Imagine the days before computers! Back in the days of paper and print, businesses had to do a lot more work if they were going to keep track of all their clients. They kept contact information in phone books or Rolodexes; they kept appointments in datebooks or calendars; they tracked their invoices with ledgers. It was all very stressful — not to mention inefficient! How easy would it be for something to be overlooked? And if one employee was out sick, think about what a disorganized mess their coworker would have to navigate when they tried to help out and take over their workload for a few days.
Thankfully, companies no longer have to deal with that kind of hassle. But if you’re one of those businesses that is still hanging out in the 20th century, not ready to convert all of your client relationships to a digital platform — let this be what persuades you. It’s time for your business to start using a CRM, short for customer relationship management software. With several on the market for your company to choose from, you’re now able to use technology to help you run your business smarter, faster, and just better overall.
What is a CRM?
Even if you hear the term “customer relationship management,” you probably still have questions. After all, that’s a vague term. What does managing customer relationships entail? And how can you use a software to do that?
Think about all the interactions you have when you’re serving your customers — not merely the interactions you have with the customers themselves, but the interactions you and your team members have when you’re serving those clients.
Here’s the process:
It starts with a client making contact with you, potentially through a funnel or lead generation. You provide a proposal to the client. You schedule an appointment with the client. You sign a contract. You exchange communication. Each member of your team plays a part in the assembly line of whatever project you’re doing for the client. When everything is done, you have to invoice your client and collect payment.
In short, a CRM takes all of those tasks and integrates it into a single platform that handles everything. It lets you organize and automate your tasks, keep track of your records, and overall serve your customers more easily. It also frees up your time and energy so you can worry less about managing all of that and think more about the project itself (you know, actually doing what you went into business to do).
Thanks to the efficiency of CRMs, most business owners find that they and their team make fewer mistakes and are able to serve their customers better, which leads to greater customer retention and more referrals.
Making your business easier to manage…
When all your valuable client information is kept on a CRM, it’s easily accessed by everyone. It’s not like a paper-bound notebook where the owner is the only one who has a copy. Everyone within the company is able to find things like a client’s email address and phone number, as well as more obscure details like what rate they’re being charged or what preferences they have for their service.
And if you have hundreds of clients, some of whom you haven’t served for several years, you don’t have to worry about losing it in a file cabinet somewhere. That data is accessible (but still secure) and readily available just by a simple search. Imagine still having the billing information for a client you worked with five years ago — when they come back to you, you’re already ready to start serving them again!
You can also access this information from anywhere, from any device. There’s no need to worry about bringing all your books and papers home with you from the office when you can easily access your CRM using your laptop in your living room.
It’s great for teams:
Maybe you have several team members who are serving the same client, either because it’s a huge account or because one of your team members is out sick. CRMs give you the ability to manage your interactions and see who has reached out to the client, whether you heard back or not, and when an appropriate time would be to follow up.
You’ll also have all important documents related to each account stored in one place, from which you can easily download them or share them with others. It’s a much more efficient way of keeping all your quotes and proposals straight.
But you might NOT benefit from a CRM if…
Not every business is a great fit for a CRM. If you’re a sole proprietor who only deals with a few leads each week and rarely does repeat business with your clients, a CRM might be an expensive investment. In those cases, you’re better off relying on simpler technology such as the Google Suite.
Do you need more guidance in how you can integrate the latest technology into your business operations? Contact us at BL Technical today by calling 410- 504-1949.