Taking Control of Your Customer Relationship Management

What does CRM do for your Business?

There is so much functionality in CRM software today that there can be any number of answers to this question. CRM is defined as the strategy a business employs to manage all the company’s interactions with customers and potential customers. The backbone of any strategy will be a system by which all the contact information, correspondence items and any other data you so wish is logged within a software package. The immediate benefits from this being:

  • Centralisation and sharing of data within the business
  • Improved customer service
  • Happier customers
  • Savings in time and money

Any CRM system however is only as good as the data that is put into it and therefore business processes need to be designed to capture the correct information.

CRM Strategy

In order to build your strategy you need to start with the basic question of what you want to achieve. There is a long list of possibilities here but could include:

  • Tracking potential sales
  • Building targeted marketing campaigns
  • Employee workload analysis
  • Project management

Each of these goals requires a set of data fields within your software and an associated set of business processes to gather, input and maintain the data.

The Problem with CRM

The fact that a CRM system can ultimately be whatever you want it to be can sometimes be to its detriment. For those trying to implement a new system either for the first time or as a replacement to an existing system there can be a temptation to achieve too much. Many businesses also suffer when their CRM evolves over time into an unrecognisable and disorganised structure.

The key to ensuring your system is fit for purpose is to involve all parts of the business in the planning and implementation stages of any CRM project. Choosing the right CRM software is probably one of the most difficult tasks due to the variety available and the adage of ‘try before you buy’ has never been truer.

The Cost of CRM

The monetary cost of buying the right software is somewhat belittled by the cost of time and effort that is required to plan, implement and maintain it successfully. The best way to analyse the expense to the business is to quantify what gains can be made as well as looking at the costs of not implementing a CRM system.

The Bigger Picture

CRM is more than just a tool for sales and marketing teams to be organised and efficient when dealing with customers and prospects. It defines your way of doing business from the daily processes on the shop floor to the strategy meetings in the boardroom. In today’s competitive world the success of a business can often be decided by how it is perceived by its customers, prospects, suppliers and partners alike and a proficient CRM system is crucial.

“How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” Bill Gates

CMC Partners have extensive experience in practical business management – if you would like a free informal chat regarding your CRM system or any other business matter please get in contact.

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