Introduction to CRM systems
A good Customer Relations Management system (CRM) is as vital to your business as an engine in a car. It can not only save you and your employees lots of valuable time, it can give you information and insight into all aspects of your business at the touch of a button.
A CRM is a giant contact list with names and addresses and lots of other related information. It is also a list of prospects, people and companies you deal with, and any associated information.
The CRM can include quotes and sales related information, record website analytics, customer feedback and details of previous purchases or utilisation of your services.
Graham Hill, business advisor and CEO of Metisc software vendor, says most people starting out in business tend to keep things in their head, on bits of paper, or a spreadsheet, “but as the business grows and it gets busier, it gets harder to remember what you were doing with people,” he says.
“It gets more difficult when you get additional staff and you share information”.
When implementing a CRM, Hill advises that you don’t rush into it, but instead have a staged plan to build it into your organisation. Make sure it is supported by senior management.
“CRM systems really are a growing beast. If you try and do it all at once, there is a large change that happens to a business as it goes from paper and Excel spreadsheets to a more organised system. The change can be overwhelming.”
The implementation of your CRM will vary depending on whether you are a small, medium or large business. The cost of a CRM for a small to medium business can be $10,000 to $20,000.
It is important to have someone in the business who takes responsibility for managing and implementing the CRM. While they don’t need to be experts, they will need to know who to call on for help.
When picking a provider, get references from businesses similar to your own.
CRM providers range from large ones like Sebel, Oricle and SAP and ones more suited to the small business sector like Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft 365, Zoho and Sage.