Managing leads and customers with sticky notes? Time for a CRM?

Yes is the short answer, always. Look around at your desk right now, do you have more than 2 legal pads that you keep your sales notes on? Well if so, it is time to upgrade. Maybe you are running a small business where you are wearing many hats. You very well may be performing the tasks for a sales team, marketing team, and the admin team. All the more reason to use a CRM!

Lets start with the basics: A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management Tool. They are used to manage all of your prospects and allow for a more targeted, efficient sales and marketing effort. A CRM is the management tool that allows for internal and external growth by organizing potential money. The biggest reason a successful new company may fail is because they get overrun with sales and potential sales. This causes miscommunication with the customers and leads to dissatisfaction with current customers and prospects. Each and every customer or prospect needs to feel as though they are your only own and this simply cant be done with a legal pad. Sorry.

I was working with a very successful finance firm about a year ago that had seemed to have stagnated. The business had been around for about 10 years and quickly grew to a couple million dollars in gross revenue but could not seem to get to the next level. As I started getting into the books and the different departments I learned that they were not using a CRM. When I inquired further I found that each outside sales representative was responsible for drumming up business however they chose and there was minimal reporting of their success. This is a big no no. CRM’s allow for shared pipelines, monitoring of leads and progress, and most importantly are proven to be a more efficient streamlined sales process that leads to more sales. We quickly implemented a company wide CRM that office administrators had access to as well. This allowed for a streamlined calendar, timely reports for reps, and ability for managers to monitor their sales numbers. Within one month we saw a 20% increase in the sales pipeline.

The Sales team and sales process is the driving force behind every business. Of course, there are other departments that are integral to the growth of a company, the sales team is the heartbeat and ultimately what keeps food on the table. That is why the CRM is such a crucial tool to implement and guess what a lot of them are free or very inexpensive. (Remember something is better than nothing)

The critical elements of a CRM are as follow: Lead Assignment, sales representative monitoring, integration with advertising (No lost advertising dollars), instant scheduling with calendars, call logs, email tracking, and task reminders (Ex. email in a week). There are many more features but these are by far the most critical. Most reading this started their business because they were good at something, however, I would be willing to bet that most people did not start their business because they were good at running a business. Use the tools that are available to you even if there is a learning curve because you will see a nearly instantaneous ROI.

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