All too often, businesses end up investing substantial amounts into new technologies without fully harnessing their power. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are being adopted by organizations – big and small – around the world. However, many companies fail to adequately utilize the features of their CRM software. Not only is this a drain on their resources, but they are also missing out on the potential opportunities to boost profits.
Capitalizing on the opportunities provided by CRM can be tough. One of the biggest challenges of using a CRM system is to get everyone to start using it. Reaching 100 percent user adoption is extremely rare. Persuading the sales, marketing, and customer service departments to change the way they work is difficult as many people resist new methodologies. Since the success of CRM largely depends on the amount of information entered and the accuracy of the data, it is imperative to get people on board.
A crucial factor in ensuring user adoption is proper training. New technologies can be intimidating and confusing, especially for those who are not digital natives. Training is often wrapped up within a few hours, which is usually not enough. Comprehensive training workshops and easy-to-read manuals that guide people through the process, provide a big-picture look at CRM, and explain the benefits will motivate your employees to use the new software – and to do so correctly!
Once the system has been rolled out, there are bound to be a few teething problems. Getting feedback from users and making changes accordingly is an essential driver of CRM effectiveness. Another important aspect is making sure the data is mined for all it’s worth. CRM systems provide valuable insights that can be used for a range of activities, from marketing campaigns to reputation building.
The key to choosing the best CRM software system for your organization is to research a number of options and decide on one that is aligned with your company’s size, business processes, objectives, budget, and customer base. Fortunately, today’s market offers a number of reputed CRM software packages – free as well as subscription-based. The current market leader, particularly in the small company segment, is Salesforce. The software is extremely easy to use and includes top-of-the-line sales tracking and marketing modules, which are customizable. You can use the system to track existing customers, identify potential customers, generate leads, and even track employee interaction with customers. Salesforce offers a number of packages, ranging from USD 25-300 per user per month.
Other popular CRM systems include NetSuite CRM and WORKetc. NetSuite CRM is a user-friendly and customizable software with a rather unique feature – a 360-degree view of customers. A user can view all the available information and history about a customer on a single screen, eliminating the need to switch pages. NetSuite CRM is one of the more expensive options in the market and may not be suitable for those who require seamless integration with social media. WORK[etc] offers a CRM system along with project management and billing features. This all-in-one business management platform includes sales and marketing automation, customer service tools, and collaboration features. Work[etc] offers various pricing options depending on the number of users and features.
Those whose business model makes it necessary to heavily customize CRM software can consider going in for an open source CRM software. Compare the various well-known open source CRM systems to choose one that best suits your requirements. One of the best is SugarCRM, which is priced at USD 35-150 per user per month. Its fully integrated modules include customer service contact tracking, sales tracking, lead generation, mobile apps, analytics, and a custom report writer. Other well-known packages include SplendidCRM, Xtuple, and CiviCRM.