CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management system (Or software, depending on who you talk to!).
They are designed to let sales reps and fulfillment teams know exactly what is going on with every single customer, at a glance.
It’s a simple, central location to organize notes on a client/potential client, know exactly what is going on with every sale (Whether it’s pending, made, or lost), and helps you to know who you need to follow up with next!
Lastly, it’s one of your best tools for organizing your sales numbers and evaluating where you need to improve in sales so you can be an informed sales rep.
My Background with CRMs:
At my first corporate job, I was required to use SalesForce.
It’s one of the most well-known and one of the most robust CRMs out there.
The problem is, that level of sophistication comes with complication. SalesForce is cumbersome and difficult to work with as a beginner. Especially since it wasn’t well set-up for the company I worked for. I only used it was to keep other reps from poaching deals from me - not for any of the things it was designed for!
It colored my perception of CRMs so much that when I started my own business I was dead-set against having a CRM.
Stuff started slipping through the cracks. I forgot to follow up with people. Leads and prospects got lost and I could never find my notes from previous conversations!
Understanding and putting a good CRM in place helped me to be more relevant to the people I was talking with, and simplified my whole life.
How to Maximize It
There’s a few steps to this process…
1 - Choose a CRM
If this is your first CRM, make sure it’s simple and that you understand it.
There are a ton of CRMs out there with loads of features.Things like…
Drip Email Campaigns
E. G., if you want to send an email to someone, you can set up a reminder to email them again in three days if you haven’t heard back from them.
Complex Tracking Dashboards
For helping you to figure out what is going where and what needs to be shored up so that your pipeline is working more smoothly and isn’t dropping leads or sales.
But again: make sure it’s simple enough for you to understand and use!
If you don’t, you could end up spending hours trying to get it set-up properly, and trying to understand features that are irrelevant for your stage in the business when you primarily need to drive sales.
We started with LessAnnoyingCRM, I highly recommend it for CRM beginners!
2 - Keep It Updated
In order for your CRM to be relevant and helpful, you must keep it updated.
The best way to do this is to update things as you go. Literally as you go.
I’ve gone so far as to have the CRM up in a tab on my computer while meeting with a client (With their permission and not directly between us, of course!) to type the notes directly into the CRM.
It does get easier to work on your laptop while working with a client. As you continue to do it, it will get less cumbersome and awkward and you will learn how to be present with the client while also typing your notes into the CRM. But this is a practice-makes-perfect technique.
I know quite a few people who try and update the CRM from a notebook at the end of every week. But it takes hours to do and without someone holding you accountable to do so, I find most small business owners try and use the notebook as their CRM and end up in the same situation as before!
3 - Share Your CRM, If Possible
This is mostly for the sake of accountability, because we all need it!
You could do this with a coworker, employee, or even a coach or colleague from across the country. One of the beauties of CRMs is that you can set it up so it’s sharable and someone in New York can be watching what you’re updating from Los Angeles.
Knowing that someone else is looking and watching for updates makes it a whole lot easier to remember and actually take action to keep things updated throughout the week (and even the day). Accountability was what helped me realize that I needed to keep the CRM up all the time. When I brought another team member on who was also looking at the CRM for updates, I suddenly felt the pressure to ensure it was updated consistently and quickly -- and that change prevented things from getting lost throughout the day.
Being the accountability partner for the other individual also helps them get something out of helping you.
If you don’t have a CRM…
I strongly suggest finding a simple one and keeping it updated throughout the day! It simplified my life, and I was able to add in features as I got more comfortable with it so that it has become an incredible tool for my business.
CRMs make it easy to focus on what is important: keeping sales coming through the door.
If you’re new to CRMs and want to start with LessAnnoyingCRM like we did, you can sign up at this link and get two free months instead of one!
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About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!