Let’s face it, when people (especially computer people) start throwing initials around, it’s natural to expect trouble.
But in this case the news is good – as you may have seen in a previous blog. So to recap:
CRM stands for Customer Relations Management.
A CRM program can save time and effort (by keeping all your data in one place, so you only need to enter it once, rather than multiple times in different programs)
The program can connect directly with your accounting system
It will allow you to keep email records and phone call records on file with the customers, and the potential customers, they relate to – so everything’s in one place
It allows other team members – or your friendly virtual assistant – to pick up with a client exactly where you left off.
Which all sounds very attractive – unless, perhaps, you’re worried about adding to your running costs. (‘Quite honestly, Mr Cratchit, I don’t see why you can’t use a quill and ink like the other clerks.’)
So here’s some news to delight even an unreformed Scrooge: if you have fewer than 200 contacts you can start to use many very useful CRM programs without spending a single penny…
Better yet, you and your team can be a lot more productive once a CRM system is in place. Because if you don’t have one, how long does it take you to find all the information about that customer who last got in touch 18 months ago? (‘For heaven’s sake, Jenny, don’t you ever back up your emails?’)
But before you take the time to check out what’s available, you need to answer one very simple question…
Do you actually need a CRM system?
For a small company, with a small and select clientele, it’s probably enough to have a well-planned spreadsheet. (As far as the emails are concerned, just add some rules in your inbox. Give each client their own folder, and send all the emails to do with that client to their designated folder – automatically.)
If you only have 20 clients, you don’t need CRM! But if you’re growing – and starting to struggle – it may be time to start looking.