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I already have a lot of information about my customers. What can CRM tell me that I don’t already know?

You may already be storing a lot of details about your customers – where they live, what they do, their age, their interests, etc. – but are you joining the dots and getting the most out of that data?

Typical organisations store customer data in information “islands,” i.e. isolated in several different software applications. CRM from a reputable supplier, like HubSpot (check out this guide to HubSpot over on Whitehat), allows you to collate all this information in one central location, and thus to possibly see connections you didn’t even know existed.

Another key benefit of CRM is easy customer segmentation, allowing you to see which types of customer are buying which products, and then to group and target them accordingly.

What can CRM do for my employees?

Giving your staff access to greater amounts of information gives them the power to make quicker, better-informed decisions. This can speed up your business processes, make your service more efficient and effective, and consequently impress your customers.

Are there any benefits to the customers themselves?

Of course. As well as the obvious improvements to your efficiency, service and delivery, CRM allows you to involve your customers in your business. CRM systems facilitate customer satisfaction surveys, online ordering and account management, and online order tracking. CRM modified for the mortgage industry may also cater to aspects similar to lead distribution too.

OK, I am nearly ready to invest in a CRM system. What areas do I need to consider before I make my choice?

Before you choose your CRM system there are several points you need to consider.

Customisation – no two businesses work the same way, so you will need a system that can be customised to your requirements. For example, VinSolutions offers a great option for car dealerships looking to invest in CRM software and would be better suited to their business requirements than a generalised system.

Compatibility – as we have seen, CRM, pervades throughout all areas of your company, so you will need a CRM system that can talk to your existing applications.

Future IT strategy – what are your future IT plans? Do you make stuff? Will you need a Manufacturing Software add-on? You will need to make sure any changes or new applications you plan to introduce will integrate seamlessly with your CRM system.

Provider – from the outset, you need to be very clear about the role of the software provider who is supplying your CRM system. Are they simply selling you on off-the-shelf product, or are they designing a customised system?

Installation – how long will the installation process take? How much training will staff need? In general, how much disruption will be caused to your business while people get used to the new system?

People – for most of your staff a new CRM system will mean a new way of working. While some people embrace change, others prefer to stick with the ways they know, inefficient through they may be.

Remote access – some employees, particularly those who travel a lot, may need to access your CRM system from outside your offices. Make sure the system is compatible with your staff’s remote devices and your communications technology, and ensure that your security isn’t compromised.

Andy McGowan
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