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Why do small / ALL business need a CRM solution?

The short answer to this is because all businesses need customers (or clients). However, we are all human and therefore fallible. So we need some support to make this happen continuously and successfully.

What is CRM?

There are many answers to this question, but perhaps what is most important is to remember that CRM is far more than technology. In fact, although technology usually forms part of a CRM solution, it is never all of it. I like this model of CRM as it reminds us that CRM is about people and process.

CRM Model by Gill Walker

The technology is subservient to these.

The technology performs three parts of the overall process

  1. Holds the data in an easy to enter way
  2. Makes the relevant data easy to retrieve
  3. Does the repetitive work to save time for your people.

In summary, what CRM gives us is easy access to the information – both our own and colleagues – to enable us improve the relationship between our organisation and the prospect, and where relevant, their organisation. We should be able to see quickly and simply a history of communications, so that we can move the relationship forward, rather than going over old ground. We should be able to rely on the CRM to take on some of the repetitive tasks such as sending high quality emails and updating some data.

How CRM can increase the profit of your business

There are five ways that we can increase the profit of any business. These five ways are shown below:

Five Ways CRM Increases Profit by Gill Walker
What is particularly interesting in this model is the compounding. If you increase each of the lines by 10%, your overall improvement is not 10%, it is not 50%, but 61% !!

True CRM can help with all five of these improvements.

Increase the number of leads to the business

Structured marketing campaigns which take advantage of the metrics so you can see what is successful and what is not will form part of any true CRM solution.

Increase the conversion rate of those leads to actual customers / clients

Once someone has approached your organisation and expressed some interest, the improved interaction management will prevent these interested leads from falling between the cracks

Increase the size of an order

A true CRM should have enough information about your products to help your sales people upsell, not just the eponymous “Would you like fries with that?” as an upsell to the current order, but also showing all of the client’s order history.

Increase the number of orders placed in a time period

By alerting your sales team to when a particular customer has not had a call for a while, you can reduce the likelihood of that prospect moving to another supplier for products that you can provide

Increase the profit per order

The biggest hits to profit are often hidden in the overall cost of sale. By making the entire sales process easier, the profit per line goes up.

CRM is not just for sales

True CRM will give you one data repository for all of your client data – from the moment that they first engage with you, or a colleague at your organisation, to when the relationship comes to an end. This encompasses marketing, sales and support. Once a prospect becomes a client, they should be receiving communications that relate to sales and marketing as well as service in parallel, rather than sequentially. Organisations who are successfully using a CRM will be touching each of their clients and prospects at least 15 times per year – in a mixture of ways. Modern CRM solutions can also bring information in from social media and SMS communications to help you build up that big overall picture of the relationship.

True CRM will also enable to ‘slice and dice’ that data to see what is working, and perhaps more importantly, what is not working, so that you, and your organisation, can learn and grow.

How to make YOUR CRM implementation successful?

Understand the issues that you are trying to solve. These issues will be areas within the business where processes and / or data in the legacy systems cause the users, or customers / clients to work inefficiently, perhaps re-entering data, or hunting for information or performing manually tasks that could readily be automated.

Understand the technology in enough detail to see how much of the issues can be resolved out of the box and then design a solution that really takes advantage of the existing functionality. I have worked with many failing and failed projects and the underlying cause of he failure comes back to poor use of the selected technology.

Ensure that your implementation includes enough education so that the implementation maximises on the functionality that comes out of the box and the users know how to use the solution to make their own tasks simpler and more efficient.


This article was written for and originally published in Behind The Brand