It never fails.
The caller or e-mailer identifies himself/herself, notes how the referral came about and gets right to the heart of the matter, “which CRM software should I use?”
I don’t know.
I can’t answer the question because I don’t have enough particulars. Here’s what you need to consider when you begin rubbing up against this decision:
Why are you considering CRM software?
You don’t need CRM software to survive and even thrive. You could use a paper system. The current software is based on paper systems that were developed over the last century by the best sales forces.
But paper systems that can handle a thousand contacts, their data and all the records will take up a very large corner of your office. You can handle ten times that on your low-cost laptop, and easily up to a hundred times that on a server based system.
The system difference between Contact and Customer is in the data you keep. Essential contact information is the same for both. But with customers you also need to know the things that drive your transactions but more importantly the drivers of your relationship.
What do you expect to get out of the symbiotic relationship you’re thinking of entering?
Is there some feature of one of the programs that you’ve heard about that you’d like to have? You get all those marvelous capabilities that a computer brings: sorting by groups, automatic addressing, form letters that look one-off, instant access, alarms to call your attention to required activities, the ability to print out personalized calendars, direct linkage to fax and e-mail, simplicity of duplication, ease of sharing files with others in your organization, multi-level networked scheduling and on and on.
Most importantly you can increase your productivity.
But the secret of doubling your effectiveness is really pretty simple:
- When you finish with an action on a client, customer or prospect, decide what you next action will be and when you will take it,
- Note that in your system.
- Do it when the time comes. Simply do it.
On paper or computer, that’s all it takes to double your business.
How are you going to convert from your current approach/system?
Most people dread this more than anything else. They’re so used to that card file or album or their paper list that all they can see is a massive typing job. And then they’re not quite sure how to take the daily calendar they use and make it work with the new computerized capabilities.
There is a way. The secret is to keep what works for you, experiment with the new capabilities and then go with what works over time.
Entering the names and addresses and phone numbers of the people you maintain contact with is easier than you might think. Converting your current database (an excel file?) to a CSV file allows you to easily map the fields you use directly to the new software. If you’re like most folks you’ll find when you begin reviewing your contacts that those you are really in touch with (and have current data on) are fewer than 25%.
I strongly recommend that you pare down your current contact list to those you really reach out to on a regular basis. You’ll have a better fix on all those people and required actions than ever before. And you will be able to take advantage of the capabilities of the software to generate more business more quickly and keep those customers longer.
CRM Software can help you take your business, your career and, yes, even your life to the next level. Here’s the best integrated solution I’ve found for solopreneurs and small businesses.
How you use your CRM Software is critical to your success. Get advice from a strategic marketing expert: www.JerryFletcher.com
To book Jerry to speak for your group: www.NetworkingNinja.com