Sales consultants will tell business executives that they need to have a customer relationship management system. How else do you get a look at the sales activity in your firm? There are many different kinds of CRM systems with various strengths and weaknesses and price points. How to choose one?
Well, one factor is ease of use. Sales people don’t want to use CRM anyway. It’s paperwork. Sales guys hate paperwork. CRM has to be frictionless – maybe even intuitive. A good user interface is essential. Integration with e-mail is optional. The ability to add notes and e-mails has to be simple. If you can find one that is voice integrated, bingo!
For managers, it has to have a clear dashboard for a quick view of the funnel – both the sales and the disconnects.
For investors, it not only has to be used and up-to-date, but demonstrate the ability to pull reports about the sales funnel and data points like post-ink churn.
If you turn over even one salesperson per year, a CRM system is necessary to capture the work of the salesperson after he leaves. You paid for his time; you should have something to show for the effort, even if it is only contacts.
If your company has a virtual work force, CRM is vital for collaboration among members of management, sales and marketing. Even support staff will find it helpful to have notes on the customers that they are assisting. It isn’t just the notes being available to other employees; it’s that the customer or prospect doesn’t want to explain the same things to each employee. The appearance to the customers that you have a shared data system and that everyone in the organization is on the same page is important. Sales is about trust. Who is going to trust a business that can’t communicate internally?
Customer knowledge is indispensable for an organization. From investors to management to support, the information accumulated during the sales process (including contract details) needs to be available to all members of the organization that are responsible for sales delivery. CRM is the best way to capture and house that information. Make CRM a habit.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi