It is not unusual for folks to ask Why Customer Relationship Management Software? It’s expensive and takes a lot of work to keep it up. Well today there are web based solutions like Salesforce CRM for less than $25 a month that will provide a good amount of functionally and reporting. Yes they take work to keep them up to date, but with smart phone based tools like CamCard for the iPhone that take a photo of a business card, digitize it and upload it to contacts that task just got a whole lot easier.
That is not the biggest area where Cloud Based CRM systems have business leverage. The real advantage is being able to track the customer journey from Lead to Opportunity, then through the pipeline to the Sale and Delivery. We gain front office to the back of the loading dock integration. Probably the biggest change has been in the area of e-marketing. We can now track the results of: Web Advertising, Email Campaigns Trade Show Leads, and much more. This creates a level of visibility that was not possible until recently.
Anyone anywhere in the organization has access: from customer service, field sales to the person on the loading dock can access and update information in real time. There is no need to synchronize or update information passes seamlessly across the whole enterprise. With Automation, we can guide documents & data through the sales process, to the delivery process and on to the aftermarket service. Once data is entered automation can place it where it needs to go. The drudgery of manual process is often eliminated with automated process flows.
With the advent of Smart Phones and iPads even field service folks can be connected. One commercial lift company here in Orange County, CA equipped their service techs with wireless iPads so they could list parts, billable hours and total it all then send an e-mail to the customer and to accounts receivable. That one chance shortened the billing cycle by 3 days, and improved cash flow. This level of integration was once the province of large mega corporations and it is now even available to a one-person shop.
When deciding on a CRM implementation it is key to decide on your Whys. Pick 5 to 7 goals that will make a difference in your business. Make them SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Time based. Don’t get distracted by shiny objects and chase, a bunch of small fish. Lay the groundwork for you success with a Clearly Defined Why.
Key Cloud Computing players like Salesforce are aiming to create a whole ecosystem of software and hardware this is revolutionizing business. Those that adopt it will surge ahead of their competitors and do a whole lot more with a whole lot less much more profitably.