xWhy use CRM? Relationships Don’t Manage Themselves

Within even the smallest of companies there is a team of people, no matter how few players there are. Each member of the team is interacting with important contacts in varying ways – some by phone, in person, email or other means. These vital communications also range from customers and prospects to vendors and suppliers – as well as other company contacts.

A virtual e-book of history in the CRM

A virtual e-book of history in the CRM

In a larger organization, it is common that there might be several email communications being exchanged about a project or issue going out simultaneously between multiple individuals, both internal and external. Here we have an important historical chain of events occurring – a progression that spreadsheets and email simply cannot link together and organize into one central location.

A CRM system on the other hand, ties all related tasks, meetings, notes, appointments, documents and communications together with their appropriate contacts and stakeholders.

Relationships don’t manage themselves.

Managing all key relationships and the information transferred in the ongoing interactions is the lifeblood of any business. Saving and recording this information as data safely contained within a CRM system to be analyzed and tracked provides limitless resources for improving productivity and end results.

A successful business also needs to measure its activities and efficiency of operations. CRM software can help you develop and create custom tools to target specific problem areas and analyze performance. Some examples include:

  • Customer Profiles
  • Weekly Activity ReportsSample CRM Weekly Interactions Report
  • Contact and Mailing Lists
  • Project Reports
  • Libraries of Client folders
  • Sales Reports – Pipeline growth

The information gleaned from the data in the CRM system must be used correctly to evaluate and assess a range of customer, stakeholder and employee needs. It’s also important to note that making everyone part of the data collection and analysis encourages user participation. Together it is then possible to work out better procedures and tactics for improving the effectiveness of your efforts.

Start with a simple CRM strategy:

  • Decide which questions need to be answered. Maybe you want to find out why sales are being won or lost, or to track how many calls it takes to move a prospect to a sale. Perhaps Customer Service issues need to be reviewed to determine the reasons and average time it takes to resolve them.
  • Set up data entry fields within the forms in your CRM system to collect this information (or a process using the features and functions of your software) – keeping this to as minimum as possible.
  • Determine a reasonable minimum timeframe for the information to be collected.
  • Gather the results.
  • Share the findings with the individuals who have participated.

Keeping it simple to start is the best way to ensure a successful CRM launch, and it is best viewed as a continuous improvement project. Find the right starting point to know exactly what information you wish to extract from your CRM efforts.

Once implemented, the key to gaining insight and achieving optimum results is to commit to your CRM strategy and continually learn from the data the system provides. Then the CRM software can help pinpoint areas for improvement in existing processes, driving change in behavior that streamlines your operations and increases efficiency.