A CRM platform offers a centralized system to manage the entire sales process efficiently, and thereby optimize customer relationships. But is it actually required? How can you be sure you need it?
Here are ten tell-tale signs that you could definitely do with a CRM:
1. You are so busy putting out fires, you feel like a hero all the time
The tinge of satisfaction you get on resolving a tricky problem in the call center, or catering to a special request may be highly misleading. If bulk of your time is consumed with managing operational issues and problems, it means that you haven’t got your priorities right. It also means that you are not giving much time to the strategic thought that can take your business ahead. A CRM frees you up from tactical execution issues, leaving you free to address the strategic questions.
2. You just gave your most valuable customer the ‘cheakpskate’ look
This happens when you or your front office executive cannot distinguish your top ten customers from Adam. A CRM suite makes available a single view of the customer across the organization. The salesperson may think he is justified in treating the customer making a small two-penny purchase as a “small c”. But when this cheapskate also makes million-dollar purchases from the head office, the salesperson is making a big mistake. A CRM engine helps to connect the several “small c’s that go on to make a “big C.”
3. When customers come knocking, instead of salivating at the thought of new sales, you sweat
This often happens when data is locked up in silos and there are disparate customer databases, each providing bits and pieces of information. A CRM integrates that data, making it not just easier to retrieve the complete information regarding a customer, but also offering insights on how to extract maximum value from the customer. It may, for instance, highlight potential opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell.
4. “We will get back to you” has become your standard tagline
This happens when you have no idea of how much it would cost to service a request, or how much money you are making out of a specific customer. A CRM engine offers insights into such crucial information, allowing you to take decisions on the spot. In today’s fast-paced world, by the time you are done retrieving information and calculating, someone else would already have walked away with the customer.
5. You say “We will get back to you”, and then fail to do so
Advancing a customer up the marketing lifecycle invariably entails many small tasks. Keeping such tasks in the head or on scraps of paper is the sure route to doom. Something is sure to slip, sooner or later. A CRM engine helps keep track of all such small necessities – apparently mundane, but nevertheless important.
6. Your sales executive walks off, and all you can do is lament the “Good old days!”
Without a CRM suite that captures all information and makes it available as the organization’s intellectual property, the odds are that the sales person or a few people in key positions have too much information on their heads. The loss of such people then goes beyond the erosion of talent – it also means loss of the company’s competitive advantage. Having a CRM in place prevents you from being at the mercy of your sales executive.
7. You deliver a perfect cold call to your most loyal customer, or make an introductory pitch to a customer who is due to buy tomorrow
A CRM engine, which makes explicit where every customer is in the sales cycle, helps you avoid such gaffes and keep track of deals. In the absence of a CRM, all you have is several personal client bases, which would be invariably be outdated and overlapping.
8. You are holding so many meetings, you are nicknamed ‘Meetings Manic’
Not only are your sales executives working in vacuums, they have no idea what is happening at the next desk. The solution is meetings to share information, and draw up common strategy. The problem is that meetings are time suckers, preventing marketers and sales executives from what they are supposed to be doing – selling and engaging customers. A CRM engine makes most information available across the board, reducing the need for meetings and face-to-face interactions, leaving professional to achieve their brief.
9. You give working beavers and night owls a complex
If you spend your weekends in data entry, ten at night is your new five, and thoughts of coffee breaks give you nightmares, then it is time to invest in a CRM. A CRM suite makes life easier for everyone – managers, sales executives, marketers, IT, and others. For starters, it does away with the need to enter the same information on three different screens just to create a new contact. Then it makes retrieval of data easy. When the CRM is combined with a marketing automation suite, the possibilities become endless, as well as timeless.
10. Your customers think of you when they are asked to describe an “evil capitalist”
Low customer satisfaction scores are a sure shot indicator that something is seriously wrong. This is the most basic sign that you need a CRM system with analytics. CRM analytics allow you to look at correlations between metrics such as customer satisfaction, profitability and retention. This helps to guide branded communications and investments in cultivating customer segments.
In today’s highly competitive and fast-paced world where the customer is the king, not investing in a CRM engine may not exactly be optional – it is fast becoming a necessity. Trying to save money on this front may be akin to buying the latest sports car, but not investing in tires.
Image Credit: Jimmy Hilario on Flickr