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Do I Need a CRM System?

You’re a B2B business. You sell to businesses, not to consumers directly. All the major CRM products are built with a B2B (business to business) data model with contacts (people) belonging to accounts (businesses). You can use B2B CRM systems for B2C (business to consumer) where the processes are simple without the need for complexity or moving information around different departments in different formats. In a mixed environment keeping the data records simple is imperative.

Too many leads to remember

If you are handling more prospects that you can remember, you need a CRM system so that no prospect gets forgotten and when you do contact a prospect in the sales cycle, you have the history of previous contacts in front of you. You need to set up follow up dates for each prospect and be reminded when they are due.

You have sales staff

If you have sales staff, then you want the details of their prospects under your control, both so that you can monitor what they are doing, and to make sure that if they leave, their sales pipeline doesn’t leave with them. Secure access that can be managed so they only see their own data is very important.

Lengthy sale process

If you have a sales process that takes over a month, you won’t remember where each prospect is in the cycle, and what happened in the last call. It is good to have a labelled “milestone” in the system to help sort these prospects into groups.

You want to do sales forecasting

If you want to do sales forecasting then you need to record the values, probabilities and estimated close date of each deal, and a report may be required to add them all up for you, spread across the months. This level of complexity depends on the needs of the business, most companies over complicate the process.

Your prospects have multiple points of contact

If prospects and customers are talking to multiple points of contact within your organisation, and you need to see the result of that during the sales cycle, then you need a CRM system capable of sharing the same record. Branches belonging to the same company need to be managed to avoid duplicate records too, make sure this feature is available.

You want to do marketing

If you want run email campaigns either simply to send out newsletters or to do more sophisticated segmented marketing or drip marketing campaigns, then you need a CRM system both to hold the data and ideally to send the emails out as well, so when you look at a prospect you can see if they responded. Ideally the CRM should link to a specialist email system, such as MailChimp, to avoid blacklisting your own email accounts and stopping email deliveries altogether.

Conversely, you don’t need a CRM if:

You’re a one man or woman band, you only get one lead a week, the sales cycle is short, there’s no repeat business, you have a few large customers that you can remember all about. These can be managed in spreadsheets alongside paper processes until you achieve scale or need more sophisticated record management and maybe, analysis.

In conclusion

A CRM system will also be of no use if you are not organised. You need to understand what you want from the systems so you know what needs to be captured in your processes.

To get the benefit of having a CRM system you, and your colleagues, need to use it and keep it up to date else or it will just become another “filing cabinet” we never open.

A CRM system will help you to be organised, but it will not do the work for you.

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