There comes a point in the life of any business owner where things might feel a bit… out of control.
You might be frustrated because the company isn’t growing as much as you think it could. Or, on the flip side, it could be growing so fast that you’re completely overwhelmed and unsure about how to plan the right next steps.
Well, we’re not saying a CRM is the magic bullet for all your business problems. But there are nevertheless ten very good reasons to use customer relationship management software. We’ll look at them below, but first and foremost, a quick definition:
What is CRM exactly?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a system designed to do just that: manage relationships with your customers.
In practice, it looks like a computer program (app or software) that lets you log customer data, see who they are to your business at a glance (leads, prospects, loyal customers, etc..) and prioritize what next steps your business should take.
Note that if you want the full, in-depth answer to that question, including the history of the term, we’ve got you covered with this article.
And now, let’s see the tell-tale signs your business might need one.
1. Your customer data is all over the place
Sure, you may have your faithful Excel spreadsheets at hand, but have you ever found yourself searching for a shipping address through your emails? Or struggled to contact a customer whose phone number had been changed?
This is one of the beautiful things about CRM systems. Anytime you get new customer information, you can update it in one place and one place only. No more sticky notes scattered all around the place. Everything is centralized, whether you work alone or with a team of 100.
Bonus point: some CRM platforms even make the customer data import process super easy. For instance, Act! can automatically update info directly from Outlook.
2. You lack visibility into your sales team
This is a problem that grows exponentially with the number of salespeople at your company. Every new agent might have a different way of doing things, which can lead to data silos, and make you feel like you’re out of the loop.
Here again, CRM software works as a powerful centralization tool, because every customer interaction can be logged, tracked, and monitored.
3. You have too many points of contact
Email, phone, social media, support ticket, live chat, messenger apps…. There’s no shortage of communication channels for your users these days, quite the opposite.
The only problem? It can make it harder to keep track of who said what, when, and where.
By documenting a history of all your interactions with customers, prospects, and leads, you streamline communication, which helps with support, marketing, and sales. Best of all – you can still give customers all the options they want. The key point is that it all ends up in the right inboxes from your end.
4. Customers complain about service/support
Customer complaints come in many shapes and forms, but they tend to boil down to one thing: frustration about how you communicate with them. Maybe there’s not enough information. Perhaps they have to resubmit the same details numerous times. And maybe they’ve been in touch with multiple agents, all of whom told them different things.
This is once again why having all your customer data in one place can be a lifesaver. No more cross wires when it comes to reaching out to your customers, no matter how many sales or support agents you have: they all use the same database with the same information. And it all gets updated in real-time.
5. Manual data is lengthy, and often wrong
Updating multiple systems involves manual data entry, which tends to be time-consuming and also error-inducing. You might find yourself with duplicates, typos, and simple mistakes that can cost your business in the long run.
With a CRM, you can grab a customer’s info from, say, an online form, and automatically import it into your system. It’s fast, efficient, and works with multiple integration touchpoints, like email, calendars, or social media.
6. And so is manual reporting
Bringing data into the CRM isn’t the only process you can automate. Getting data out is just as seamless when creating reports. Since all your information is in one place, reports can be in-depth, filtered, and tailored to only focus on the critical information, such as closed deals per quarter, daily MQLs and SQLs, or answered support tickets per agent.
7. You struggle to focus on the right customers
Finding customers is difficult enough as it is, but knowing which ones are truly valuable for your business shouldn’t be. With a CRM, you can list customers based on how much they have spent with your organization, their yearly budgets, or which recurring products they might need. This helps to anticipate their needs and bring in more business when your sales agents can upsell, cross-sell, or simply strengthen their relationships with them by accessing the right data.
8. Lead flow is becoming harder to manage
If you’ve got more leads coming in than you can manage, CRM systems are again excellent at prioritizing. Your team can become more independent by listing leads in order of importance, delegating to the right sales agents, or simply being more proactive in contacting the right person.
And if you’re concerned about sales agents stepping on each other’s toes, don’t worry. You can easily add comments and notes in your CRM software and assign permissions for the team, so only the managers get to see certain information.
9. You need to streamline communication
As your business grows, communication issues will increase. This is true of whether you hire extra marketers, support agents, or salespeople. A bigger team means more tensions between departments and a lot more passing of the buck when things go wrong.
Unless, of course, you are smart about the workflows you put in place through your CRM tool.
Centralization is vital here, as all the communications are kept in one place and easy to manage in the form of tasks and reminders.
10. You want to save on scaling your operations
A CRM platform saves time, which means fewer expenses on admin and management. Using the right CRM tool also allows you to onboard more staff with fewer training overheads, as they only have to learn one dashboard instead of several.
Similarly, you only have to deal with one vendor instead of several, which saves time and resources that can be allocated to what matters the most: growing your business with complete peace of mind.
There comes a time in the life of every organization when growth needs to be handled smartly. You might have too many business leads, or too many sales agents to really get a sense of what’s happening. Or you might find that your support is overwhelmed with customer requests for better service.
And while CRM tools are first and foremost used for managing customer relationships, the truth is that they can do so much more, including improving communication, unifying departments, and saving you time and effort on manual tasks.
Ready to take the plunge? Make sure you learn more about what features to look out for in your next CRM tool here.