When your business was a start-up, you probably had a small number of customers and it was fairly easy to keep track of them in a spreadsheet.
As you gain more customers and begin managing larger volumes of customer data, you’ll likely reach a tipping point in which you could benefit from a more efficient system. But how do you recognize it’s time to upgrade?
Are You Ready for CRM?
A CRM software solution is designed to help organize, track, maintain, and review all data associated with sales, marketing, and customer service. It can help manage your company’s growth, keep your data organized, and give every user a live view of the information.
Here are 5 indicators your business is ready for CRM:
- Your processes are failing and sales are suffering. Selling isn’t easy. But you shouldn’t be losing sales because prospect information is being misplaced, you’re forgetting to follow-up on leads or your sales team is spending too much time figuring out how to organize and manage customer information than actually selling.
- You are losing customers. Acquiring new customers is great, but holding on to existing customers is even more critical. Retaining customers and encouraging repeat business is all about building relationships. Yet as your business grows, it can become more and more difficult to keep track of all those personal details that helped you build your relationships with customers.
- Accessing customer data takes too long. As your customer base grows, the volume of customer data you manage grows along with it. Without CRM, accessing important data, such as payment terms, buying patterns, big spenders and response rates, can become a cumbersome and time-consuming process. If you’re responsible for managing a large number of customers or a large volume of orders, chances are you could benefit from CRM.
- You’re losing sight of what’s working. When you close a sale, you need to be able to identify what worked. That way you can try to replicate it. If your sales process has become so complex that you can no longer identify what works and doesn’t work, it’s time to take a hard look at CRM.
- You recognize it’s time to integrate. Do you wish your customer information was assessable to areas within your business? Is your hard-earned customer data going into a black hole, suppressing you from gaining real insight as to what’s going on with your customers? A CRM solution gives you a single, centralized place to store your customer data so that everyone on your team has access to it.
Ultimately, when manual business processes become too cumbersome and handling all the marketing, prospecting, sales, and customer service is no longer an easy thing to do, you are probably in need of a CRM.
Test Drive with a Free Trial
If your business is growing and any of the above points ring true, you should at least be exploring CRM options. Most vendors provide free trials so you can test drive the platform and see how your team will benefit from it.
The free trial period can be crucial to understanding the extent of how the CRM will help your business. Further, getting your hands on the tools will help you gauge how easy it is to use, which will give you a better idea of how well your team will adapt to it in their workflow.
You can see all the demos and talk to the reps all you want, but until you begin using it, it’s hard to fully understand how the CRM solution will function in conjunction with your business processes. Here are four keys to keep in mind while using a CRM free trial.
1. Involve all key users
CRM software can be used by a variety of different departments and employees – from sales associates and marketing specialists to customer service reps, management, and everyone in between. It’s important that all key team members use the software during the free trial; not only because it will give them each firsthand experience, but also because it allows you to test out the different functionality by department. Involving others also gives them a chance to share their input and offer their own evaluations, ultimately helping you make a final decision.
2. Make sure you’ve had a walk-through with a sales representative
Before going into a free trial, make sure you know the basics and understand the navigation and layout. A demo from a sales rep will go a long way to help you understand how the CRM solution can best be utilized for your unique situation.
3. Use the type of data that your company has
Although you should not use actual, sensitive company information, it is best to use as similar information as you can when using the free trial. The closer it is, the more accurate a picture you will get of how the CRM will work for your company’s data and the users.
4. Be on good terms with your sales rep
Don’t avoid your CRM sales rep. Speaking to your rep before, during and after your CRM free trial will allow you get all your questions answered and help fill in any blanks. It also gives you a chance to touch base with them and set up a future meeting should you wish to continue evaluating that particular CRM solution.
Choose What Fits Your Situation
At its most fundamental level, CRM is a central hub to collect, store and utilize sales data. It allows you to keep your information organized and access data precisely when you need it. From there, CRM can create efficiencies for almost every department in a company, from managing customer complaints to marketing automation, email marketing, accounting integration, and more.
Choose the CRM that will best benefit your current situation, but also one that can be increasingly utilized as you grow.