Setting up your first customer relationship management (CRM) system requires a significant investment of time and resources. In working with clients, we’ve learned that there are several misconceptions about exactly what a CRM system can do, and equally important, what it cannot do. We’ve taken some of these lessons learned to create the following Truths and Myths overview of the CRM world.
Myth #1: I’m Just a Small Business, I Don’t Need a CRM
Much like investing and orthodontia, the best time to start building a CRM system is as early as possible. The advantage of creating a CRM, even for small businesses, is that the initial setup and integration requires less time since there are few customers and therefore less data to convert or input. Equally important is the fact that, for many small businesses, the types of information that is stored in a CRM is often scattered about – in files, in Outlook, even the classic Rolodex. A CRM system allows small businesses to centralize their customer data in a single place.
Myth #2: A CRM Can’t Do Anything More Than My Current System
One of the key advantages of a CRM system is that it’s able to generate detailed information on your customers, providing insights that might otherwise be overlooked. Equally important, CRM systems help internal teams communicate more efficiently through shared knowledge as well as avoid the dreaded problem of requiring customers to re-enter data or be asked the same questions by different employees when they request information or status updates.
Myth #3: A CRM System Won’t Be Able to Grow With My Business
In the early days of CRMs, and computing in general, there were limitations on the amount of data that these systems could store. However, with the drastic increase in computing power as well as a drastic decrease in the cost of storage this is no longer an issue. In addition, using open source systems (such as SugarCRM) helps ensure that any CRM system will be fully scalable no matter how large (or how quickly) your business grows.
Truth 1: Setting Up a CRM System Will Take Time
Here at Shift One Labs we’ve worked with numerous clients that are setting up their very first CRM system. This experience has taught us that having a direct, straightforward conversation about the timeframes involved to create, or transition, a CRM system makes for a far more efficient process. We believe in providing accurate estimates and ongoing updates throughout the entire process. We also know that a well-built CRM system will provide significant and ongoing ROI.
Truth 2: Keeping a CRM System Up To Date Is Crucial
Much like gym memberships at the start of a new year the trick with a new CRM system is to create internal processes and systems that ensure that it continues to be updated even once that new CRM shine has worn off. Different clients handle this aspect in different ways – for example, making CRM updates a part of a specific job position or role, or setting aside a window of time each week to update the system. Which leads to…
Truth 3: Inputting Data Consistency Is Equally Important
It is an age old (computing) maxim, but the data you get from a system is only as good as the data you put in (or, more colloquially, garbage in, garbage out). For this reason, you will want to define (in writing) exactly how each field in the CRM system will be filled in. This way, no matter how the system is updated, it is done in a consistent, accurate manner.
We hope this has helped shed light on a few of the lessons we’ve learned during the initial creation and transition of CRM systems for our clients. If you’re interested in busting a few more myths, you might find this enlightening: Common Myth & Conceptions.
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