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The Big Secret is that Success is NOT a Big Secret – the process is nothing new. Most people just refuse to see it because it’s hard work and takes time – and they may need help to get it started and implemented. It’s planning, recording, tracking and analysis – which you can only do with a CRM.

I still have people asking – quite often – “What is a CRM?”
The “RM” stands for Relationship Management but the “C” can be for Contact, Customer or Client Relationship Manager. From Wikipedia, CRM is OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT.

Quite simply, it’s a way to record, track and analyze your marketing efforts to find out what works and what doesn’t. It also allows you track/analyze any particular person, allowing you to set up campaigns (action plans) that will take that person through your sales funnel (and back through it for repeat or vertical sales).

Don’t even tell me you are using Excel – it won’t do the campaigns, tracking, reporting or analysis that a CRM will do and most CRM’s (including 1-Box.com) are very inexpensive. The reason most people that are still using Excel haven’t moved to a real system is that it requires time and effort to find the right fit for their company.

What they don’t realize is that they will have to move to a CRM sooner or later to grow their business, so it’s better to start the right way. It will teach you good business practices so you CAN grow your business if you use the features listed below.

I had to laugh because this quote is so true and certainly applies to success in any form. This came from a friend – Thanks, Damon!. Here it is:
I told a close friend that is interested in writing a book that I focus on writing one page per day. He said that by the time you end up editing and removing things that could take you a whole year. I asked him how long he had wanted to write a book. He said for about 5 or 6 years. I didn’t feel the need to drive that point home.

Truth be told, sales is hard work and it has to be a consistent effort – any salesperson will tell you that. What small companies and entrepreneurs rarely understand is that Marketing and Sales are two completely different job descriptions, and you cannot succeed without attention spent on both.

Sales requires a list that Marketing should attain or develop, be it a bought list of their demographic target market, or a list from a leads generator, or one generated from their ads and social media. Without a targeted list, even the most experienced sales person will not succeed. Both should be using the same CRM system for obvious reasons.

The success of any business is directly proportional to their list – and how they use it!

Even if you are only a one-person entrepreneur or a large business, you need a system to record and track every lead through your sales funnel. Let me say that again – unless you have a hot product where you can’t keep enough stock to fill the orders or you have more clients than you can handle where your product is not new or seasonal, or you want to make repeat or vertical sales to existing customers, you need a good CRM!

These are the things you should look for in a CRM:

  • Customer Satisfaction
    Your CRM should allow you to communicate with prospects and customers in an organized manner and if it’s a good CRM, it will allow you to track all communication. Customers will appreciate having the transcript for reference when they call back with an issue. This is also how you find out if your customer service department is doing their job! It can also save you if there is a question of if you (your company) did what you should have.
  • Identify Leads and Grow Your Business
    Eliminate manual or Excel based leads tracking so that you can sort and select by lead source to see what’s working and what’s not. This is time consuming in Excel and leads get lost, especially if you depend on manual entry. You should have all leads come through a source that you set up so it’s automatically updated into your database.
  • Build Marketing Strategy (along with #2)
    Should allow you to keep a centralized record of your existing customers, their requirements and purchases. You can use this database to offer, suggest and promote other products based on their previous purchases. Your marketing team can build their marketing strategy to identify potential buyers based on those preferences and previous purchases.
  • Automated and On-Demand Reporting
    Use reporting to analyze how to cut your spending in low ROI areas, help identify your true target market so that you can funnel more resources in the right direction, find your best performing lead-to-conversion marketing campaigns. This should drive your future marketing plans.
  • Better planning and scheduling of tasks
    Use Action Plans, which should be a list of tasks, activities or campaigns based on where each contact is in your sales funnel. A good example is in our Real Estate portal – each new client is assigned an Action Plan where they may get an email, a phone call, a pdf, have to sign something or pay something, or any number of things based on how many days since the last activity or status change. If they’ve been manually updated from “Listing” to “Closed”, then they start on a whole new Action Plan.
    Certain tasks show up on the Calendar automatically and scheduling features can be used to plan ahead and allocate tasks to team members. Improve efficiency, optimize time and get better results.
  • Mobile access
    With a good dashboard or an app, your team can have instant access to contacts, leads and client/customer info for various functions like creating, viewing, updating and deleting records. You should be able to send emails and record communication made to leads and clients.

We offer a very affordable service where we enter your business cards into the CRM for you! Large or small lots, and any kind of cards, even Christmas cards!

  • Alerts
    If you get in a product that a client is asking for, you can be alerted so that you can make the sale quickly. If you get a lead in from your website, social media or an ad, you can be alerted – you only have about half a minute to grab them before they move on to your competitors. You can use alerts to remind you of appointments or actions due today. All of these are critical to your business.
  • Automated (Drip) Marketing
    A strong feature of CRM allows you to run marketing and email campaigns around time-sensitive promotions and opportunities. This feature helps you improve your marketing ROI by getting real time information of what strategy is working and what is not, allowing you to make adjustments and improvements in real time as well.
  • Online Customer Service
    Use your customer’s preferred mode of communication – web, social, chat, ads etc. Your CRM can be connected to all of these and can record all communication. You can assign these to your team for follow-up, minimize service response time, improve case resolutions and increase customer self-service with a Knowledge Base.
  • Integrations
    Some CRM’s have business functionality integrations built in to prevent multiple system entry. Also, look for integrations with QuickBooks, Google (Maps, Calendars), Microsoft Office 365, and other helpful tools like Social Zing (put your Social Media posting on autopilot).

Also look for a company that can integrate your web site into your CRM so your database is updated in real time from “Request for Info” , “Sign Up for Newsletter (or Giveaways)” and eCommerce.

  • Document Repository (Cloud Storage)
    Look for a flexible system for storage of your documents and for attaching them to communication with contacts, leads and clients/customers.

Example: This is especially important for companies like roofing, security systems and construction rehab, where they may sell on the spot or respond to a phone call, downloading the contract on their tablet for the customer to sign, sending that in real-time on to the home office where they schedule the job. While the salesperson is still on premises, they can take pictures of what’s to be done and upload them to the customer’s folder for later submission to the insurance company along with pictures taken after the job for verification. The same can be done for any paperwork required – contracts, warranties, information, upcoming specials/discounts, and we can implement bar code (or QR) scanning as well.

  • Administration Interface for D-I-Y Adjustments
    Make sure you can add data fields and customize your views so you see the data you need without being overwhelmed with things you don’t need and also so you aren’t charged for every little adjustment.

So what we have done here at Cassara Systems is to build the integrated CRM Business System that most businesses need – from the ground up, based on knowledge gained from 20+ years of consulting to companies like IBM, Caterpillar, Square D, Buehler Motors, Rhone Poulenc (Union Carbide) – plus adding in the years of Internet Marketing experience and success.

We also sell, set up, support and train on Infusionsoft and Microsoft Dynamics.

We now offer a Business and/or Marketing Subscription service so YOU can understand these tough but necessary topics at a price ANYONE can afford!
Click here for more info.

_____________________________________________________________
Dawn Cassara
What Dawn is passionate about and speaks on:

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– TIP – the Time Invested Principal
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