It seems like every day, there’s some new something — some new tool or solution that’s supposed to make business leaders’ jobs easier, more productive, more fill-in-the-blank. And along the way, some tools have actually proven their worth, while others have lost traction and eventually been forgotten. Remember fax machines, floppy disks, and dial-up?
But a tool that’s not going the way of corded telephones is the customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
Well-designed and correctly installed CRMs are incredibly useful to sales teams. A CRM tracks every interaction your sales team has with potential and current customers. CRM software even alerts teams when an opportunity for lead nurture or follow-up presents itself.
At this point, however, you’ve likely read more blog posts than you can count, expounding on the benefits of CRMs. You understand there are advantages. You might even be more focused on the potential disadvantages. Or maybe you haven’t truly considered choosing a CRM program because you’re just not looking forward to learning yet another software program. If your business gets along just fine, you might even think, “Why do I need another tool?”
- A CRM program keeps every bit of data — from customer information to potential leads’ funnel history — centrally located and easily accessible.
- All communication for every touchpoint, whether from sales rep to sales rep or from sales rep to customer or lead, is managed through the CRM.
- A CRM program tracks leads and sales team interactions.
- Your sales team can automate the entire sales process from pipelines to touchpoints and closed deals with a good CRM solution.
Reasons You Don’t Need CRM
We’re kidding of course, but business owners without a CRM are especially astute at crafting excuses for not implementing this software. Let’s take a look and see if any of these reasons sound familiar:
You enjoy Excel spreadsheets
Some leaders like spreadsheets. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a spreadsheet, but Excel isn’t attached to other tools you’re using. Spreadsheets require manual data entry. While your reps might enter new data in the CRM, they don’t have to filter a spreadsheet to find it the next time they speak to a customer — the entire history of interaction with that lead or customer is available with just a click.
You enjoy entering every single interaction manually
As much as you might love data entry, think about your reps and your customers. Without a CRM, your reps might ask the same customer the same questions at every interaction. Customers might not enjoy answering questions they’ve already answered with a previous rep. It frustrates the customer and sometimes even demoralizes the sales rep when customers express their frustration.
Even if every interaction is detailed manually every single time, how easy is it to find that info during a sales call?
Your organization’s communication is perfect as-is
Does your sales team have no complaints? What about your marketing team? Your HR department? Do you or your teams feel current communication methods adequately address your business’s needs? How easy is it for reps to hand off a sales call to another team member? Any time your sales team has to devote to putting together the interaction history of each prospect or customer is time they could better spend actually selling.
Your sales and marketing teams are already seamlessly synergistic
You’ve heard of businesses that have perfect coordination between their sales and marketing departments. Maybe you even think yours is one of them. But those other companies are 99.9% using a CRM so all departments are always on the same page. When marketing knows what’s coming down the sales pipeline, campaigns are executed more strategically. When sales knows the campaign that’s just about to drop, they can hit the ground running at the most opportune moment.
You don’t need to grow your business; it’s doing just fine
Most business leaders have an interest in growth and scalability. If your business is small — say you have around 5 to 10 customers — and you’re not looking to add to your roster, working without a CRM is pretty doable. But working without a CRM also means it will be next to impossible if you change your mind and want to branch out. CRMs help you review each salespersons’ activity, successful strategies, and touchpoints that work, which helps your team’s closing rate. This, in turn, grows your business and its revenue (not to mention team morale!).
Your business doesn’t need to be automated
So, let’s see — you’re tracking interactions in Excel or another spreadsheet program, you have an email program with leads and customer addresses, a live chat feature with remote staff answering questions, and customer service representatives manning the phones. Each department manually records its notes in the respective program. But those programs don’t “talk” to each other. If your business’s various departments are fine with this lack of interconnectedness, don’t worry about adding a CRM. If, on the other hand, your teams have expressed a need for some integration, it might be time to consider adding customer relationship management to your toolbox.
Your customers are happy…enough
You might serve your customers just fine. They may indeed be happy. But imagine how much happier they could be if your teams could identify trends and anticipate customer needs?
You think struggling to keep up with the flow of leads is normal
Business ebbs and flows. Sometimes, though, those flows are tidal waves that topple any sort of scalability that could have happened had your team been better prepared. Not having a CRM makes your team really good at losing potential customers. Having a CRM means your team is ready, right when the leads start funnelling through.
You love running manual reports
You might, but does your team? And how accurate are these reports when they’re not taking information from disparate tools into account? Imagine how much better you could get to know your business and its customers and how powerful your team might be with the right support.
You can maybe see how not having a CRM could affect your business. But like anything, even CRM software has positives and negatives.
Pros and Cons of Customer Relationship Management Software
The reasons outlined above about why you might not want a CRM were a little tongue-in-cheek. Below you’ll find a real look into the benefits and potential limitations of CRM software.
Let’s look at the limitations first:
- A lot of manual data entry. Some CRM programs require manual data cataloging. This can eat into time spent selling.
- Requires correct setup. Using a CRM tool can be tedious if the software isn’t properly set up from the start. If it’s not easy to use, employees may not use it.
- Subscription fees can be costly. Some programs have monthly recurring subscription charges. Typically, these charges are based on how many users you have in your business. You might have to set aside time to train employees on how to use the program, and you might need someone in-house that can help oversee its use. This can be a hefty burden for a small- or mid-size company.
- Requires a documented sales process. Implementing CRM is only one piece of the puzzle. You also have to have well-documented business processes in your sales department. If process steps aren’t clear, a CRM can hinder more than help.
Now assuming you’ve got a handle on the above, the benefits of CRM software far outweigh any of its negatives. Sales process improvements and the right CRM for your business are key.
Advantages of using a CRM include:
- Automatic data entry. While ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) can be necessary when setting up a CRM solution, once it’s in place data entry is automated. Some CRM solutions can even integrate with your social channels.
- Streamlined sales activity. A bad setup can do more harm than good, but a CRM that’s set up properly from the beginning puts all the information your sales team needs at their fingertips, arranged in the most beneficial manner.
- Growing revenue. Yes, implementation of any tool is going to cost you to get it up and running. But, and this is huge, it’s been shown that using a CRM has a direct correlation to a growth in earnings.
- Better collaboration. Putting all your data into one central location makes for better collaborative efforts across departments, such as your sales and marketing teams working together harmoniously. Plus, you can house any marketing materials for current and upcoming campaigns in the CRM’s content library, making access a breeze for the teams that need it.
- Sales Insights. Whilst not a feature of all CRMs, data and analytics into your sales performance, goal achievement and key metrics have continued to prove useless in the sales management world. Make data driven decisions to target your true ideal customer profile (ICP) to close more deals and get ahead of the competition.
The advantages and limitations of CRM software depend on the organization and its needs. But again, overall, the side effects of implementing a customer relationship management program will ripple through your organization, from department to department, and you’ll see a transformation before your eyes.
From the excuses business leaders give for not implementing CRM software to the disadvantages it can pose, there’s really no denying that the benefits trump any negative.
So, what are the biggest benefits of using a customer relationship management tool?
The 6 Biggest Benefits of a CRM Program
Once you’ve found the Goldilocks CRM — you know, the one that’s just right for your business — it’s not long before you’ll see the results and reap these benefits:
#1. A central database
A CRM program keeps every bit of data — from customer information to potential leads’ funnel history — centrally located and easily accessible. Your sales team can quickly find the information they need, follow up with leads, and close those deals.
#2. Contact management
All communication for every touchpoint — whether from sales rep to sales rep or from sales rep to customer or lead — is managed through the CRM. Every interaction from the initial call throughout the customer journey is recorded. For instance, if Sales Rep A speaks to Customer 123 today, the conversation is noted in the CRM. So, when Sales Rep B calls Customer 123 next week to check in, there’s no rehashing of things Rep A already covered. CRMs enable a one-on-one conversation in which the prospect or customer never feels as though they’ve been ignored or forgotten.
#3. Follow-up reminders
While a CRM is especially designed for maintaining customer relationships, these programs also track leads and sales team interactions. By tracking sales team activity with prospective customers, reps can receive alerts when it’s time to follow up and close a sale. This helps lead conversion ratio and, ultimately, your bottom line.
#4. Customer segmentation
Sure, segmenting customers is nothing new. But a CRM’s advanced segmentation capabilities are surprising. Information you collect about your customers becomes criteria you can use later. For instance, segmenting by location or loyalty status is great, but segmenting by campaign is even better. Creating a list of customers segmented by products purchased on a particular day of a certain campaign? It’s the ultimate way to view your customers any way you choose.
#5. Customized reporting
Your other tools, like your accounting software, allow you to run reports — but those reports might not show an entire picture. In much the same way a CRM can segment your customers by any criteria you supply, a CRM can also run customized, detailed reports using built-in reporting features. Your sales team can automate the entire sales process from pipelines to touchpoints and closed deals. Reports can also show individual reps their performance over time to set, manage, and reach their sales goals.
Management can review reports to track quota attainment, while organization leaders can see how current stats measure up against projected numbers and how it all ties into revenue generation.
#6. Forecast automation
Speaking of projected numbers, successful businesses are ones that can plan ahead and make good business decisions based on both information at hand and forecasted future data. With those CRM reports above, you can discover your most important metrics and trends, and use the resulting information to create forecasts of future performance.
Your CRM software lets your reps and managers understand which sales activities are most profitable and which lead sources tend to generate the best returns. The information allows business leaders to project upcoming sales figures and adjust estimates.
The biggest benefit of CRMs is the automation of routine, repetitive, and mundane tasks so your team can spend time on the tasks that really matter. Admin tasks aren’t directly tied to revenue, but they still impact team schedules — there are only so many hours in a day, and the more time your reps can spend on cultivating real relationships with your customers and prospects, the better.
Still on the fence?
Empower Your Team with Teamgate
Teamgate CRM is the customer relationship management tool for today’s busy sales departments. The benefits of our CRM include:
Focus on the sale
Streamlined and customized sales pipelines enable you to remove the complexities of the process from your sales flow. Manage leads from prospect through to closure with one-click conversion, drag and drop interface and multiple, customizable sales pipelines.
Manage prospects and leads with ease
Teamgate integrates with your favorite tools with ease. You can select the integrations you want displayed within your workspace, and access key information from multiple platforms all at once.
Manage customer accounts
With Teamgate’s in-depth insights and analytics, managers can track and obtain real-time data on their department’s performance and utilize key metrics to increase their sales growth and drive their decision making.
Gain in-depth insights into prospects with integrated sales intelligence tools, enabling you to personalize your approach and qualify your leads against your ICP.
To realize the potential of your organization, try us out with our 14-day free trial. Get started today.