John runs a travel agency. When he started out 5 years ago, his most valuable capitals were his passion for exploring new places and a keen eye for details. Operating with a small team of 3-4 individuals on a bootstrap budget, John made do with the most familiar tools that he could afford. With time, the business grew! Today, John’s travel agency has a robust team of 40 and an ever-increasing clientele. But, he has been using the same tools for managing his business so far. As a result, he is feeling the data-pinch like never before! Spreadsheets that need updates are piling up, data is scattered across devices and customer data is not organized. To add to this nightmare, John has started facing customer-complaints for delayed follow-ups and simple errors.
Sounds familiar? Well, our good friend John is not alone to face this crisis. The situation is much the same for most small and mid-size businesses. In general, when a business starts out, the team size is small and so is the clientele. Thus, one can manage it well with generic tools such as spreadsheets, Google drives etc. But, with time, managing these tools become a challenge on its own.
So, what’s the solution?
The solution here is to add a CRM to your business! CRM or the ‘customer relationship management’ is a software that (yep, you guessed it right) lets you manage your relationships with customers in a much-organized manner. A CRM is an essential investment for any business that intends to grow. But, does your business need it now? Or can it wait for another year or two? Here are 3 indicators that’ll show you, whether your business needs a CRM system now!
If this statement is true, then either your team is spending an enormous amount of time updating these spreadsheets or (worse) there are zillions of spreadsheets screaming their hearts out, demanding update. While the first situation is definitely a humongous waste of man-hours, the second one is plain scary!
With multiple spreadsheets shared across teams, it becomes almost impossible for different departments such as marketing, sales, and customer service to access up-to-date data on the drop-of-a-hat. As a result, sales efforts get hampers and customer service suffers!
Here, a CRM is the perfect tool to store data in a centralized location which is accessible to your team members across the team
Follow-ups are critical for closing sales. But, how exactly do you keep track of all your follow-up calls and meetings? Sticky notes? Spreadsheets? A legal pad, maybe? How many times do you call up a sales rep to remind her to make an important follow-up call? How many times you had to pacify an angry prospect/customer because one of your executives has missed a meeting or forgot to call?
As much as you like to blame the sale reps for their forgetfulness, it is only but human for them to forget sometimes. The real problem lies in the absence of an automated system where all upcoming follow-ups can be stored, and notifications can be sent to the concerned person for the same.
A CRM does just that! With the system in place, your team will never (ever) miss out on a follow-up again. Not only the system notifies the concerned representative about an impending call or meeting, it also sent out notifications to the immediate superiors of the representative in case the follow-up was missed. This way you can ensure productivity as well as measure the performance of each employee without losing your peace of mind.
Acquiring a new customer is good. But selling to your existing customers is even better! Why? To start with there’s no lead acquisition cost. Plus, as you already know what the customer likes and how she purchases things. And, you can use this knowledge to speed up the sales process. Wait! Don’t you have all the records of previous purchases of a customer? Sure, you do. You have all the information regarding her last purchase stored in a spreadsheet that is residing safely in the laptop of a sales rep named Mark who has left your business a month ago. But, that’s not all! You do have the spreadsheet saved in your Google drive too; only with some 23500 more spreadsheets that stores sales records year-wise and month-wise. But, for the love of God, you can’t member when the customer made her last purchase; and thus, can’t find the spreadsheet. So, you ask the customer when exactly (year and month) she made her last purchase. Not surprisingly, she gets irritated with your FBI-like questioning and leaves.
You see why you are missing out on cross-sale and up-sale?
When it comes to selling to your existing customers, previous data is a gold mine. If you know the customer has purchased a microwave oven last month, you can suggest her microwave-safe cookware. If you know the customer has purchased a computer last year, you can suggest an extended warranty for it. But, pitching to an existing customer without knowing her purchase history is not only ineffective but also a sales-crime of sorts.
The CRM system keeps track of the purchase history of each customer, making it easier for you to target existing customers for cross-sale and up-sale opportunities.
There comes a time for each business when it out-grows spreadsheets and Google drives. The above three scenarios are the biggest- ugliest indicators of that. So, if your business is showing these signs off-late, it is time to implement a CRM system and start growing.