How to manage customer relationships…

This week whilst on vacation in California I sat with a chap whilst over lunch and the conversation turned to work. He is a successful entrepreneur here in Silicon Valley and like many others he owns a growing dot com. Getting further into the conversation I soon established that he, like many other entrepreneurs I meet, has growing pains. His biggest growing pain was that as he acquired more customers his lists of things to do for each was growing and he found his employees were often calling customers offering his services over and over again….sales overkill and the easiest way to kill a relationship.

He told me of one particular call to a potential client, who was now a ‘a warm’ prospect. As he got through to them, the first thing they told him was ‘this is the third call from your company this week, and now I’m speaking to the CEO, I think you need to know that your company urgently needs a CRM system in place’. This was a prospect telling an entrepreneur what they needed to do in their own business and for once, he was right.
His business is growing, but it is growing a such a rate that it is difficult to control. Like many others I see, they suffer from excel overload…they make lists, but then they need lists of lists and when that happens, I know that they’ve made one too many lists and it’s time for some serious investment…in a CRM.

Why?

Well let me tell you about a customer of mine, one that had successfully grown from start up to over £3m in turnover in less than two years. They’d sensible realised that to grow they need to understanding marketing and had employed a marketing woman to help them. But then disaster struck, she quit.
This company knew about losing staff, and frankly as you grow it is inevitable, you simply outgrow the skills of some people. But in this case, they couldn’t find a lot of their data…why, because it was held in numerous spreadsheets.

Several late nights later with a lot of coffee and a lot of pizza consumed they’d found their prospect list, but they’d lost four days in the process, four entire days of not nurturing their prospects. And because they had no systems in place, it is impossible to know exactly how much this cost them.
For this particular customer, the very first thing we did to help him was to install a customer relationship management system (CRM) to ensure that there wouldn’t be a repeat of this the drama as the business grows.

What’s CRM?

It’s an indispensible tool that helps businesses manage and nurture their customer relationships. Why is it indispensable? Because it contains your most valuable asset, your database!

Because of its value, I always recommend a cloud-based solution to store information about your clients, potential clients and contacts in one central safe place that everyone in your team can access and update wherever they are. Done correctly, a CRM will also help you grow your business and keep customers happy by keeping track of interactions and tasks, and giving you a clear view of your sales pipeline.

Get organised

As your business grows, so does the volume of client data that you and your team need to manage. But to be super successful, you need clarity of this data and you wont get this from volumnous spreadsheets, certainly if the data is on different lists and spreadsheets. A CRM system will get this data organised and will keep all your client info in one easily accessible place. No more mistakes, missing files, omissions or unnecessary repetition.

Nurture your customers

Your business is built around relationships. Forgetting to call or follow up is the easiest way to lose a customer and that means losing money. Now how many super successful entrepreneur would do that? NONE!

A CRM will help you remember key actions, resolve potential issues before they get out of hand, and help you deliver a great service. Plus, your CRM will streamline your sales process and in some instances can reduce this process through automation.

Don’t repeat. Automate.

Are you forever sending the same emails and or letters, again and again? Does this feel like a groundhog day as you prepare quotes or estimates? Do you lose track of where people are in the sales funnel and send information out of sequence, or even worse, do you not have a sales sequence and respond to each enquiry individually? If you use a CRM to automate your process you can send automated task reminders and emails of ‘things to do’ and keep everyone organised. A good, well designed system will nurture leads to the point of welcoming them as new clients.

One big list

A CRM will make you ditch the scraps of paper and cut down your internal email traffic. Done well, you can use it to create a shared to-do list which will ensure everyone in your team is aligned. Best still, most have a handy dashboard to get a quick view of who’s doing what and what needs sorting by when. It takes information overload and organises it.

Handy reports

In a couple of clicks you’ll be able to produce a report detailing your pipeline, potential leads and new deals, making it much easier to make decisions and focus effort where it’s needed. It simply WILL drive conversion.

But…

You might think software like this costs the earth and in some cases you’d be right. But the good news is that there are some great products out there starting at just a few pounds per month. It is all relative, really. Once you implement a working CRM system you will see that it controls your biggest asset, your database, the source of your entire income. So in the above customers example, it’s worth £3m to his business…how much does he spend on his system? about £6k a year. Does that sound expensive? Maybe, but the same system starts at £36 a year…now is that expensive for your business?

Tell me more…

If you want to know how we can help you implement a CRM system to drive your business to increase sales, reduce costs and make more profit. Then call me on 01483 80 22 30