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Pros and Cons of a CRM System

If you work in or closely with marketing, chances are you’ve heard about the importance and usefulness of Customer Relationship Management systems or CRM’s for short. As the name implies, the primary function of these systems is to help create a better relationship between the business and the customer. CRM’s are seemingly all the rage for businesses these days, but how can it help your business, and what should you avoid when implementing one?

The benefits of a CRM:

1. Never forget anything about your leads/clients again.
The bread and butter of a CRM: Remember that person you met at a business conference 8 months ago and talked to for 15 minutes? Well there's a chance you will probably see them again, and unless you are the super networker, you’ve probably forgotten most of the details of your interaction. At the most basic level, a CRM allows you to log emails and create notes about people and their businesses. Check what you noted about a person/business from your phone or other device and you’ll be much better equipped to help with their situation.

2. Manage your sales pipeline.
You don’t have to be in sales to know that a sales funnel is crucial for businesses: Whether you want to connect with new leads or re-discover current clients, CRM’s such as HubSpot provide a database that shows exactly how far along you are in your client interactions. A previous supervisor of mine used to track her meetings and emails by stapling the persons business card to the meeting notes/emails. These notes would get lost, could be difficult to read, and create clutter in her office. Avoiding these problems sooner can save a ton of data entry time later!

3. Track your own goals, and those of employees.
If you want to increase the amount of people you connect with, meetings with leads or customers or phone calls, CRM’s can help you visualize exactly how much client activity you and your employees engage in. Once you track your interactions you have a benchmark of how many client activities is expected and can set a tangible goal for you and other employees. Plus visualizing an upward trending graph is SO satisfying!

BONUS: Scan business cards on your phone into your CRM system!
If you frequently attend business and networking events, you’ve accumulated a forest worth of business cards. Many CRM’s have phone apps that scan business cards and enter all the info into the database. It may not sound revolutionary, but after your first scan you will never go back to card collecting.

Climbing mount CRM - things you should be careful of:

1. Ensure everyone uses the system the same way.
You are trying to climb the mountain (or wall) of great customer relationships with a CRM as your harness and rope. If you are the only employee in your business, we commend your lead climbing ability, but most of us haven’t climbed this mountain before and need belayers at the bottom to reach the summit. After you know the purpose of the CRM and how you want to use it, make sure everyone else in your organization adheres to the same standards. Depending on the size of your organization this may be difficult, but the usefulness entirely depends on the system being used. If you want a database of all emails sent to contacts/leads and you are the only one logging them, the purpose isn’t fulfilled. Ensure everyone who should be using the system is doing so correctly.

2. Purchasing the shiny tools.
Continuing with the climbing metaphor, if you’ve been climbing a few times you’ll start to notice all the sweet gear other climbers have: bright colored climbing shoes that look super painful, liquid chalk and sleek belay devices. Getting to the top of the mountain is tough and these devices may bring the promise of climbing like Alex Honnold but that’s probably not the case. 
Similarly, when you start utilizing a free CRM, you will notice a bunch of shiny tools such as ‘marketing automation’ that are locked behind a pay wall. Depending on the size of your company, these functions seem like just what your business needs (and that might be true), but you rarely get to pick and choose the specific features you want. Instead you need to purchase a suite or bundle that gets you a whole host of features you may or may not need.
Free services like Mailchimp may be a good alternative to marketing automation offered by CRM’s. Be ingenuitive and do your research. There are lots of useful and free services, like HubSpot and Mailchimp that can help you achieve your goals. But there are also a lot of paid services that can advance your business to the next level. You just need to decide which ones are worth investing in and how much you're willing to invest. 

If you are inspired to try a Customer Relationship Management system for your business, we suggest starting by comparing these 3:

Entry level cost, well suited for small businesses.
Multiple price packages allow you to choose which best fits your needs.
Free CRM with lots of 3rd party integration options. You can upscale your features if you wish.

For more information and advice about acquiring and implementing your own CRM system, feel free to connect with us by emailing marketing@availcpa.com or give us a call today at 403.382.6800. 

Pros and Cons of a CRM System
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