As founder of a software company offering a popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, I still get asked questions by many business owners wondering why they should go for a CRM system and whether they really need it.
Does my business really need a Customer Relationship Management System?
My answer has become second nature by this time. Does your business have customers? Or if you are setting up a start-up company, do you plan on having customers? Hopefully, your answer to these questions is a resounding yes! In that case, then the short answer is “Absolutely, you certainly need a CRM system for your business”. The answer would be the same, whether you are operating a service-based or a product-based business.
That, of course, is not a very convincing answer, especially coming from someone who is offering a CRM software solution for a living. My philosophy, however, is to always drive the individual to reach a conclusion by themselves and this part is easy. I usually proceed by asking whether they can quickly provide figures for questions such as:
- How many open opportunities does each of your sales agents have at the moment?
- What is the total value of the currently open opportunities your business has?
- How many opportunities have you lost in the past month? And what is the leading cause for these losses?
- Are your sales agents doing the necessary follow-ups to convert their opportunities?
- What is the conversion rate for each agent at the moment, and how does it compare to last year?
Running a business without the ability to answer these questions easily is comparable to flying a plane without the necessary instruments. We simply cannot rely on our gut feeling. Our businesses demand that we make informed decisions. If for no other reason, it is because most of the competition is relying on technology for their Business Intelligence (BI) and that is giving them an edge over organisations that are not.
How do I choose the right CRM System for my business?
The real question is not whether your business needs to be using a CRM system, but rather, how do you choose the right one for your organisation.
First off, we need to have a clear understanding of what it is that we would like to achieve from a CRM implementation. The term CRM has become a buzzword and has since been abused along the years, using it to refer to software that does not necessarily focus on CRM capabilities.
Once we have defined our organisation’s wish list, we must look at other important aspects that will determine whether our CRM of choice and its subsequent implementation is a success.
Topping up the price in the hierarchy of importance are the following aspects that one should look at:
- CRM Scalability in terms of functionality. Will it be able to serve your business’ future requirements?
- Levels of support options provided by the CRM supplier. Your business will eventually rely on the smooth-running of the CRM, and you will wonder how you got by not using one. How responsive will your supplier be in the event that you need support from them?
- CRM Scalability in terms of usage. Will it be able to cater to your growing sales team, and how will that impact performance?
- Hosting options. Is the CRM cloud-based or on-premise? Most probably you will want to go for a cloud-based option, but that is a whole different topic on its own.
- Lastly, but certainly of immeasurable importance, is its ability to integrate with other current and future business systems such as finance and operations.
One should measure the power of any software system by assessing how well it performs what it says on the tin, but also how well it hooks up to other systems that are designed and built to focus on other key areas of your business.
Always start off by speaking to a consultant who is prepared to listen to your business goals and is willing to guide and provide you with what you need, rather than what they have to offer.