10 Reasons why you need a CRM

10 Reasons why you need a CRM

Yes, it’s another 10 reasons why you need a CRM.  This time I wanted to focus on pain points that you are probably experiencing in your business today.  As we grow our businesses we’ll find that we are constantly trying to plug the leaks as they spring left, right and center.  We’re big believers in CRM but why exactly what you need one?  Here are some key indicators that it’s time to implement a CRM in your business.

Before we start with 10 reasons why you need a CRM, If you have any other “reasons”, we would love to hear them.  Feel free to email us, tweet us or post a message below.

And here we go!

1. Your teams can’t remember everything, your CRM can

Are you finding that your marketing, sales and service teams just can’t keep track of everything?  I could imagine that you’ve seen some sales reps loaded with sticky notes across their workstations.  They may even have piles of paper lined up inside of their car as they go from appointment to appointment.  The CRM is designed to remember everything about the companies and individuals that you work with.  With your CRM you can track everything from notes, favorite baseball teams, favorite restaurants or the names of their kids.  The CRM is there to help you keep track of relevant information about your customers.

2. Your sales and service teams spend too much time searching for stuff

I’m sure we’ve all heard it.  You’ve asked your sales rep to let you know where things are at with ABC Company.  The sales rep quickly jumps over to Microsoft Outlook and starts searching for that last email he sent or maybe, the prospect sent to him.  He really doesn’t know without scouring his email.  This is the way many businesses do it without a proper CRM working for them.

What really should be happening is your sales rep should be opening up your CRM (hopefully SugarCRM!) and simply searching for ABC Company.  With the click of a button, your sales rep can be reading off the historical summary of all interactions with ABC Company.

Or better yet, you could simply look it up too.

3) You have no way to measure success

We live in a world of numbers and metrics.  Any successful business owner can tell you how important metrics are in their businesses.  Your CRM can become your hub of metrics and key performance indicators based on the data within your CRM.  Your CRM is your ultimate hub of information where you can tie in the data that your marketing, sales and services teams can input into.

4) You have no way to predict or forecast sales

Are you crossing your fingers that you will make enough revenue for the company in the coming quarter?  Your CRM can help you forecast out and project what your sales numbers could ultimately look like.  If you’re finding that things are a bit slow then maybe it’s time to run a campaign to boost numbers.

5) Your sales process is broken or non-existent

Do you have a sales process in your business?  What are you doing to track each stage of the sales cycle with your prospects?  Every customer goes through a detailed customer journey.
Developing these stages and identifying them as part of the sales cycle is critical to ensure that you get the right messaging and information to your prospects in a timely manner.

6) Your salespeople are using sticky notes

When we talk about data import, many of our customers like to tease us about all of the sticky notes that their people have accumulated over time.  Unfortunately, we don’t do data import for sticky notes.  You could hire someone to do the data entry and that can do the trick.  If you’re finding your sales staff using sticky notes to stay on top of things then this is an obvious reason for needing a CRM.

7) Your sales reps rely on their Contacts App instead of Mobile CRM

Your sales reps are using the contacts app instead of Sugar Mobile.  This is another one of the 10 reasons why you need a CRM is so critical.  Your sales reps should be using the mobile app of your CRM to capture information while taking phone calls.  It’s also likely that the CRM is more than up to date than the Contacts App simply because everyone in the organization is updating the CRM.

8) You have no way to find out how many and what type of customers you have

Your CRM is not only a collection of tasks and sales tracking.  Your CRM should allow you to develop a comprehensive profile of your customers so that you can categorize and organize them in a way that you run metrics and reports to find out who your customers are.

9) You have no way to organize customers by account manager (unless it’s just a spreadsheet or more sticky notes)

Your CRM allows you to organize your accounts by account managers.  This allows you to develop specific accountabilities for each person on your team.

10) There’s no single source of information

Last and but not least for 10 reasons why you need a CRM, there’s no single source of information.  With a CRM, you’re bringing everybody together to share information in one location.  Many of the organizations that we work with find that their greatest challenge before getting a CRM is that they have no way of keeping tabs on the multiple CRM’s that have sprung up between sales reps.

Simple Lead Management Process

Simple Lead Management Process

Building a lead management process can either be a very complex process or a simple process.  If you’re a small business, I would venture to guess that you likely have not even considered building a lead process at this point.  I’ve heard from a number of people how they have “a lot of leads” and they’re not even sure where they are supposed to start.  I recently spoke about this during a workshop and this diagram that I am sharing is the document I reviewed.

I like this document because it’s dead simple.  It’s high level but it also helps us build a foundation around how a lead management process should work.  Let’s take a look at the sample lead management process that I’ve put together.

Sample Lead Process

Sample Lead Process

This diagram is meant to be silly and straight forward.  I don’t think diagrams should be over complicated when it comes to describing how a small should define their systems.  This is a perfect example of that.  Each area has a certain focus and I’m going to describe each a bit more in detail. (more…)

Why it’s important to plan your CRM implementation

Why it’s important to plan your CRM implementation

Technology Business Assessment

Is a Technology Business Assessment important?  Do I really need one before planning and implementing my CRM?  The short answer is, YES.  You must plan your CRM implementation for success.  Performing a Technology Business Assessment and implementing a new CRM system go hand in hand.  But first….What is a Technology Business Assessment?  Let’s refer to it as a TBA…

What is a TBA?

A TBA is an in depth assessment of your business process and how it utilizes technology.  It’s really the first step to plan your CRM implementation  In order to build out a custom CRM solution, we first need to know details of your business inside and out.  A TBA is typically a full 2 day discovery process by one of our CRM consultants.  This includes interviewing stakeholders and key employees, job shadowing, documenting requirements and reviewing your current software systems.

What do I get out of it?

After we perform your TBA we will present you with a future state workflow diagram.  We compare your current and future workflow state and explain in depth how this new workflow fits inside of your CRM.  A complete Implementation Blue Print including cost and a project schedule.


Why is it important?

Everyone knows that not every two businesses are ran the same.  Of course we could set you up with a new CRM system, import your data, do a little bit of training and send you off.  But how successful would that be without knowing what is involved in every step of your business flow?  Understanding and defining your business from the inside out, which is achieved through a Technology Business Assessment, directly relates to how successful your CRM implementation will be.


Now, a TBA is not entirely necessary before every implementation.  It can be something situational depending on your business size and business model.  If you’re unsure if your business can benefit from a Technology Business Assessment, get in touch with us.

List of free CRM Solutions

List of free CRM Solutions

There are so many FREE CRM solutions out there but where do you start?  Is there a catch to the software?  Are the companies stable?  What features and options do they offer?  There sure is a lot to think about but here is a list of CRM products that offer either free subscriptions or are entirely free.

Bitrix2412Higher end product but offers a lot of features.
CRM# of Free UsersNotes
Capsule2Not a lot of data storage, 250 contacts maximum, unlimited opportunities and cases.
FreeCRM100Only free for 1-year. Subscription options afterwards.
Insightly2Limitations on number of records, custom fields and up to 200mb storage.
Really Simple Systems2Up to 100 accounts.
StreakN/AUnlimited inboxes. 50 Shared boxes. Based on Gmail.
TealCRM51GB of storage. Free for life. Canadian company.
Zoho101GB of storage. Application limitations

Canadian Small Business: We can be more competitive if we used technology better

Canadian Small Business: We can be more competitive if we used technology better

In the past several weeks I’ve been starting to do a lot more research into the impact of technology on small businesses in Canada.  A lot of statistics that I’m pulling do fall in line with a lot of the perception that I have when dealing with small business owners.  The most striking thing I’m finding is the difference in comparison to our U.S. counterparts.  Less than half of our small businesses are readily using technology to enhance their business whereas more than 70% in the United States actively use technology to improve sales and marketing.

You can probably pinpoint a lot of the missing areas and I can give you a few quick examples even from this past weekend with traditional businesses.  I was out visiting friends in the Okanagan region of British Columbia visiting a few wineries.  We bought wine and did the usual tastings.  We visited 4 wineries in total (including 1 restaurant) and not a single one of them attempted to do the easiest thing possible.

Ask me for my email address.

The wine industry in this area has been growing for years and it is incredibly popular.  Now imagine you’re in charge of marketing for one of these fantastic locations.  You’ve just had me come through your vineyard, tasted wine, loved it, and even bought a few bottles at each location.  Imagine if you could send me teasers by email and promote local specials or invite me back for special events.  In some cases, even order cases to be delivered right to my home.

If you implemented something like this, do you think your sales might increase a bit?  What if I told you is that all it would take is about $20 – $50 for a service to help you automate the email notifications and promotions out to your “new” marketing leads?

Another example are private camping grounds.  I’ve been to drive in campgrounds such as KOA’s in the USA and they have one slick online experience.  I now get regular promotions on KOA sites throughout the continent.  Now I don’t expect private campgrounds to do cross promotion but I’ll give you another recent example.  I was out camping near Chilliwack, British Columbia a few weeks ago and the camp site had a few noticeable things going on:

#1. They had a number of sites still available on a Saturday.

#2. They had a number of unadvisable groups attending that didn’t fit the “family” model.

In my mind if you had a system in place to track your visitors and actually grade them then you might be able to better target the type of people you want (with discounts, promotions and invitations to come out).  You could easily track historical information about your visitors and then during the slow times, send out a newsletter inviting everyone out for camping.  Trigger them to remember that they visited your campsite and had a good time.

I’m one of a regular routine.  I always order the same dish at a Vietnamese restaurant and the same goes for Sushi.  I’m a creature of habit.  If you promote it the right way, I’ll come back to your campsite but if I don’t feel a connection; you’re just another campsite.

Once again, maybe $20 – $50 or even less, maybe even free depending on what types of service you’re trying to pull off.  But ultimately you’re not looking at a big investment and the return on that investment is easily achievable and easily measurable.

Canadian small businesses can be more competitive and they can excel better if they take time to research some of these tools to help them achieve success.  The apprehension I think is that we simply don’t know what we don’t know.  We need to spread the word around our small business community that technology can be easy to adopt and it can create value and revenue almost immediately if done right and done in a simple way.