Keeping with the customer theme, I thought a brief discussion on CRM would be in order. In the last 5 years, I’ve seen the importance of CRM double, at a minimum. The critical importance of customer service has emerged, and so having tools to aid with this process has become trendy – and helps to grow the business.
To determine what you need in a CRM system, start with your customers. What is important to your customers? Determine the top 3 ways you’d like to leverage a CRM system to help you develop relationships with your customers. I often refer to these as critical success factors – what will “make a difference” to your customer and your business?
Once you know your top 3 critical success factors, dig into the specific functionality that supports these areas. For example, if managing your pipeline is important, you should look for software that has robust capabilities on tracking prospects, stages of the business, probabilities of success, etc. On the other hand, if you want to remember to call your key customer or prospect every month to offer value, advanced pipeline management capabilities can be a deterrent. You just want software with call management features and reminders. CRM software is becoming more robust, and it is often embedded with upgraded ERP systems. A bit of searching will yield the perfect CRM to support your particular customer requirements.