A start-up business can keep track of sales in Excel: reflect transactions in one document, keep a customer base in another, and work with analytics in the third. But over time, the data grows, and managers start to confuse tasks. As a result, more and more dissatisfied customers appear.
A business working in Excel also has other problems: they forget to enter data into tables and change the statuses of sales processes, so analytics becomes useless.
CRM will help fix these problems – a program that helps manage processes and always provides up-to-date data on the work of the sales department.
We will tell you how to understand CRM, what to look for in the first place and from what mistakes to protect the budget.
What is CRM and why is it needed
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a customer relationship management system, namely a program or service in which you can draw up a step-by-step universal sales plan and carry out each new transaction according to it.
Modern CRMs help automate many steps in this regard: they send a template message to the client, generate a commercial offer or a contract at the right time . CRM works like an advanced day planner, reminding you of planned calls, appointments and other activities that are needed for a sale.
CRM is not a magic pill for all sales problems. If the company has not set up business processes and sales are chaotic, the system will not help. But if the sales process is structured, CRM will be useful: salespeople will spend less time on routine actions and will be able to sell more, and managers will have access to analysis of the effectiveness of processes and employee actions.
What problems can CRM help solve?
Usually CRM is implemented in order to increase the quantity and quality of sales, start monitoring processes and objectively assess the effectiveness of employees. Here is a list of problems that the system usually helps to solve.
Clients are not lost
CRM creates a new deal immediately after the client’s request, through an application on the website or through a message in social networks or instant messengers. At the right time, the manager will see a reminder of what needs to be done to advance the deal.
Managers don’t forget to add customer data
If you maintain a customer base in Excel, an unscrupulous or inattentive manager will quickly ruin everything – for example, he will simply ignore the filling of the customer base. This will not work in CRM – the manager will not be able to advance in the sale process until he fills in the necessary cells in the buyer’s card.
Sales conversion is on the rise
Managers don’t forget anything. CRM reminds that now according to plan for each client. Buyers get what they want, which means that the number of successful deals is growing.
Learning newbies is made easy
In a CRM system, a sales plan is structured by stages. The training of a new employee can be carried out immediately in the program – modern systems are intuitive, so the manager himself will understand what needs to be done for the first transaction.
Customer base is not lost
Customer data is stored in CRM, not in the manager’s notebook. Therefore, if an employee leaves, clients and transactions are not lost – they can simply be transferred to a new person.
Easily analyze employee performance
In real time, you can see not only the total revenue for each employee, but detailed analytics of his actions. How many times a person communicated with new customers, how many commercial offers they sent, what is their conversion conversion from one stage of sales to another. Such analytics help to maximize the employee’s skills and give him the job in which he is successful.
Small and medium-sized businesses usually choose any of the ready-made CRMs, most have similar functionality. Therefore, you can look at the convenience of using a particular program, choose to your taste. Large businesses are more likely to develop their own CRM and ERP systems.
In the case of CRM, the problem is not how to choose the program, but how to implement it. To do this, you need to select a separate person, together with him to analyze all the company’s processes that need to be automated and integrated into the system.
Employees are generally not supportive of any changes. To overcome resistance, you need to conduct training, demonstrate all the advantages and conveniences of the new system. Better in practice. For example, in the past, to issue an invoice, the manager had to request it from the accounting department. In CRM, it is enough to press two buttons: “generate” and “send”. Inform your employees how exactly CRM will increase the speed and quality of work, how it will help them earn more.
Rinald Sadykov , CEO of Terabit Digital
Essential features for an optimal CRM
Choose a system with functions that will help automate and optimize your business processes. Here’s a rough list.
- Creation and setup of a sales funnel. A phased plan that each client goes through before the transaction.
- Automation of setting tasks for managers. It is important that the manager does not need to assign most of the tasks “by hand”, this should be done by CRM, depending on the situation with the deal.
- Communication with clients in one window. As a rule, a business has different channels of communication with customers during sales: chat on the site, social networks, instant messengers, etc. In CRM, you can communicate with customers from all these sources in one window – you do not need to switch between programs.
- Generation of documents and other files. Managers should not waste time on bureaucracy, CRM takes over this task.
- Billing and debt tracking. CRM should not only help sell, but also generally control the transaction process. For example, it is convenient to create a rule for accounts receivable: if the client does not pay on time, CRM will send him a reminder letter. If he paid and the money came, CRM will thank him and offer to work more. The main thing is to configure the system once, then the templates will work.
- Control over employees. CRM should show deep analytics on the work of sales managers. It is convenient when statistics are available to the seller as well – this is how the specialist analyzes his strengths and weaknesses himself, sees how long it is left to reach the KPI and the bonus.
- Process analytics. Sales performance doesn’t always depend on employees. With the help of CRM, a manager can track the quality of business processes and the conversion of customers from one stage of the sales funnel to another. For example, CRM will show that the majority of potential buyers abandon a deal after receiving a quote. So, you need to study what is wrong with this document.
- Recording of conversations. Advanced CRM has a call control system. The manager at any time can listen to the manager’s conversations with clients and assess the quality of work.
- Ability to work from a smartphone. This is convenient if the manager needs to go somewhere, he can always control the processes. For example, see a message from a key customer and respond quickly.
Criteria for choosing a CRM system for small businesses
In addition to automation functions, there are several more criteria by which you should choose CRM. All of them are related to business processes and usability of the program.
- Simple and intuitive interface. Choose CRM, for which you do not need to conduct educational trainings for several days. Ideal if you can understand the system using internal instructions.
- There is a security system. The system should be not only convenient, but also flexible in terms of security. It is good if it has several types of users. For example, it is better to leave full access to the customer base only to the manager.
- Integration with other applications. As a rule, even in a small business, processes are associated with the use of some services – for advertising, sending letters, communicating with customers, and controlling accounts. It is convenient when CRM has the ability to integrate with these services – so programs can exchange data. For example, CRM will be able to send letters itself, no need to waste time on additional settings.
- Ease of implementation. As a rule, CRM will not be able to simply launch and start using it right away. It will take time and resources to implement it. Therefore, the simpler and cheaper it is to set up a CRM, the better.