CRM systems can be low cost basic tools for managing accounts and contacts. More complex solutions can also be used for managing sales, marketing and customer service. Regardless of the scope of functionality, there are few things you can do that are critical to ensure you realize value and a return on your investment from the system you select.
1. Assign a system administrator
The administrator should be the only person who can make changes to the structure of the system. These include system password and security permissions, adding and removing custom fields, or changing views and reports within the system. Failure to control this is often the cause of data integrity issues, inaccurate reports and potential security breaches.
2. Departmental ownership
Management at the departmental level needs to take ownership and support the utilization of the system. Employees catch on quickly and can see if utilization of the system is not a priority to management. If management does not support its use, the employees will follow their lead and the CRM software will become nothing but shelf ware.
3. Change management
Implementing a CRM solution, whether hosted or cloud based, will require change. This may be a change in policies and procedures, or changes in employee responsibilities. It is important once again for the company executives to manage and endorse whatever change is required to improve the overall performance of the company.
If you are not prepared to address the recommendations above due to limited resources or changes in your business environment I would suggest you wait until such time that you are. Managing how your team uses a CRM solution is critical to making your front office business processes more effective, and this will impact how you market, sell and provide service to your customers.
Photo Credit: zirconicusso/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The number one request from small to mid-size businesses evaluating CRM software is ease of use. This is because CRM systems have traditionally been over engineered and simply too hard to use. Delivering the right combination of functionality and ease to use has been a challenge for many CRM software providers, but according to customer testimonials Commence CRM seems to deliver the right balance of functionality coupled with a simple design and navigation.
Commence CRM is a robust offering that rivals many higher end solutions. In addition to the standard account and contact management, sales, leads and marketing modules, Commence CRM adds optional applications for project management, customer service or help desk and integration to disparate software programs. Even with this level of functionality customers report that the product is extremely easy to use. What makes this possible is a clever design and use of a digital dashboard that enables the end user to perform 90 percent of their daily tasks without ever leaving the initial screen.
The CRM dashboard can be configured by each user with a click of a button and may include all or a subset of the following features or portlets:
- Today’s Calendar
- Monthly Calendar
- Today’s Activities and To-Do’s
- Overdue Activities
- Company News
- Favorite Reports
- New Leads
- Project Tasks
- Sales Performance
- Sales Pipeline
- Schedule Opportunities
- Support Tickets
Sample Dashboard Used by Sales Staff
Each portlet enables you to perform that task right from the dashboard and even provides a shortcut to additional functionality. The Leads portlet for example allows you to enter a new lead right from the dashboard. You can view all the leads you are currently working on by clicking a button labeled more … it’s that simple.
With Commence CRM you can add a new account or contact, a new lead, a new sales opportunity, schedule follow-up activities add or update a project or a service ticket; even view your favorite reports without ever leaving the screen. Learn more with an online CRM demo or free trial of the CRM software.
An article on ecommercetimes.com discusses how to use the customer information captured into your CRM system to build strong customer relationships: Tap CRM to Give Your Customers a Pleasant Surprise
Customer relationship management may lead to smoother sales and service interactions between you and your customers, but it can also help you go above and beyond. Your customers are filling your CRM system with intelligence about their desires and their needs; it’s time to use that data to help cement your relationship with them for the long term.
So you have your CRM application in place and humming, collecting information about customers and potential customers and organizing it so you can use it. That raises a question: How are you using it?
Most companies pour it back into sales, marketing and support to keep feeding those machines, which is good. It’s the way you realize the value from your CRM investment.
You can read the full article here, courtesy of ecommercetimes.com.
From http://www.impactlearning.com/ March 19, 2013
Many companies find that a CRM system alone isn’t sufficient to meet [their] goals.
Many organizations implement a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
system hoping to make dramatic improvements in sales as well as to improve the customer experience. While a new system can certainly help, many companies find that a CRM
system alone isn’t sufficient to meet these goals.
Read the full article at http://www.impactlearning.com/successful-crm-implementation/
Many business owners are so eager to get started with cloud contact management software that they simply run out and buy the most popular brand. Unfortunately, the most well known CRM application is going to be the one that is used by larger corporations. The problem with this is that while these products may be effective for a company of a larger size, they are not practical for a small or new business. They are also a lot more expensive.
Commence is the Best Alternative to Salesforce
Salesforce is one of the better-known CRM systems for large corporations, and is an excellent product. However, if you do a little digging for CRM comparisons and reviews, you will find that Commence is the most recognized alternative to Salesforce. Not only is it designed for a smaller business, it is a lot less expensive.
If you are a hardworking business owner, you owe it to yourself to use a CRM product that will make your day go smoother, while helping to increase your profits.
If you are a new or small business owner, choosing a CRM application can be pretty overwhelming. Your first instinct may be to go with one that you know is trusted by larger corporations, but this is rarely a good idea. Not only are these CRM systems more costly, they are also a lot more complicated to use, which could consume a large portion of your day.
Choose Our Small Business CRM Software
If you ask around, there is a good chance that someone you know will tell you that Commence is the best CRM software for small business owners. This is because it is affordable and easy to use, and it has been created with features that a busy business owner will actually find helpful. Some of these include:
- Lead Management – This system will help you turn leads into sales. You can even import them from various sources and create follow-up programs.
- Project Management – One of the reasons Commence is one of the top customer management systems is because we help you control and monitor all important aspects of your business, including projects. Prioritize, budget, track time and expenses, and more, with this feature.
- QuickBooks Integration – Never deal with duplicate entries or conflicts, again, with our QuickBooks integration. Two-way synchronization ensures that everyone on your staff is always working with up-to-date records.
- Email Integration – This is a convenience feature you are sure to really appreciate, as you can choose email correspondences to share with different people in various departments. It even works with Mac Entourage.
If you are asking “What are the three most popular CRM systems?” then you are not alone. Nearly every business owner who learns about customer relationship management software is eager to get started with it. Of course, most aren’t prepared for the large number of CRM selections they need to choose between, which can be quite a confusing process, especially if you aren’t really even sure which CRM features you should be looking for.
Are You Asking “What are the Three Most Popular Systems?”
If you have found yourself asking “What are the three most popular CRM systems?” you will find this list quite helpful.
- Salesforce.com – This is very well-known software and it really does have some exceptional features. The problem is that it is designed for large corporations, so small to mid-sized business owners find themselves disappointed trying to use it.
- SugarCRM – Again, here is a good option. The concern with SugarCRM is that it is missing a lot of key features that would make it a top-rated product, such as an integrated project management solution. Also, it is written in PHP, rather than Java, and the interface is not all that user-friendly.
- Commence – If you have a small to mid-sized business, Commence is definitely for you. It is designed for the business owner who needs to work smarter, not harder. It is packed full of thoughtful features, and even lets you integrate your current email and QuickBooks.
If you are exploring your options, when it comes to CRM software, and reporting and analytics are your main concerns, you will want to take a good long look at Commence.
The most important feature to look for with this type of software is real-time access to important customer data, which is exactly what we grant you.
Why We are Superior to the CRM Systems
Although there are some other fantastic CRM systems available for large corporations, the average user runs a small to mid-sized business. Not only is our software geared toward this user, it is designed thoughtfully to help you stay on track and make the most of your valuable time. Typically, the smaller or fresher your business is, the more work you are handling by yourself, so you can use all the help you can get.
One of the first things you will notice is the real-time interactive dashboard this will keep your sales team informed and more efficient. A graphical analysis grants you a view of win/loss, average deal, etc., while multilevel reporting allows you to make educated business decisions.
Sales management software will allow your employees to take an active role
When making a sale, it’s important to have all the information you need from your prospective client, including their needs and any previous interactions you have had. Sales management software allows you to have all the information you need in one place. By providing leads that are already assigned to specific sales people, a graphical analysis of deal flow, their schedule of appointments and more, your employees can take an active role in the sales process. When your employees have this information at their fingertips when speaking with clients, they can make better sales that will lead to happier customers. Having access to to-do lists will ensure that they stay on top of everything needed to make the sale and stay organized.
Find sales management software to improve your sales process today
To keep your sales team organized and to improve your processes start shopping for sales software. Stay on top of sales and get CRM sales reports to be able to manage your sales cycle. Prevent problems before they happen by managing reports and know which sales processes are working and which ones need to be revised. Visit Commence.com to test out an online CRM demo and find the perfect CRM system for your sales team.
What can you do with a CRM?
A CRM system can be useful in many different areas for your business. You can start by using the CRM to help you with your sales. Make sure your sales process goes smoothly by using the system to stay organized. Import leads and then organize those leads so you can be spending your time on the leads that could actually bring in business for your company.
In addition to helping with sales, try using the CRM system for marketing efforts. Create, automate and manage your marketing campaigns and then get results on how well the campaign did. Once you have made the sale continue to use the system so that your customers are always happy. You can have all your contact information in one place and be able to fix client problems as they arise. Keeping your customers happy will improve your business. You can also get different reports to see how your business is doing in different areas so you can know what things need to be improved on.
Get a CRM today
If these benefits and more sound like they will help your business, then start shopping for CRM software today. Visit Commence.com to get a free demo of a CRM system so you can test it out for your business.