old piece of paper, or software like Excel to organise your findings. Keep a note of the product name, price, and features and other important things previously mentioned such as the level of customer support you will get, in a short but easy to recall way.

In final conclusion
Remember, there are plenty of systems out there, and many of these will have features that go well beyond the scope of your requirements. Do not be blindsided into thinking that it is better for you to buy something like this because of all its features. Now that may be fine, if you have the cash and foresee that all of these feature will be of use to you in the near future, but if this is not the case, you are likely just to be putting yourself to unnecessary additional costs. Further, there is the possibility that all these extras will serve to distract and simply confuse matters with respect to the tasks that you really need to address.
Once you have completed this exercise, you should be in a good position to narrow down what product is going to be most suitable to you out of all the options you have identified. If you find something that offers a trial period, that’s great, then you can try it at no risk. However, always read the terms and conditions. Good luck with finding the right CRM for your business.
We hope this article has been helpful to you and you find the right solution for your business. Please feel free to let us know if our information has been helpful in helping you identify the right product. Also, if you find a product that you consider to be very useful, share this with us by leaving a comment. Tell us why it was great and why you would recommend it. By sharing your experiences you can help give value to others.

Posted In: Blog , CRM , Marketing , Software , Tech Talk

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