What is basic CRM software?
Whether it is a big brand name enterprise system, custom built system, spreadsheets, or even index cards, successful businesses use some sort of CRM system. Customer relationship management (CRM) software assists a business to manage customer interactions, support, and relationships through reliable systems and processes. Additionally, it integrates organizational processes across multiple aspects of your company.
Main components are:
- Maintenance of customer contact information (names, addresses, phone, email, etc in a searchable database)
- Tracking customer interactions (potential sales leads, add notes and document conversations with existing contacts)
- Managing delivery of products and services (transactions, estimates, orders)
- Recording and following up on sales leads (identifying potential new customers and moving them through your sales funnel)
However, because every CRM varies in focus, features, functionality, and price, it is worth the time and effort to do your homework to find a system that will work best for your business. Consequently, it’s all about your sales pipeline and how you serve your customers!
Some benefits include:
- Easy access to customer data. Customer relationship management systems include searchable databases. Additionally, some solutions let users sync information across multiple devices, providing the most up-to-date customer information from anywhere, anytime.
- Streamlined processes through automation. CRM software helps automate and manage your customers and sales leads. In addition, CRM software lets users standardize workflows and processes associated with sales and customer support to improve coordination between these functions.
- Actionable insights into business performance and customer behavior. Some customer relationship management software vendors offer analytics, where users can create customizable dashboards and reports based on customer data. Thus these reports help segment customers, track revenue, and manage personalized campaigns.
Most CRMs are now available as software as a service (SaaS), delivered via the internet and accessed through a web browser instead of being installed on a desktop computer. Businesses using SaaS typically pay a recurring subscription fee to the software vendor. As a result, when it’s time to choose CRM software, a SaaS platform is usually the easiest to deal with and use across the organization.
Most CRM platforms will connect to your accounting system which, in turn, houses your customer database. However, some accounting systems do not track contacts and interactions because their purpose is to record actual customers and related sales.
CRM software features your business may need as it grows
Good customer relationship management software enables your business to better manage customer interactions, provide support, and maintain relationships. As a result, it might integrate organizational processes across marketing, sales, and customer service with functionalities and features. Here are a few to consider:
Collect, upload, store, and share documents in a centralized location, making it easier for everyone involved to access information. A single focal point can ensure all team members are in-the-know and promote a smooth, consistent experience for your customers.
Create and send quotes or proposals to customers. This is a handy feature if you have some back and forth over contracts and proposals with your customers.
Get a snapshot of your sales pipeline as well as where your leads and opportunities exist in your sales funnel. Having a comprehensive view of the whole funnel will help keep sales from delaying or inadvertent oversight.
Automate repetitive tasks by creating workflows or procedures that prompt actions or send follow-up reminders for a series of actions in the future.
With reporting and analytics functionality, you gain the ability to run reports based on factors like geography, funnel or pipeline stage, and even individual sales team member. Maintain an in-depth understanding of your entire sales process and get ahead of any potential issues.
A sales forecasting component allows your data to work for you, empowering you to make objective and informed decisions about the future of your company.
Create reminders about calls or meetings and synchronize these with your calendar.
Divide your customer base into groups based on attributes such as age, gender, location, or other preferences in order to create targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
Considerations when choosing your CRM
- Are you buying a machete when all you need is a steak knife? Assess your customer relationship management system needs then shortlist products that meet your specific requirements and priorities.
- Is it affordable for the demands of the business? The solutions on the market differ in the total cost of ownership, depending on multiple criteria such as mode of deployment (cloud-based vs. desktop), training time and costs, implementation time, and technical support costs.
- How much of a learning curve is there? Most small business owners don’t have much extra time to stop what they are doing and learn new software. Accordingly, a customer relationship management system that is out of the box ready and easy to learn is ideal.
- What are your habits? How much time do you have to enter data? Are going to use that fancy dashboard? Is your team going to keep up with data entry? The only CRM that will benefit you is the one you actually use.
Is Just Index Cards your answer?
Just Index Cards (JIC) manages your customer information such as contact info, interactions, and leads. CRM software can be complicated, but not if you use Just Index Cards.
Just Index Cards is designed with small businesses in mind. Usually, with limited staff, they are focused on day-to-day operations and don’t have time to learn overly complicated software meant for larger enterprises. JIC is the alternative.
Big, bulky, pricey CRMs might be great for large dedicated sales teams, but we’ve found many small businesses don’t need all that fluff. Just Index Cards fills the niche for smaller businesses and offers straightforward software that is easy to use and set up.