CRM, we all know the term but what does it really mean? From speaking to hundreds of businesses small and large, the answer is: it means something different to every single company. Sure, there are commonalities, I mean everyone needs to put their data somewhere but there are also a lot of differences. And this is exactly why so many businesses get frustrated and confused when looking for new business system. The reality is, the majority of software and apps are designed around one generic process which for many may only be a 10% fit for what they need, if they are lucky.
Before you set out and set-up multiple cloud accounts and try and work out how to use them while you attempt to contrast and compare what they can do; it is vital to conduct an internal review to specify what you really need to get out of the system before you go shopping. Only then will you get something that’s fit for purpose.
- Define What Your Business Means by a CRM
This may seem simple but don’t assume your supplier is on the same page. The proper definition for a CRM is a Customer Relationship Management system, which when they were first developed was centred around the marketing and business development areas of the business, it was simply a sales database. From talking to many businesses, it’s clear that many are either looking for a straightforward marketing database, or others believe that a ‘CRM’ will give them an end-to-end solution (or ERP) which is very different to the majority of ‘CRM’ software systems on the market.
Let’s face it, with the technology available now, you should be able to do more than simply have a list of prospects and clients. Technology is meant to save us time but still so many organisations are using multiple processes, from manual, to spreadsheets and apps to get one, single job done.
It’s time to get the other departments involved. Your business has a lot more processes, pretty much all of which touch marketing and sales and you can save significant time and potential errors if they all link up. Ask yourself, what would make your life easier and mean you can serve your customers even better?
2. Map Your Processes
It seems simple to say ‘map your processes’ but it isn’t always easy to do! Businesses grow organically and adapt according to the conditions, technology, people and resources at the time and perhaps right now, you’re doing things you don’t need to do, or don’t want to. A simpler approach might be, what would be your dream process that would save you time, stress and serve clients more effectively? This could include removal of duplicated tasks, automated workflows and task allocation, customisation of database fields and screen layout, or integrations with other business processes such as your accounting software. What is the information you need to make life simpler?
The reality is, technology has developed so much that it should no longer cost the earth for you to get a system that directly reflects how ‘your’ business works. A few years ago, it might have been the domain for big business but now micro and SME businesses can also capitalise on customised software, enabling them to save time and make information simpler and easier to interrogate.
3. Identify the Resources You Really Need
The past few years have seen a multitude of apps hit the market, all claiming to solve your problems but typically, they are solving one problem at a time, e.g. expenses. What frequently happens as a result, is that employees now use a multitude of tools to get a job done, increasing rather than decreasing double-keying of data. What would be your ideal scenario? CRM systems exist that can also upload and track expenses and timesheets, push and pull data from lead capture and marketing systems like Mailchimp, generate and send purchase orders, pull in orders from online platforms and even generate invoices without you having to re-key sales information in your bookkeeping software.
If you find you need to keep some of these third-party tools, remember, you should be able to systemise the process across the business. The simplest approach is to integrate these tools into your CRM software, giving you one workflow and one set of data. If your CRM solution doesn’t allow this, or provide these features, you will be able to find a system that can.
4. Where’s Your Data & Where Should it Be?
Now, a data audit is hopefully something you undertook on the run up to the GDPR deadline but things can change and employees can go rogue and suddenly start saving data on spreadsheets because ‘it’s easier to log my sales’ or, ‘it’s easier to run a report’. One single business software solution will enable you to keep all data in one place and control data security risk. In addition, it should make it easy to run reports and know where you are on sales or other key business information stats at a click of a mouse.
5. Where are You Wasting Time & Efficiency?
Be honest, where are you wasting time, what don’t you know and can your system solve it? Whiteboards, post-it notes, knowledge in people’s heads, spreadsheets, information on desktops, standalone apps, tickets, dockets, colleague communication, data transfer from app to app, double-keying data such as invoices, no single overview of real-time inventory and sales. Have a brainstorm to check what would be your priorities to solve if you could.
Now, for many small businesses this can seem like a bit of a headache. You’re already working long hours to manage the systems you have, right? If it feels like you don’t have the time to review or implement a new system. What if staying where you are is holding you back from growth, or from time with the people who mean the most to you? Systems like Workhorse provide ‘Software-with-a-Service’, a custom cloud business software that is designed around your business processes saving you time. What’s more it grows with your business with your own account manager implementing the updates and changes you need to your system and all at a cost that doesn’t break the bank for an SME, starting from Essential Solutions that can be built into a tailored system for you.