Firstly what is a CRM (Customer Relationship management) system?
According to Wikipedia a “Customer relationship management (CRM) is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”
Why would a company need this?
Very simply put, it aids in bridging the gap of communication between different departments within a company. Lack of communication can be a company’s silent killer. It also shows signs of incompetence within a company; How is a customer to trust a company to streamline its processes, if the company is unable to do this themselves.
A CRM system not only bridges the gap, but it successfully fills and restores the gap by grouping all fundamental details of a deal, sales or future prospects together. Conversations, documents and invoice tracking can all be updated and listed within the system, allowing a newbie on a project to get up to date on all past happenings in one easy step.
CRMs’ also allow you to link ownership to a certain customer, project or prospect, allowing managers to find a point of contact within the company quickly and effectively. Not only that, but reports can be printed and set up to allow for instant output on any relevant queries that need to be addressed at month end meetings. For example prospect to sales, deals that have been closed vs. deals still open, even down to which invoices have being paid or are still outstanding.
As you can see a CRM system is the very basic functionality of a business – it is the communication of information, past conversations and documentation all pertaining to your customers and therefore your business.
It all sounds too easy though, doesn’t it? Why isn’t very company scoring 100% in effective communication if they have a CRM in place? Why? Because it is still run, updated and maintained by man and lets be honest the constant methodical updating of a system is not high on anyones’ list. Even as I write this, I sit here knowing that I have for the 2nd week managed to dodge the exercise that is updating my portion of our company’s CRM system.
However when looking at pros vs. cons, the con of laziness doesn’t seem to have much footing when placed among the pros. I have even heard of a company that has updating of the CRM system so high on a job spec that if not done you stand to loose your job - no questions asked! So could this be the answer to making sure you maintain the very backbone of your business, possibly.
I do know however that in the past the CRM system has come to my rescue on more than one occasion. So I end this article with the surety that without the system, I like many others would be frustrated if there was no one single point of project based information, in which I could call upon any time of day.
With that said, I am signing off now to update my portion of our company’s CRM system.
Editors note: If you or your company are interested in a CRM system please feel free to contact Bluntt with any development needs you may have.