CRM stands customer relationship management (or complete royal mess for those who have attempted and failed) generally via some type of computer software. The number of businesses I have run across that have no CRM is mind boggling – customer information either sits in a pile in a corner or resides in customer files that sit on a shelf.This is normally the case because the business has grown and the owner is flat out keeping up with sales. However, when either things slow down a bit, or even better, a business owner manages to get out of the business to work on the business some of the time – CRM becomes a quick focus.
The old saying of “20% of customers create 80% of sales” generally holds true in most businesses. So owners will know the “valuable” customers and give them good service and pricing. But what about the other 80% – why are they not valuable, why don’t they buy more, when was the last time the business contacted them?
So the challenge is to get the information that a business already has and use it to improve service to customers, improve communication to customers, up-sell to existing customers and sell to potential new customers. This is CRM territory and in many ways, picking some low hanging fruit for a business’s sales effort.
Some of the key simple information you want about customers are:
Name and address
Key contact details (remember may change between sales and service)
Sales made to them (this week, this month, last month, last 6 months, last year, etc)
Quotes given to them
Quotes declined (and reason why)
Outstanding quotes (last follow-up, why not accepted yet)
Outbound communication trail (last, how made, when, why, etc)
Inbound communication trail (why, what, how dealt with, follow-up, etc)
Special offers made to them (particularly if not made to entire customer base)
Work scheduling (any work that is scheduled for them in future)
Service calls (when last made, frequency, comments from your service department)
Complaints (what, why and how dealt with)
Despite all the horror stories that abound about CRM systems and particularly failed installations, they are more than enough compelling business reasons to look at using a CRM system.
The main question – how much and what breadth do you need?
The next post will look at CRM implementation.
Marshall Vann – Realistic Business Solutions
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