What is Customer Relationship Management?

Keeping your customers happy is a critical component to any successful business organization.  But how do you make sure that you are keeping them happy?  Is it all calendar appointments, post-it notes on your desk as reminders, or perhaps you juggle it all in your head.  Many of the ways we have learned to keep in touch are disjointed, easily misplaced and often lack a disciplined and systematic approach.


Do any of these situations sound familiar?  A pile of business cards stacked on your desk?  A phone call that you forgot to make?  A potential customer that one of your current customers has suggested you reach out to but you forgot and missed an open bid?  A customer calls to get some service on their account but the records can’t be located because their Acct. Manager isn’t in the office?


If you don’t have a proactive process in place already, you might want to look into a Customer Relationship Management system.  These software programs are designed with the idea of solving many of the issues that every business faces.  If you are a one man operation or a multinational corporation, a good CRM can often help.  We have picked just three examples out of many to give you a glimpse into how a CRM might fit into your organization.


How does CRM help convert leads to sales?

Certain CRM programs allow you to set up emails to go out automatically when you create a new lead.  When you return from a trade show, simply enter those business cards into the CRM and let the system take over.  After two weeks, have the CRM run a report of all leads with no activity in the last two weeks and you have your list of people who have not responded.  This easily identifies those leads that might need a second email.  This seriously decreases the “lost” opportunities due to not remembering a potential client you wanted to follow up with by having the CRM remember for you.


How does CRM encourage repeat sales?

Often times we have to go to our accounting system and tweak it to show us which customers have not made any purchases in the last “x” number of days.  CRMs have built in reports that allow for simple retrieval of these clients.  With the report you can reach out to your old customers.  This helps by letting your customers know that you are thinking about them more frequently than when they contact you for a sales need, and that you are interested in customer satisfaction by checking on the old work, thus strengthening the relationship between you and your customer.


How does CRM help me with efficiency?

Aside from centrally organizing many of the functions of dealing with your customer base, CRM can also help you identify where your most profitable leads and sales are coming from.  This allows you to concentrate your efforts where your company is succeeding the best.  Further, the CRM report will allow you to identify where sales have dropped helping you to identify an area where you may need to spend more time to bring sales back up.


The best place to start thinking about using a CRM system is to define your requirements. Just because there is a solution available does not mean that it is a solution you need.  Further, do you need a simple, central information system, or are you a multi-tiered enterprise that needs to serve different departments with various security levels and complex metrics reporting?  Uncommon Solutions has real world experience with CRM environments, and we can assist in defining your requirements, evaluating which options meet your needs, and helping you integrate the best CRM for you into your business.