CRM.1Anyone who has their own business has probably have heard of the term CRM – however a great deal of these people don’t actually understand what it means. In short CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, although this is a general term and it does not really take into account the full scope of what a CRM really means.

Obviously, customers are the backbone of your business- without them your business would fail. CRM or the implementation of a CRM web service is a way that a business goes about organizing, marketing, managing, handling and tracking customers and potential customers. To do this successfully a specific CRM software program is used, which is usually is a software program which can then be altered to suit the individual business.

There are some features of a CRM software program that all businesses will use such as:

  • Customer contact details – it is essential that these are kept up-to-date and accurate as communication with customers is crucial to any business.
  • Customer order details and analytics – it is essential that these details are up-to-date and accurate as they are needed to process jobs, create invoices and track you customer activities.
  • Quoting, helpdesk software, and invoicing tools – having such tools within a CRM program means that users do not have to have several programs open at once.
  • Outstanding debt and payment information.
  • Current tasks/jobs that outstanding and in which department.
  • Employee information, this can be anything from employee contact information and departmental information to information relating to employee wages and holidays.

CRM for Marketing

CRM also plays a large role in a targeted marketing to customers and future customers, it can help a business plan a marketing strategy based on a number of critical data like previous sales. This means that you are not wasting money on marketing campaigns targeting the wrong demographic. Similarly a CRM helps the sales staff when they are speaking on the phone to customers as it can help them to identify trends in customer’s habits which can then enable them to up-sell products and increase profits.

When using a CRM in your marketing strategy, you now have the ability to track all customers and prospects throughout the sales process.  When using the CRM to map the entire Sales Process, by each campaign, you identify the type of ‘touches’ and the analytics with each strategy.

Incorporate CRM into Your Business

While salespeople are obsessed with targeting new leads and closing deals, they don’t have a track record of being excited about using a CRM. When the topic of CRM is brought up to many salespeople who have used some form of CRM in the past, expect eyes to roll, to hear heavy signs, and even to see some salespeople ending their own life in some comical fashion. This reaction is justifiable as older CRM systems have a reputation for being clunky, limited in function, and perceived to be a waste of time. Because CRM systems are constantly being re-engineered for maximum efficiency and flexibility, CRM’s today are hardly recognizable to salespeople today. Still, the bad taste from past CRM systems remains. How do you get your current sales team to start using your CRM system? There are a few different methods.

1. The benefits of using a CRM

Part of the reason you probably want your company to start using a CRM system is to increase sales – and CRM does this. With critical customer background information your salespeople have the maximum amount of information about a customer before the sales call or sales appointment is ever made, this allows the sales representative to customize the appointment to the customer’s needs. When a sales call is more focused on the customer’s needs rather than a sales goal or a salesperson’s commission. When the customer’s past orders are visible to the sales associate, this gives the sales person an opportunity to either sell the customer more or, at the very least, get their feedback on their past purchase for future business. With all of this knowledge available to them, this should work as great incentive for sales people to utilize CRM for not only the benefit of the entire company, but their own sales.

2. Provide the proper CRM training.

After showing your sales people the benefits of using a custom CRM system, implementing a CRM will be an uphill battle without the proper training. Arranging for the proper training doesn’t have to be an elaborate event or require too many resources. Just setting aside some time for a certified CRM consultant to show your sales team the ropes and answer questions. You may also consider having a follow-up training session over lunch or some other related event where sales people, after having had a chance to use CRM, bring their questions, voice their concerns, or share how CRM has benefited them so far.

3. Build CRM into your existing system.

You’ve talked up the benefits of CRM and given your sales staff the proper training in order to use it, but you still have a few sales people who are dragging their feet. You may feel like you’re running out of options, but there are a few more things you can do. One of the ways to ensure that your sales people utilize your company’s CRM system is build it in to your existing systems. Because of the tremendous versatility of today’s CRM systems, CRM can be used to make announcements, to share data, to make marketing decisions, and much more. If your sales people are receiving leads via email or some other system, switch that avenue to your CRM. If your sales team has to use CRM in order to access their bread-and-butter leads, they’ll have no other choice but to utilize the investment your company has made in them in the form of an effective CRM system.

As you phase your CRM system in, begin to phase your older systems out and make sure to have a pre-determined date your sales team knows about when older systems or methods will be completely gone

4. Get Serious about your CRM system.

Sales people are a very independent bunch of workers. While on one hand, sales people work to sell products and services for a company, many struggle to be “team players” in order to have a vision of what’s best for the company as a whole several years down the road. It can be easy for sales people to forget that, though their pay is usually directly based on their ability to sell, they are ultimately part of a team just like everybody else.

5. Incentive to Use the CRM

If a company makes the investment in their sales team in the form of a CRM system and a sales person refuses to use it, those are resources going to waste.  Not only have you wasted the money in the cost of the CRM system, but also what is the ultimate cost in the form of lost sales opportunities that would have resulted from properly implementing the CRM system.

Build in the compensation program for your sale people with an incentive or dis-incentive for the sale people to use the system.  This can be easily justified if you need the services of another staff member to help build the critical data into the CRM system.  At a future date, this redundancy will need to be addressed and the sales person needs to realize that as of a certain date, the ship will set sail, with or with them.


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