(Customer Relationship Management) is all about, yep you’ve guessed it, managing relationships with customers. Seems pretty obvious doesn’t it? But it’s only now that CRM
is really coming into its own. Why? Because powerful computing, very clever software developers and the internet have spawned a proliferation of CRM solutions and solution providers. Whether you think marketing is a science, a religion or both, CRM protagonists are the new evangelists; and I’m not just talking about raw enthusiasm here – it has actually taken them over!
Hell hath no fury like the manager of an under-performing business, and as we are currently experiencing a third dip, that makes most of us. Furious or not, we are either vulnerable or rather receptive (honest) to just about anything that’s going to maximise business performance and see us through to the next Christmas party.
(Search Engine Optimisation) approaches the maturity section of the growth curve (when hopefully all the charlatans start to fall by the wayside) CRM, another three letter acronym, has taken its place. But behold, where are the charlatans? All I can see are lots of – how does one put this? – jolly nice chaps and chapesses peddling – sorry, it’s not SEO, promoting – a miscellany of CRM solutions that all look rather good!
OK, so for a small business owner the risk of getting ripped off by a CRM ‘specialist’ is a squillion times lower than getting in with the wrong SEO crowd. So why is the actual task of choosing the right solution no easier? Because to any business with an ounce of sense, the SEO company to choose is the one that’s optimised its own website and appears on page 1 of Google! “Oh, of course! Why didn’t we do that instead of using ABC SEO?” I hear you cry! (Sorry to any SEO business called ABC SEO
but as I couldn’t find you when I Googled “ABC SEO” you must be crap and deserve all you get!).
However, how to pick the best CRM solution is a bit of a Hopak
, also referred to as Gopak or Cossack dance). In other words it’s a pretty strenuous and often ball-breaking song and dance, and I should know because I’ve just about got to the end of an exhaustive investigation into the best CRM for smaller businesses.!
Experienced bloodhound or not, it’s hard work because you’ve got to keep your feet squarely on the ground for this one. No grandiose ideas of “Wow, I can really do all this with ABC CRM” (I am not recommending ABC CRM – as far as I know they don’t exist as I couldn’t find them when I Googled them. However, they may have chosen the wrong SEO supplier!) Because as a smaller business you won’t do all that, believe me! You’ll do a fraction of it, i.e. the most essential bits.
Being star-struck by the CRM super-leaguers like the brilliant but more often than not ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’ Salesforce.com
is a big no-no! The success of your CRM is down to how well you manage it, or rather the quality of the data you enter into it. To quote a CRM mantra, “If it isn’t in there it never happened” and if it isn’t in there and did happen then you are failing your CRM and your CRM will fail you. If you don’t have the time, the resources or the inclination, don’t waste your money! If you do then choose an easy, intuitive system that’s scalable. How do you find one? Well, checking the top review sites won’t help as they only list the super-leaguers and they’ll probably, as I have said, be too big.
I would recommend you check out Zoho.com
, Google’s CRM offering, and Maximiser.com
, a lesser-known system but it has over a million users and for a very good reason – it’s really good! Google the reviews for both of these, sign up for a free trial and see for yourself.
If you would like to talk to us about which system would suit your business and how best to install it, please contact us as we work with some splendid specialists and hopefully you’ll enter a well-informed, intelligent and carefully managed relationship with us – we hope!