Why your growing business needs CRM
A CRM platform for tracking the entire sales pipeline, from initial contact with a salesperson through to aftersales care and support transforms a business
One of the challenges for any new and growing business is the timings and nature of decisions regarding the deployment of enterprise technology. Many start-ups begin with little more than a computer, the Microsoft Office suite, an internet connection and a phone. But before long, the successful ones need to consider more business-focused applications such as accounting software, ERP solutions – or customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
What is CRM?
CRM software might best be said to be software that helps you manage customer relationships. Its primary function is to provide a centralised record of the contact details – and contact histories– of every customer relationship.
‘Customer relationship’ does not just refer to existing customers – it also covers potentialcustomers, and those who you have worked with in the past but do not have a current agreement with. In this way, it forms a platform for tracking the entire sales pipeline, from initial contact with a salesperson through to aftersales care and support.
Why does your growing business need it?
Without a CRM solution, organisations typically use a series of different manual processes for managing potential, existing and past customer communications. Individual salespeople may maintain their own documents or processes for managing the sales pipeline. Customer details may be tracked on one or more cumbersome spreadsheets. Contact details may be stored in digital address books. Past communications with customers may simply be left on email chains.
With a CRM solution, your organisation suddenly has a single centralised and dynamic source of information for all of these disparate parts – which all employees can access and update as they need to.
Say an existing customer calls with a support query about your product or service. The agent taking the call can search for said customer in the CRM and immediately pull up your organisation’s full communication and sales history with that customer, enabling them to immediately get to grips with the query and where it fits with previous questions, problems or advice given.
Alternatively, say a salesperson has met a potential client at a networking event. A CRM platform allows them to log those contact details and track their follow-up communication, enabling a more strategic, measured and organised sales pipeline, with ultimately greater changes of success.
This consolidated, so-called ‘single pane of glass’ view is essential for sustainable growth – without it, growing businesses are quickly constrained by manual or error-prone processes and a lack of customer information. It doesn’t take many customers to realise that your organisation cannot remember their last call with you for your reputation to start to take a hit.
What does CRM look like for smaller organisations?
In the recent past, only the largest companies could afford CRM software. Deploying it was a major undertaking, typically requiring complex integrations with other enterprise IT applications and a hefty financial outlay. Now, however, the advent of cloudCRM has enabled even the smallest businesses to take advantage of these benefits in a flexible and cost-effective way.
As with any other as-a-service software applications, cloud CRM enables organisations to pay for CRM on an ongoing basis, for as much or as little as they need. They can scale it up as their business grows, rather than shelling out for far more than they need from the outset.
How, then, to choose the right CRM for a growing business? Look for ease of installation, access and use above all else. Small businesses are less likely to have an extensive in-house IT resource, so should prioritise intuitive usage and hassle-free deployment. Look, too, for scalability, and a modular approach which means you can add more sophisticated functionality as your business grows.
It is for these reasons that we think Odoo is the perfect CRM solution for small and fast-growth businesses, and we are proud to be a Gold Partner.to explore how you can deploy Odoo in your own organisation.