CRM Leverages Your Relationships by Capitalizing on the Details
My wife and I have seven adult children between us (five daughters, two sons) and to remember all of their birthdays and special occasions is very taxing on my mental capabilities. It was a challenge when there were just the seven of them, but most of them have partners, so I have a slew of additional dates to remember as well. And on top of that, in November I’m going to be a grandpa for the first time, and that adds another connection to my already overtaxed brain. A very happy one, mind you. My internal database is starting to get overloaded, and when it gets overloaded, important dates and activities can get overlooked and even forgotten.
We have all experienced missed or forgotten birthdays and anniversaries, or forgotten to connect with friends or relatives, and as a result our relationships can become strained. Thank goodness we have things like calendars and address books to keep the information organized.
Something similar can happen to your business. Imagine for a moment that you have half a dozen clients—clients whose details you basically keep in your head, or maybe you have those details in a document or a spreadsheet.
These clients are important to your business. They put food on your table. You communicate with and engage them regularly. Then your business starts to grow, your core customers tell others about you, and you attract more customers. These additional customers demand some of your time as well, and because your time is spread thinner, you become overwhelmed and your core relationships begin to suffer. Sound familiar?
CRM TO THE RESCUE
It’s a good problem to have, but it’s a problem that needs to be fixed. This is where your CRM platform can really pay dividends, helping you to manage your interactions with current and future customers. We all know this technology allows you to organize, automate, and synchronize all of the customer-facing functions, from marketing and sales to customer service and technical support. Deploying your time and resources more effectively, you’ll deliver the same great level of service you did when you had fewer clients to think about.
But a well-chosen, well-implemented CRM solution offers additional benefits you may not have considered, ones that can help you fully leverage your relationships (both personally and professionally):
1. It’s a great central depository for all of your clients’ information that is easily shared in real time with your team across all devices (assuming you have a cloud- or server-based solution).
2. All team members can see all communications or actions your business has taken with a client. If a follow-up task or phone call needs to be made, it’s there for all to see in your system.
3. And a related benefit is transparency: You and your team members will be able to view all of your business interactions with a client. You will be able to see the good, the bad, and the ugly—and react accordingly.
4. Your CRM system can be integrated with your calendars, so it can suggest appropriate contact times and set reminders so that nothing gets lost or forgotten.
5. It provides real-time metrics to enable you to instantly measure activities and forecast future business. When performance gets measured and reported, you get accountability.
6. Last but not least, CRM software allows you to scale your business in an organized way. Once you have a system in place, adding or removing people from your team is just a few clicks away.
A well-designed CRM solution should be at the core of your business strategy. It will allow you the time and freedom to work on other areas of your business while ensuring that you and your team are up to date with all your clients’ needs. Just as with keeping abreast of family and friends and all the important dates that go along with them, your CRM system can help you track—and measure—all the crucial details about your business relationships. And your business will thank you for it.
Michael Vickers is the executive director of Summit Learning Systems and the author of Dance of the Rainmaker: Creating Authentic Differentiation in a Competitive Marketplace.