Customer relationship management (CRM) has gone through so many changes since we last wrote about the Seven Advantages and Disadvantages of Implementing a CRM Solution that I thought it would be a worthy exercise to revisit and update that post.
Everything you need to know about CRM is best summed up by this famous quote: “CRM should really stand for Compulsory Requisite Mandatory.”
Who said that? Clint Oram? Paul Greenberg? Larry Augustin? Worthy guesses, but no. I said that. Like Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey isn’t afraid to tell the world that some version of himself is his true hero, I am not afraid to state unequivocally that I’m right: Running a business of any shape or any size without a CRM solution is like attempting to make a phone call with a spatula.
Here are the seven advantages and disadvantages of implementing a CRM solution for your business:
1. You will convert more leads
CRM software allows you to track detailed lead information, and then ultimately convert more of them into sales. The details can go so deep that you can keep track of customer activity when someone does something as casual as visiting a particular page on your website. You can sync up your site with your CRM software, pull up a customer, and track all the different ways they have engaged with your website. Have you noticed that they keep visiting the same product page, but they haven’t made a purchase…might be time for a call or a meeting? This is the type of customer information you can receive on a daily basis.
2. Start building a knowledge base for your company
Say you had a member of your sales team who spent two years working for you, but took all her contacts and accounts with her when she left your company. Maybe sometimes she used a personal email account, in addition to her company account, and you have no way of knowing who she contacted that wasn’t converted into a customer during her tenure. If you were using a CRM program you would have been able to see the details of every: phone call, email, lead status, sales stages, contact information, purchases, interests, social media profiles…the list goes on and on, literally, every single way that a customer, or potential customer, was communicated to.
3. You have access to CRM program anywhere you go
You can take your CRM program with you anywhere you go, as long as it has a mobile platform. Ever leave the office without a customer profile? We’ve all had those calls where you have to operate on the fly without your detailed notes. If you have a mobile device, you also have the full power of your CRM solution. If you receive a call on your mobile phone, and you can’t remember all the details of the customer you are talking to, your CRM program will tie your phone call to the corresponding customer account for you.
4. You can customize your CRM to look and feel exactly how you want it to
This one comes with an asterisk. Yes, you can customize your CRM to look exactly the way you want it to, but with some CRM programs you are going to pay tons of cash for it to do so. One of the reasons we love Sugar (vs. Salesforce or Zoho) is that it is completely open source. Also, with Sugar there are no fluctuating prices, just simple to understand pricing without hidden charges.
5. You can consolidate programs
Customer service reps have a program for this, sales agents have a program for that and marketers have even still another program for whatever they do. With a CRM program, sales, customer service and marketing can perform all of their database-like tasks within the same program. CRM solutions are many things to many people, but the one thing that is a constant is that from a relationship management perspective you can keep everything in one place. One login. One program. Anywhere you want it.
6. Cost of implementation
Most of us are operating on limited budgets and adding another program can be costly. It doesn’t help that when you chose a CRM program you might be subject to hidden fees as previously mentioned. If you are looking into a CRM program and you start to feel like you are negotiating with a used car salesman, I’d urge you to think twice about purchasing said program. The costs associated with a CRM program are not just costs associated with doing business; they need to be clear and justified. If what you are paying for keeps changing and going up, you might want to re-think the CRM program you are using. You can’t run a business without a phone and you can’t run a business without a CRM program. Just like purchasing a car, the offer you see on T.V. is never the real offer you want. In the end you get what you pay for. However, with so many free training resources available I guarantee you will be up and running in no time, and making up your annual CRM fees in converted leads and sales.
7. Undoing old habits
Change is tough, but change is good. There is the famous break up scene in Annie Hall, where Woody Allen’s character says something to the effect of: a relationship needs to be like shark, constantly moving forward, otherwise it dies. With any new program there is going to be a learning curve. Training employees to undo what they’ve previously been doing can be a headache, but this semi-disadvantage is really more of a necessary inconvenience.
If you are still asking yourself the question is CRM really necessary, you are not asking the right question. What you should be asking is which CRM solution is right for me? You can read up on who CRM is for and why we think you should be choosing SugarCRM, or you can contact us and we’d be happy to give you more information on how implementing a CRM solution can be simple, affordable, and totally customizable.