CRM – What is it?
CRM: Customer Relationship Management
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as:
“Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”
Every week that passes I find myself asking: “How is it that smart, successful business people do not know about CRM?”
After which I remind myself that not everyone has been enveloped in technology for the past twenty plus years the way I have. The use of technology to support sales, marketing and other customer service and support functions has been around a long time. The transition of this technology to a mobile friendly environment has made it even easier and more accessible to businesses of all sizes.
As a busy business person, always being on the move and rarely having time to stop and eat unless you force yourself to make the time, you often need tools to help you do your daily tasks. Having these tools readily accessible no matter where you are can be invaluable. Take, for example, you just walked out of a very lucrative (potentially) business venture. You took many notes and you feel like your head is spinning.
Now, you have so much going through your mind about what just happened. This is the best time to write down everything that was said, done, requires follow up, etc. But wait, you need to set your calendar, tasks, reminders, and so on, to do this properly. In comes “CRM”. CRM, if implemented and used correctly, will save you time and money.
CRM allows you to import your contacts, create tasks and to-do lists, complete with follow ups, such as email and phone. Some CRM systems let you manage and change many features, while others restrict what you can do. CRM allows you to set reminders based on how frequently you want to be reminded and how you enter it into the system. You can email direct from most systems and in some case run your social media from it.
In the previous paragraph I mentioned “CRM allows you to set reminders based on how frequently you want to be reminded and how you enter it into the system”. This is significant, given that technology has helped us be better organizers. The sooner you can enter your notes into the system the more valuable the system will be. The accuracy of the data is best when entered immediately after a meeting or event. As time progresses you lose context of the meeting and your notes become vague.
Here are a couple quotes to help you remember the importance of data entry and management:
“The information you get from a CRM system is only as good as the information that has been entered into it”
“Garbage in, garbage out.”
As always, if you are uncomfortable with technology, not sure how to choose the right system for your business, do some research, hire someone to help you and take your time to make the right choice. It’s worth the effort and very rewarding as your business grows. You’ll be thankful you did.