act crm consultantImplementing a CRM solution can be a daunting – and expensive – proposition.  Many organizations are already using tools including Outlook and Excel spreadsheets and can’t justify the expense involved in transitioning to a true CRM solution.  As a CRM consultant advise prospective CRM users to “keep their eye on the prize” and remember the true benefit of a good CRM installation:  greater staff efficiency, productivity – and ultimately, greater customer satisfaction and loyalty that drives increased revenues.

I’ve put together a list of what I feel are the benefits of a CRM implementation but there are probably lots of great points that I’ve missed.  Feel free to post your suggestions.

  • Unified database:  Can another employee, or management, easily access a customer’s history if an employee leaves your organization? 
  • Increased Efficiency:  Appointments and action items written on scraps of paper or on the back of a business card can be easily lost and are of no benefit to other members of the organization.
  • Customer history:  Are your sales people trying to remember everything about a customer without an easy vehicle to record that information?  There is no easy way to see the meeting/email history for a given person in Outlook.
  • * Relationship building:  Do you have an easy way to capture a contact’s likes, dislikes and other pertinent information about his business and personal life that you can use in the future to strengthen your relationship?
  • Collaboration:   Can co-workers easily access all the pertinent information on either an existing or a potential customer?
  • Workflow:   Does your organization have an effective way to manage the processes of the business including notifications, escalations and approvals?
  • Sales Pipeline:  Does management have an easy method to measure how effectively staff is achieving their goals and how well they are converting new leads into customers?  Do you have a well-defined sales process that consists of a number of steps and stages from prospecting through opportunity management to closing the deal?
  • Future Planning:  Can you forecast how much business you will be doing next quarter, or predict  your typical peak and slow periods?
  • Customer Service:  Do staff members follow guidelines for handling and resolving customer service issues for satisfactory resolution within a specified time period?  Can they easily share those results with management?  
  • Social Media:  Do you have an easy way to connect with your existing and potential customers on the various social networking sites?
  • Customer Segmentation:  Can you easily target and create for individual customers and/or pools of customers?  Existing customers become more valuable as salespeople are able to target them with more informed and relevant offers.
  • E-Marketing:  Are you able to easily reach out to large groups of your contacts to email them information and offers?  Are your mailings spam-compliant?  Can you measure your response rate?
  • Mobile Benefits:  Are you able to access needed information from your phone or remote location if needed?