I often meet a lot of business owners and executives that are pondering the merits of purchasing a CRM system for their company.  Whether you’re a small business the size of 100 employees or very small at the size of 5 or less, a CRM can prove value to your organization.  Here are 7 things a CRM will teach you about your company.

1. Who your target market is

One of the  things that our customers experience during their CRM implementations is the realization that they really didn’t know who their target market was until they started developing demographic information of their customers.  We developed items such as industry, employee size, total revenues and many other factors which once we’ve cleaned up data and imported it into a CRM we’ve created a different picture.  A lot of the times people are surprised at just how far off they were from their target market they were.  Or maybe they realized the frustrations they had before a CRM was primarily due to the fact that they were not targeting their ideal customer.

2. What opportunities you’re missing out on

Ever had a point in time where customers just “went to the competition”?  A CRM is a great tool at helping you establish consistency in following up with your customers and prospects.  In today’s world there are so many options for customers to choose from so you want to make sure that you stay top of mind by using a CRM to remind you to follow up with customers just in case they are in the market for something you can offer them.

3. What your sales forecast looks like

I was speaking with a sales manager recently and he said that whenever he wanted to know what the sales pipeline looked like he would simply ask his staff by email or picking up the phone.  They were always off the cuff and quick responses from the sales people that never added up to anything.  With a CRM you not only get to forecast out revenues but help determine if the sales people are doing what they said they would.

4. Who your best people are

I need to emphasis one thing before I go into this item.  A CRM should never be about being “big brother”.  Nobody wants to be micro managed and watched, so don’t do it.  But, do use it to see how your people interact with your customers through marketing, sales and customer service.  How quickly does your company respond to customer inquiries?  Are emails being monitored?  How long does it take to get quotes out?

5. How often your customers purchase from you

When you combine your financial data with a CRM system you’re now able to run reports to find out how often customers are purchasing from you and which ones have longer sales cycles.  You can now uncover the purchase cycles and use it to your advantage to follow up at the right time.

6. What communication has occurred

The next time your customer calls in, all you need to do is type their name into your CRM and voila, everything you ever needed to know about the customer.  No matter how or how small your company is, this is critical.  Get a $20 a bunch CRM if you need to but track all of it and do it effectively.  You will look like a rockstar in from of your customers when you speak to them and know the details of their organization intimately.

7. Who your most important customers are

My last bullet point is my favourite.  Who are your most important customers.  You can use the 80/20 rule to find the 20% that drive 80% of your revenue using a CRM as you would with an accounting package but now you can dive deeper.  What are they buying?  Why are they important customers?  Why do they generate so much more revenue?  You’d be surprised to find some of the details in there.
These are just 7 items that I think of regularly when meeting with our clients.  If you’re on the fence on why a CRM might be of value to you, I hope this gives you a bit of perspective on some of the possibilities you could have with a CRM system.
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