Your buddy at the barbecue tells you how the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Tracking software which they recently installed at their company has revolutionized their sales tracking and sales management.
He waxes lyrical about no more sales leads slipping through the cracks; a much higher close rate on sales inquiries; more precise and cost effective marketing campaigns; improved productivity and customer service levels; vastly improved reporting and so on.
Great! Sounds like a sales tracking software solution is just what the doctor ordered for your company. You have been getting by using Microsoft Outlook to manage your database of sales prospects, follow-ups, notes, profiles etc. but it’s starting to prove woefully inadequate.
Only problem is his business is in an entirely different industry sector to yours, with a much bigger IT budget to boot. Their CRM solution seems like an unattainable dream for your small business.
So now what? A quick search for CRM on Google returns 26,600,000 results! Whoa! So you narrow your search query to Small Business CRM only to get 6,260,000 results. You then put “Small Business CRM” in quotation marks which yields 29,300 results.
But now the fun really starts..
You realise there are hundreds of CRM, Contact Management, Sales Force Automation and other Sales Tracking software tools to choose from. Each of these tools sports a dizzying array of features, some of which won’t apply to your business.
To confuse matters even further, you notice some of these applications are Web Based CRM (sometimes referred to as Hosted CRM), or Open Source CRM. Others are the more traditional Customer Relationship Management software tools you are already familiar with. Yet others are embedded within MS Outlook, but with an added CRM component.
Many CRM packages now cater for certain industries. That is, these software solutions may have been customized, or had specific add-on’s developed, for specific industries. One of these tailored solutions might be suitable for your particular small business.
Which of these CRM apps should you download to evaluate? How should you evaluate them?
Many at this point realize that they need a more thorough evaluation of their requirements so as to enable them to put together a Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Proposal (RFP). This will be of tremendous benefit if they decide to call on the services of a CRM consultant to fast track the important decision of selecting and implementing a tailored CRM solution suitable for smaller businesses.
This should be your kicking-off point. Sit down with all your staff and co-operatively draw up a list of all your specifications. Keep it broad – you can always narrow down the options later. And be sure to involve your staff – ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
From this informed position you are far more able to choose the correct CRM and sales tracking software solution for your small business and will see marked improvements in productivity levels and sales. After all what has not been measured, remains undefined. What is undefined cannot be improved. There are specific criteria that you and your CRM consultant need to fulfil. Build your wish list, meld it with reality and build it into your business.