Creating and managing your online business requires you to follow the same basic principals of any business - relying on sound Business Strategies. There are however, a few practices that differ or that just are unique to an online business. Here we share our views and experience with you to help you develop a more effective and profitable online business.

What is a CRM

Introducing you to What is CRM is.

In a few short minutes not only will you know the answer but you're probably going to use what you learn here to make your business more efficient and more profitable because, let's face it, operating a business has its challenges.

Every day you have to make decisions that affect your employees. Whether you're deciding what kind of coffee to buy for the office, how much you spend on recruiting or which software is best for managing your sales pipeline. We get it you wear a lot of hats and we're sure that on top of all of that managing your customer relationships is one of your major priorities. If you don't know what CRM stands for or what you might need it for don't worry because you're not alone but in just a few minutes not only will you know exactly what CRM is but you'll probably be scheming up a few different ways that using a CRM system will dramatically improve your business and boost your profits.

So let's get to it shall we? The acronym CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management but that's pretty general isn't it. I mean what does customer relationship management actually mean for business and why is it necessary to have a customer relationship management system in place?

Let's drill down a little bit more. CRM in its simplest form is a way to manage leads (people interested in your business) and your existing customers in the most efficient way possible. To extract the most value and buy value I of course mean money. More specifically it refers to the system a company uses to analyse customer interactions and measure data throughout the customer lifecycle.

The goal of CRM is to improve business relationships with customers through retention and acquisition and when you're able to effectively manage your leads and your customers more leads end up being happy paying customers. You build a loyal customer base who become your advocate and customers have a better experience with your company. Whether you're a small business looking for a place to store information and have it accessible across multiple devices or you're a larger business wanting to manage customer interactions and focus on improving customer satisfaction; you'll want a CRM software.

Many businesses surely try to solve these issues by using spreadsheets emails and other more exotic means before realizing that it's never too early to start using a CRM system because it simply makes everything much easier.

So now let's look at five ways you and your company can benefit by using the CRM.

  1. You'll have much better data organization just import your list of leads contacts and customers into your CRM and start tracking sales and engagement with leads and customers
  2. You'll have enhanced communication make it easy for your sales team to follow up with outstanding proposals by scheduling automatic reminders and creating a set of email templates.
  3. You can easily share information by giving your sales team access to the same resources through selective data sharing.
  4. You will catch all leads just create web to lead forms and embed them into your contact pages on your website. The information that is captured will automatically be pushed to your CRM and assign it to the appropriate salesperson which allows for a quick follow-up so you don't lose sales.
  5. You'll know your numbers. You can schedule weekly emailed reports so each of your sales team members know how close they are to achieving their monthly quarterly and annual goals. In fact, in a recent survey of users who have a CRM system in place; 67% said using a CRM system helped them better follow up on opportunities and leads and 56% said it improved customer relationships because all customer interactions are accessible in one place.

Think of a CRM as a tool you need to manage business relationships practices and processes. It's not a tactic, it's a strategy. It helps you manage more than just your business context but also your vendor relationships, internal sales activities and marketing teams.

An effective CRM helps you gain insight into your business sales performance so you can adjust your strategies based on trends. You'll also help your sales team stay on task by setting up something called automatic workflow rules which are basically automated actions and messages that are triggered by certain events. This ensures interactions with potential customers don't fall through the cracks and saves you time from having to repeat the same steps over and over again.

As you can imagine, there are certainly a lot of benefits to implementing a CRM system in your business. Let's take a look at some very common problems that having a CRM can help you solve.

  • You feel like you're swimming in information and can't keep track of it you're losing business because leads are falling through the cracks.
  • You have no idea if your marketing dollars are helping or hurting your business
  • You waste time try to find emails from a customer you're missing appointments and not following through on all of your tasks
  • You have no idea if your business is growing or how it's growing
  • Your customers have to repeat themselves every time they call your business
  • Each person on your sales team has a different sales process
  • You lost a hot lead or list of leads when an employee left your company
  • There's no consistency and email messaging sent to your leads
  • You have no idea if your Google AdWords campaigns are profitable because most sales closed offline
  • Your sales team has no way of prioritizing their task list
  • You don't have a way of collaborating as a team

You can now see that a good CRM lends itself to solving several different problems that rear their ugly heads in every business. And now that you're an expert on what customer relationship management is, it is probably time for you to consider how it might help you in your business.

How it helps and why businesses should use it

Start thinking about ways in which it can help your business I'm sure you've already got a few ideas brewing in that brain of yours. At the end of the day your business should be focussed on how it can "Close more deals in less time".

With what you have learnt here you're well on your way to doing just that.If you would like to look more closely at how a CRM solution can work for your business then call us at Top Left Designs to discuss your ideas and needs and we can assist you in determining if indeed you are ready for a CRMand what will be entailed to prepare you.

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