A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform helps you build customer relationships that last. In simple words, CRM software acts as a database of customer interactions that helps businesses better understand the needs and concerns of their customers to provide a more engaging experience. Nucleus Research states that “CRM pays back $8.71 for every dollar spent”. For small to medium-size businesses (SMBs), adopting new technologies can be daunting as most of the SMBs run lean with limited resources and shoestring budgets. Without CRM, most SMBs handle customer interactions and data using Excel Spreadsheets, G-Suite or Outlook. SMBs often fail to leverage new technology. This position hinders their growth. 

Having worked for more than a decade in helping businesses of various sizes to strategize and implement CRM solutions, Gauri has seen first-hand how SMBs have struggled to effectively implement CRM systems. Often, SMBs question the right time to invest in a CRM. From our experience, we have observed key signs that indicate when businesses should seriously consider implementing a CRM.

Little or No View of Sales Processes

Companies need a deeper understanding of customers and their needs to build a lasting relationship and make a sale. Actively tracking a customer’s journey through the sales processes and various interactions that the customer has with the brand improves this understanding. With the help of basic tools such as shared spreadsheets, it becomes challenging for Sales managers to manage sales reps and track their respective deals. Without a CRM in place, Leadership teams find it difficult to view all the ongoing sales activities holistically. As per Salesforce’s State of Sales report, 21% of the sales teams state “lack of timely insight into the sales process” as the primary reason for their ineffective sales processes. 

Time Consuming Reporting Process

As it is said, “What gets measures, gets managed”. For business leaders, accurate data acts as the foundation for making important decisions. And, reporting capabilities aid in a big way to assimilate and make sense of the retained data. Reports give you an instant snapshot of your business health. However, with no CRM in place, the reporting process can become a time-consuming and tiresome task. Data such as customer details, interaction history, quotes, proposals etc. are spread across various silos throughout the organization. To create the reports out of these silos, it is necessary first to collate the required information, qualify and validate the gathered data to remove duplicate or redundant records, and finally apply various formulas to get the desired insights. This process, when done manually, soaks up considerable time and talent of trained employees. 

Delivering Fragmented Customer Experiences

If you, as a customer, have ever received multiple emails or calls from different sales reps of the same company selling the same products, then probably the company has no CRM in place to track customer interactions. It is quite frustrating when you call a service centre of a company to resolve your long-standing issue, but each time you talk a service rep, they pass your call to another service rep. And, to every new service rep, you have to explain the issue all over again. As CRMs system offer a unified view of customers and their buying history, any customer calls can be routed directly to the service representative who has the skillset of resolve the issue.

Loss of Sales Productivity

Sales productivity means maximizing sales results while minimizing the resources expended, such as cost, effort, and time. A study undertaken by Pace Productivity suggests that sales reps spend only 22% of the time on selling while 23% of the time on Administrative tasks. Often, the optimum level of sales productivity is achieved by streamlining workflow and eliminating unnecessary tasks. A sales rep usually completes and co-ordinates several activities to make a sale. These tasks include qualifying and prioritizing leads, contacting customers through calls, emails or visits, keeping track of every interaction, presenting demos etc. These activities consume a lot of time and energy, severely impacting sales productivity when sales reps use tools such as spreadsheets, post-it notes or email tools rather than a CRM tool. Research shows that sales teams using CRMs outperform teams without sales software across several key metrics.

Scattered Customer Data

Excel Spreadsheets, sticky notes, emails serve the purpose of storing the customer details when business is in its infancy. However, once it starts growing these tools limit your team’s visibility into customer interactions, access to customer details when needed, and more importantly scaling of lead generation activities. Often, sales reps create silos of valuable data while gathering information about leads, and when the reps leave the company, the silos of data leave the company too. A CRM system gives your entire organization a complete 360-degree view of your customers by collating all the information from marketing, sales, service and operations departments. 

If these signs look familiar to you or if you experience these situations in your day to day life, perhaps now is the time to invest in a CRM.