Who loves managing their data with spreadsheets?
Nobody. Well, very few people have a passion for spreadsheets. It’s not that managing your data with spreadsheets isn’t helpful, it often is. The use of google sheets and other cloud resources can make their utility quite efficient. Why then do they become a nightmare for most people? Because of the overwhelming amount of information, you need to keep hold of. At some point, you just need a resource that is going to manage and automate the process for you. Enter, Customer Relationship Managers.
A Customer Relationship Manager, or CRM, is probably the number one tool your business should be using if it isn’t already. If you are a small business, then there is no excuse not to be using one as there are now multiple great options to use some of these programs for free.
So what exactly is a CRM and how can it help me in my business?
A CRM is all about managing your customer relationships, right? Yep! But they can do this in some pretty powerful ways that you probably aren’t aware of. The first and simple task of a CRM is to store and list all customer details and relevant notes related to the sales of these customers. Check. Now that we have all that information in there, what can we do with it? Well watching your sales pipeline or funnel is key to pushing your potential clients from leads to a win. Most CRMs help you manage deals related to customers a visual and intuitive way. Now that you have all your deals sorted you can see which deals you should be focusing on. A good CRM will notify you on deals you haven’t touched in a while.
Email integration is another powerful way you can use a CRM. Why waste time copying and pasting information from an email to the relevant customer when you can have email integration. Every time the customer or yourself emails each other the CRM will pick up these emails and add it to the relevant customer or deal. How good is that? Some CRMs will even let you email from within the client. Our favourite types of resources are “All-In-One” tools that let you do everything in the one place. It saves time, energy, and just makes life easier.
There are plenty more tools we could go into detail about, but we’ll list some of our favourites.
• Automated email marketing
• Integrated knowledge base
• Task manager
• Social media plugins
• Support ticket management
So why start using a CRM?
I understand the urge to hold onto using all those spreadsheets for managing customers. You’ve had this system for years, you know it, you trust it. The greatest advantage you will get in letting go of your old system will be time. CRMs are designed to do the work for you, and save you time. Depending on the formatting of your spreadsheets (and the CRM) you may even be able to import all your customer details and relevant notes right into the system, so switching over may not take all that much time either. Many of these programs are free or relatively cheap. Obviously the more tools you are going to want to use the more it may cost, but you often can start off on a free or lower priced plan and upgrade when your business is ready. Watch out for one of our future blog post as we compare which CRMs are out there and which we think are some good picks.