If you’re currently running a business - whether you’re just getting started or you're a veteran in your industry - chances are, you’ve heard of CRM software. Better yet, you’ve heard about the importance of CRM. As multiple studies have shown, there’s no denying that adopting a CRM can have transformative results for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
As of 2018, approximately 90% percent of businesses are using a (cloud-based) CRM. If you’re not one of them, you’re going to get left behind. You’ve probably been thinking about it for a while. Maybe it’s the next item on your to-do list. You shouldn't wait any longer. Now is the time to put your plans into action.
6 signs your business should invest in a CRM
One word says it all: security. It seems like not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the latest data security breach. Some of the world’s largest corporations have suffered huge breaches in the last few years, and the damage to their reputations have been irreparable. Consumers are finding it hard to know who they can trust with their personal information. This is why data security is one of the most important factors in running a successful business today. It’s essential that your business has a reputation for keeping sensitive information where it should be - out of the hands of hackers.
Keeping customer, employee, and financial data on Excel spreadsheets (or even worse, paper) is completely unacceptable in 2018. Manual processes not only leave your data vulnerable to security breaches, but they also put your data at risk of being lost altogether. CRM is your answer to storing this information in a safe place, allowing access to only those with proper permissions. Additionally, a reputable CRM vendor should ensure your data is redundantly backed up, mitigating the risk of data loss. With a reliable CRM in place, you’ll gain your customers’ confidence and protect the reputation of your business. You can go home knowing that you’ve done everything in your power to protect your business’s sensitive data.
2) You’re having trouble understanding your customers.
Now that we’ve covered how to protect your data, it’s time to discuss the importance of data organization. A CRM acts as a centralized database for every piece of relevant business data you can imagine. From sales and marketing to production, shipping, customer service, and accounting - you can find it all within your CRM.
Where are you storing this information now? Scattered on post-it notes, cumbersome spreadsheets and hard-to-understand accounting systems? If that’s the case, information is disorganized (and at risk of getting lost). And lack of organization makes for a lack of understanding of your business.
As much as you think you understand your customers and what makes them tick, a lack of comprehensive data analysis and integrated reporting leads to a lack of knowledge. With the powerful tools a CRM provides, you can better understand your customers' buying habits, communication preferences, and demographics. Understanding your customers ultimately leads to more sales and higher levels of service. Given the insight a CRM provides, you’re bound to see significant results in these areas.
3) Your customers aren’t getting the love they deserve.
Step one is understanding your customers. Step two is keeping them happy and loyal to your business. This is significantly more challenging without the power of a CRM. With the centralized database a CRM provides, you have direct access to well-organized information about your organization’s interactions with your customers. We’re talking about important information such as their preferred methods of communications, their order history, and records of their interactions with your customer service staff.
If you’re noticing a high level of customer complaints, a likely cause could be the lack of a centralized database. Imagine the nightmare if a customer calls to complain about an issue and your service representative is unaware of the problem. Your service rep will likely find it difficult to deliver quality service in a timely manner. They’ll be too busy searching for the information they need to help the customer. This type of poor service leads to a frustrated customer, every time.
The reality is, complaints are bound to happen, but your staff should be prepared to handle them efficiently. And on the occasions you do receive negative feedback from customers, you’ll be able to turn to your CRM to get a clear understanding of what went wrong, allowing you to prevent it from happening again in the future.
4) You’ve been questioning the efficiency of your employees.
If you’re still using manual processes - submitting orders via paper and using spreadsheets to track important sales, prospect, and customer data - you’re wasting time. There are much more productive ways to get things done.
Especially in a growing business, a CRM is one of the best ways to automate your processes and standardize the way each department operates. Standardization leads to higher visibility. Easy-to-use dashboards, file sharing, and comprehensive reporting make important data accessible to everyone in your organization. When your employees are able to see the progress of their co-workers' tasks it helps them avoid communication breakdowns, and collaboration between departments is enhanced. Ultimately, your CRM will be the go-to source for information, allowing your employees to maximize their productivity on tasks that positively impact the business. They’ll be able to track prospects, make sales, serve your customers, and deliver goods and services rather than spending time on repetitive tasks and manual processes.
5) You’re seeing poor sales results (or none at all).
Perhaps you’ve considered transitioning to a CRM but you’re worried you won’t see tangible results. If that’s the case, look to your sales department. Does your sales organization consistently fail to meet their forecasted numbers? Have you been wondering about how salespeople are positioning your products and services to prospects? We’ve shown that a CRM will improve efficiency and the quality of service at the customer level, but it also acts as a centralized database for prospect information; a place that provides exact data on every crucial piece of information about a lead and what it will take to convert them into a customer. Additionally, a CRM gives you complete visibility into your sales team’s interactions with their prospects.
High-producing salespeople are skilled information gatherers, and they know how to use their information to position themselves (and their product) as the perfect solution for their prospect. If you’re tracking sales leads and prospect information manually, you’re not only lacking visibility into the interactions your salespeople are having with their prospects, making it hard to ensure they’re following your sales methodology, you’re also doing them an injustice by failing to provide them with tools that maximize their productivity.
Manual processes lack strategic clarity for nurturing leads and opportunities, making it harder for salespeople to do their jobs. A CRM can use automation to notify sales reps when it’s time to follow up and help them stay organized in their pursuit of new business. The last thing you want to hear from a salesperson is that they missed an opportunity - or lost to the competition - because they didn’t have a reliable way to nurture their prospect. Implementing a CRM will make salespeople more effective and lead to higher sales numbers, ultimately having a direct impact on your bottom line. And there are your tangible results!
6) You’re finding it difficult to make decisions.
As a business owner, one of your most important roles is making tough decisions in a timely manner. Have you found yourself delaying crucial decisions because of unclear data, or a lack thereof? Are you able to make hiring decisions or effectively plan for a new product launch?
With a CRM, you’ll have a powerful system to capture business performance information, in conjunction with a business analytics package. This empowers you to make critical decisions that will likely impact the success or failure of your business. A CRM will give you important historical data and take away the need for speculation about your business. You’ll be able to answer questions, make critical decisions, and plan for the future without any guesswork.
This is not a comprehensive list. However, these are some of the biggest telltale signs that you shouldn’t wait any longer to invest in a CRM for your business. If you’re seeing a lack of efficiency, poor customer service, and missed sales opportunities, it’s time to take a hard look at what can be done to improve. The business issues we’ve discussed today should be taken seriously. If ignored, the results could be detrimental.
It’s time to sit down, do some research, and develop a plan for CRM implementation. After all, the software will not only pay for itself, but you should see huge improvements in efficiency, sales, service, and decision making. A CRM will also give you the confidence that everyone in your organization is completing their work with high levels of productivity.
At Make Your Cloud, we’re CRM experts. If you’re still wondering whether or not a CRM makes sense for your business, reach out to us for a free software consultation. We can help you understand if now is the right time for implementation and, if so, what features will bring the most value to your business.
Changing your business processes can be challenging, however, transitioning to a CRM should be near the top of your to-do list. A CRM will help you avoid the potential pitfalls of manual processes and will put you on the road to further success in your business. Don’t hesitate. After all, the success of implementing a CRM can only be judged by the results.