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Why you need a CRM that isn’t the box in a corner

As a business, you have to make your money work for you. With budget cuts and push backs, any purchase has to be an investment that will add value.

This requisite frugal attitude means that many businesses – small business in particular – use filing cabinets, notebooks and pens, and an army of users, Excel spreadsheets to track all their clients, deals, and sales. These companies may think they can’t afford a CRM, or that their current system is “working fine”.

But in today’s environment where one bad customer or client review can rock your business, they can’t afford not to have one. How much time is it taking to manage the spreadsheet? Our people are normally our most expensive business cost.

If you want to take your business to the next level, you may find that a CRM is a much-needed step up for your team. Here are a few ways that the right software is an important investment that your company shouldn’t go without.

Paper is impermanent

A notepad and pencil may be cheap, but it’s also a risky way to store your most valuable information. Whether that’s an important client’s home phone number or the detailed notes from a deal negotiation, you must protect your information. Think about the many fates that may befall your paper notes. A cup of coffee gets up-ended on your desk. A helpful co-worker accidentally puts them into the recycling bin. You pick them up with other papers and file them in the wrong place.

Using CRM software offers more security for that important information. Plus, it’s a more professional way to present your business. Think about how your clients will see your company if your reps are scribbling down notes in a legal pad or digging for a pencil. There’s an expectation that the best businesses will have the best tools. Present your team as one of the best.

Filing cabinets don’t travel

Imagine you have a meeting with a potential client, someone interested in making a purchase. The deal’s about to close. You drive to their office and as you’re checking your briefcase, you realise that you left the final contract on your desk. You’ve lost face with an important contact and jeopardised a valuable sale, all because your files couldn’t travel with you.

Centralising your data in a CRM grants the ability to take it with you at all times. Whether you’re in a car, train or plane, you should be able to check in on your sales processes from any device at your disposal. If you store everything from email addresses to documents in one place, then you’ll never be caught short. Your meetings can be more productive and you’ll close more deals.

The right information makes a difference

Decision-making has widespread consequences in a small business, so the leaders must have access to accurate, up-to-date information in order to steer the ship on a wise course. That’s a near impossible task when information is scattered across different team members’ desks, computers and file folders.

CRM offers centralisation as well as data. Every piece of information goes into the same place, and everyone can access it. Plus, the information will become available in real time. As soon as a team member in the field lands that new contract, the whole team will know about it and the boss can include it in performance reports.

Not only can you check up on the details of a specific deal, but a CRM can also offer insights across your entire company. Generate reports to see the health of your sales funnel and the success rates of your sales teams. These are the analytics that executives of small and large companies demand from their administrative system tools. A small business shouldn’t settle for any less. Act to get the information that your business needs to make smart choices and grow.

Manage the small detail to get big results

Sales professionals might be big picture people as a rule, but the key to closing deals is all in the small details. That’s where many struggling sales agents and businesses start to fall apart. Losing track of a small element to a deal can lead to costly mistakes, like pitching somebody you already have a relationship with or forgetting a special request agreed in a deal you’ve completed.

Take call recording as an example. If you take the time to review past discussions with a client, then you’ll always be up to date on her needs.

You’ll be able to deliver what she wants out of the business deal. She won’t have to reiterate the same points in every conversation and your talks can focus on the relationship and the sale. This is particularly important when a single team member is juggling several clients, each with unique requests to keep straight. It’s also crucial when multiple people in your team are working jointly with one client, everyone can stay up to date on what happened in the last phone conversation, even if they weren’t able to listen in. With the help of a CRM, your clients will get the same (or better!) treatment with you than they would with a large business in most cases.

Selecting the right tool for the job

Small business doesn’t mean small worth or small dreams. You want your company to be a success, no matter what size it is, and that means having the right tools at your disposal. Look at the big picture to see when an investment in your business will be worthwhile. A CRM can streamline and simplify work for your company, making even the tiniest team ten times more productive. That’s the kind of investment a small business needs.Research the market and don’t simply buy the prettiest screen or the latest smartphone application as it’s a free version.

Get software that specialises in the sector your business operates in, as most “off-the-shelf” general systems takes weeks, months and sometimes years to configure to work in your business.

Kevin Maddison – Managing Director

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