When I tell people I work with CRM, most of the time their eyes glaze over as if I started speaking another language mid-sentence, the general public has no idea what a CRM is.
Even when I ask employees that have been using CRM what CRM stands for they often don’t know. Recently when I asked a group of salespeople one responded “Can’t Remember Much”, which is technically wrong…but I liked that answer because I consider memory extension* one of the many key features of CRM.
I’ve also asked existing CRM users ‘How does CRM benefit you?’, and I have gotten varied responses from blank stares to raving endorsements. Below I make a high level outline of what some of the micro benefits CRM offers to an individual in a sales role.
• Extend the memory of the sales person – We are all human and have our human limitations. Notes, Views and Interaction logs in CRM can reduce those limitations and can make a sales person smarter and more detailed in their approach with a client.
• Make consistent reliable follow up – Whether a person or the organization decides to automate follow up, the benefits run deep by creating interval reminders in CRM making it less likely for a customer to be forgotten.
• Ensure that people don’t slip through the cracks of your organizations processes – When processes are left to humans, things tend to get forgotten or left out, tally these potential sale omissions up from an entire sales force and you have likely left a hefty sum of cash on the table.
• Ensuring consistent process – CRM should be representative of your sales process. When that process is clearly documented in CRM, it allows for it to be clearly understood and strictly followed.
• Quantification – A business owner once told me he had no idea how many monthly leads they got from the internet (before they had CRM) this was crazy to me, “if you don’t know how many you’re getting how do you know how well you’re doing?”. Automation means quantification and numbers will always tell a story that can shape your business’ direction.
• Organization – I can’t tell you how many sales peoples offices I have been in where they have a shoe box full of index cards with client contact info on them, and those were the organized ones! CRM gives a system of organization to a person who may or may not be organized – a benefit to any salesperson.
• Effective targeted marketing – Some companies use email, other post cards, others phone blitzing, regardless how you market, CRM will benefit the individuals marketing efforts by being able to target clients or client groups and cater more specific marketing materials for those clients using tools such as Advanced Find “I want to send this email to all the clients in CRM that have been entered in the past 3 months, live in this zip code and have over $100,000 in estimated assets”.
• Simple features – CRM makes it easy to attach documents to a record, capture time/date information on interactions and search records, among many other small, simple features that allow clear information on a client’s record.
• A well designed and implemented CRM focuses on the CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP – This is the “leg up” many business have on competition, consistently treating their customers better than the average business. One element to this strategy is accessible client information and consistent process, both of which can be innate features in CRM.
• Quick Access Anywhere – I hate business cards, I also hate not recording enough information when entering a contact into my smartphone. CRM gives mobile access to retrieve and enter data, so a salesperson can have the right information in the right place from the start.
I have personally worked with thousands of sales people and seen the scope of their ability to manage their pipeline (often times it is not very impressive). I have also seen CRM change the way individuals sell, taking them from mediocre to exceptional. For those of you who have CRM, this list is a reminder to use CRM on the front line, bake it into your sales process and enforce it from the top management down. When you multiply the benefits mentioned here for an entire organization you have tremendous potential for process improvement and increased opportunities.
For those that have not yet made the CRM jump for your business, now is a better time than ever and Solution Systems, Inc. is here to help you step through the process making sure it is done right. Oh and CRM really stands for Customer Relationship Management.
*The memory extension feature is not officially licensed by Microsoft because it is not real, furthermore for this feature to function correctly a salesperson must enter information on clients and then revisit the client record to read that information.