Businesses often waste valuable resources performing manual tasks, correcting errors and duplicating work. Here John Clark, Founder and Business Solution Consultant from Solutions Shared, explains how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can save your business significant time and money.
What can you do with a CRM?
Today's CRM systems are so sophisticated that John refers to them as 'business solution platforms'. More than just a tool for tracking your sales pipeline, they can now fulfil multiple business functions. John shares some advice on how to get the most out of a CRM.
- Centralise your data. Data is often stored in multiple places, driving huge inefficiencies and duplication. Instead, capture it all in a CRM.
- Manage your activities. Having everything in one place means everyone can view, track and manage activities. For example, phone calls, emails and appointments. This means tasks such as client follow-ups aren't missed.
- Don't create documents, generate them. Business solution platforms often allow you to generate document templates that you can use time and again. This is really powerful for consistency and time efficiency.
- Automate everything where possible. CRM systems typically have workflow engines built into them, which means that if you update a record in one place, it can automatically update others.
- Let marketing join. Capture all your marketing data such as click-throughs and website visits, in your CRM. Then you can perform tasks such as reporting on it or running workflows on it, John says.
- Integrate as much as you can. The more you can integrate, the less you will have to download and import spreadsheets. Start by taking a direct website feed into your system, such as enquiries or orders.
Tips for successful integration
Successfully integrating a business solutions platform means having a clear picture of your vision and taking small steps. It's also important to understand that it's a journey and not a one-stop-shop, as you will be building and adding to it as your business changes. 'Efficiency and consistency lead to profitability,' John says. 'If you're not having to manually do lots of stuff or re-work stuff, if you've got one place for the truth, it's much easier to get right first time.'
- CRM systems can save your business time and money by automating processes and centralising data.
- CRM systems have advanced considerably so that they now fulfil multiple business functions, used by many teams.
- Successfully integrating a CRM means understanding your vision and taking small steps to get there.