Relationships are an important part of every business, they always have been, but now-a-days relationships are more important than ever because your competitors are never more than a few clicks away.
You may have heard of CRM software already, but there is a good chance you don’t really know what it does and more importantly how you could use it for your business.
What Is CRM Software?
CRM is all about tracking, managing and understanding your relationships with your customers. It is a powerful tool and there is a lot that you can do with it once you know how, so in this post I am going to attempt to give you some concrete examples:
- Group and categorize important contacts
- Record all communications with clients and suppliers
- Analyse the effectiveness of your marketing channels
- Track repeat custom and find trends
- Use reminders to keep in touch with important people
This is a simple part of what you can do, but it’s an important first step. You can use a CRM package to manage all of your contacts, so grouping them is essential.
Typical groups might include:
But you can also sub-categorize them and you can use rules to automate the process if you want to. So you might have a group of repeat customers, customers who have complained and different types of supplier for example.
This may not seem essential now, but as a business grows this can become vital and by setting it up now you will remove many of your hurdles to growth.
Keeping customers happy is your number one priority and there is nothing worse than promising a client that you will get back to them and failing to do so. So let’s say you send your client an email promising to touch base in a couple of weeks:
You can set a reminder that pops up telling you to email or phone your client when the time comes. Best yet, your CRM package will record the email so that before you phone your client you can check your previous communications and refresh your memory.
Essentially, CRM allows you to “remember” all of the important discussions you have with all of your clients so that you never forget to get back to them or what you have previously discussed. The potential for improving your customer service is clear.
If you happen to sell a physical product, using your CRM software to monitor your inventory makes a lot of sense. You can probably integrate your order management system and manage your stock levels centrally.
The big plus is that you will already have your supplier contacts grouped and automated, so you might set up a reminder for each product so that you never forget to re-order. You could even set the system to automatically email the appropriate supplier when stocks are low.
By managing your stock levels efficiently you can do two things:
- Keep lower inventory levels, hence freeing up cash flow
- Ensure you never run out of stock, which costs you sales
Analyse Your Data
Arguably one of the most powerful features of a good CRM package is that you have all of your most important data in one place. Good platforms will allow you to integrate different marketing channels (PPC, email, SEO) along with Analytics and order fulfilment/sales data.
You can even get modules to integrate your financial management!
This will allow you to accurately see which marketing campaigns have lead to the most sales, where your best customers come from and how they prefer to communicate. You never know what trends you might find that can help you to improve your business and make it more profitable.
About the Author
Hello, my name is Mike Spalding. I work for Advantage Business Systems. I love writing about business and helping small businesses to make better use of their IT and technology. I specialise in business management solutions, click here to learn more.
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