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When To Use a CRM

man needing a crmAre you facing challenges in generating a consistent flow of quality leads, closing more deals in less time or providing quality support with limited resources? It may just be time to consider investing in a CRM software.

Timing is everything when investing in a CRM platform. Begin too early and the program could seem overwhelming to you and your staff. Begin too late and you may experience loss of customers and even potentially a bad reputation for poor customer service!

5 factors that could prompt you to consider a CRM

Though every business has different thresholds that would potentially influence a decision, the following five are found to be a common experience among most companies:

  • Customers take longer (more than a week) to make a buying decision
  • You need to send different emails to different customers
  • It takes you longer to create and analyze your campaigns
  • Your analytics don’t provide detailed data on your campaigns
  • You are targeting different demographics

Far from a complete list, you could characterize these as limitations that don’t truly allow a business to reach and cultivate more customers. But, they are an indicator that your current tools and resources are in need of an upgrade.

In comparison, let’s look at a couple of situations that really call for the use of a CRM.

Client/Customer Management

Managing the basic necessities of ten to twenty clients may seem relatively easy at first, but customer needs grow. When it takes a week to respond to a concern or issue, or you can’t remember the last interaction you had with a particular customer, your base tends to evaporate quickly.

CRM software can help you to track customer interactions so you can see each time you communicated, every marketing collateral sent out and interacted with, and even transactions made, making sure your you adhere to a productive calendar. You can even setup alerts, which we’ll discuss later.

Revenue Tracking

Do you know what you customer acquisition costs are? Are you seeing a return per customer equal to what you spend in promotion? If you don’t have an answer to that, then you may be unwisely spending money that you don’t need to.

CRM software can be of big assistance to an accounting department. Whether totally integrated or offered through third-party add-ons, the worry over tracking every revenue opportunity, shipping costs, discounts, and client cancellations is lessened. To see the entire buying cycle and get insight on understanding customers behaviours can help you target the more lucrative opportunities during the different buying stages. In doing so, weak performing campaigns can be excised and replaced with higher performing marketing promotions across all your different market segments.

SLA Compliance

An SLA, or Service Level Agreement is the minimum level of service that a carrier will deliver to you per your agreement. It is not a guarantee or an assurance that you will get that service. It means that when the service dips below that level, an alert is usually sent to the proper management team member.

A key to good customer experience is to ensure all requests and issues reported by the customer is addressed without letting anything fall through the cracks, failing to meet SLAs.

Nothing could be more frustrating to a customers than to follow-up about a request and only to discover that it is not being worked or, it is in a queue waiting unattended.

Sales Forecasting

A sales forecast is a projection of sales to be closed by an individual sales rep or sales team during a defined time period, It’s usually calculated monthly, weekly, and quarterly.

The one thing that a salesperson or sales manager needs to think about every single day, it is whether they will meet their upcoming forecast. Unfortunately, sales departments often suffer from inaccurate forecasts due to three main reasons:

  1. Salespersons make forecasts based on emotions, instead of factoring in past sales history and current opportunity data.
  2. Sales managers often lack the visibility to track forecast changes over time and make sure that they remain realistic.
  3. A salesperson’s focus is divided. This includes prospecting calls, follow-ups, appointments, emails, and tasks for that day.  This often leaves forecasting as the last thing in the sales person’s mind until it is the last day of the week, month, or quarter.

When accuracy suffers, a system of checks and balances that assist in forecasting keep the target in focus.

Customer Retention

Using CRM software helps in knowing your customers, eg. who they are, what their interests are, and how they behave. If you really begin to understand your customers, they can eventually become long-term, loyal customers.

Yet, if you see turnover more than you like, you make not be attending to their needs in a timely manner. Statistics show that it costs much more to gain a new customer than retain a current one. Why make your job more difficult?

Once you gain an understanding of your customers, it’s easy to target them with things like:

  • Special Product or Service Offers
  • VIP Rewards Programs
  • Personalized Outreach Programs

As you interact with customers, you’ll establish a purchasing history from which to draw insight. With this information, you’re free to create a solid customer base to attract new customers.

When to use a CRM will vary from company to company, but the signs that indicate a need for change are very clear.

For more information, please look into our CRM and marketing automation resources.