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Safeguarding Tips To Deter Usual CRM Software Traps

Safeguarding Tips To Deter Usual CRM Software Traps

 Numerous CRM software abound on the market today and each is different from the other. There are some awesome products out there which can create explosive business growth but then there's the systems that are so difficult to use and enforce they could spell financial ruin for your firm. And it is not simply easy to tell which is which. More often than not, businessmen are swayed by sleek talking salesmen who don't give a fig about your business demands and they end up with CRM software that's not appropriate for their business' size, wanting in features, has adoption issues or plain and simple not tailored to their company needs. But just knowing about these day to day pitfalls instantly can help you forestall trouble. 

 

Business people get into business to make money, so the main function of a CRM system would be to help you make profit. A return of investment or ROI would normally be the goal of most SMBs (Small Medium Businesses). A CRM software that is able to sustain you all the way through and one that has the capability to grow with the company is another issue to consider. By employing the practices below you should be able to attain your goals without falling into any software traps: 

 

1. Sticking to the business model Get clear about your company identity, sales practices and overall strategy. And don't get swooned by all the fancy functionality you see. CRM software must be assessed according to the business strategy as well as the demands of your sales team in the accomplishment of their goals. Consider inviting your leading salesperson or sales manager along to any CRM presentation so they can help you interpret which CRM's will enhance their performance and which tools may prove to be a costly distraction. Your overall business plan should not in any way change just because of your new CRM tool. 

 

2. Be wary of rigid CRM software Even start-up companies need a flexible CRM solution that will grow with them and their clientele. For instance, keep away of systems that make it hard to scale up and down; when business is good, you should be able to bring in the resources to ride that wave, but when your market is quiet, reducing your software costs should be made as painless as possible. A versatile CRM software should be a business tool with functionalities that would adapt to your demands and not hinder you with its limitations. 

 

3. Select an easy-to-use CRM software Not all simple products are mediocre. Employees tend to embrace software with a easy-to-understand user interface because they are easier to use. Having an Online CRM (which is similar to using an internet browser) is the best choice, as your staff can navigate the tool with ease and confidence. 

 

4. Pick a CRM software that requires minimum or no training IT training is time-consuming, an additional expense and more often than not, your staff hate it. Many Online CRM Software packages are perfect as they are fashioned around internet browsers so anyone can start using them right away without the need for training. Furthermore, choose a CRM system with in-built training courses or online webinars so your staff can up-skill at their own pace and retain information more. Which means that you save on training fees, too. 

 

5. Stress the advantages of the CRM Software to the team Involving employees at all levels may speed up the success of the CRM software being implemented. By getting the team participating, you can show them how the CRM is created to make their work lives more convenient instead of just being something new and frustrating they have to forcibly learn. When your staff understand the roles they are expected to perform in achieving company goals and appreciate the necessity for a CRM, they will readily embrace the new CRM solution. 

 

6. Understanding your business needs Every company is distinct and have distinct business needs and requirements. A company needs to truly understand their needs to select the best CRM system that fits their budget, their clients, and their corporate structure. 

 

Choosing from a wide array of CRM tools may be hard but having in mind what you truly need and want will spare you from sliding into these usual CRM traps. 

 

CRM Software - Your Entry Point - What Initial Strategy is Right For You? 


CRM Software is a key business strategy whether you are a large enterprise with thousands of customers or a small business with a select, but equally important customer base. Generally, your strategy will be the same - to keep customer information in a single place that allows you to have everything about that customer at your fingertips. This will mean that you maintain a link between your sales, marketing, customer and even your finance information. The goal however is to increase opportunities and sales and maximise the productivity of your staff. 
 
The type of system you choose will be determined by your needs now and in the future. Do you build and configure your CRM software solution based around a specific product or do you use a web based CRM software solution to suit today's needs with a view to growth? Either way, your CRM system will be a function of budget and requirements. 
 
Configuring a CRM system may cost the same whether you have 20 users or 100 users so economies of scale do exist. The return on your investment is better the more users you have as a customised system could have theoretically the same amount of consultancy time if the roles were the same. 
 
Your decision point for an in-house configured system is made for you if you need to integrate into your own systems. For example, do you need to integrate into your accounting system, your distribution ERP system or your warehouse? This solution will also require specialist consultancy support and is not a normal function of a "off the shelf" stock standard systems. 
 
Web based CRM software, using software as a service provides a substantially lower entry cost into CRM than an in house configured system. For many small to medium enterprises, paying monthly fees based on the number of users yields a more cost effective initial price point. If your needs are based around CRM software traditional applications such as contact management, marketing & lead management and activity management such as calendars, phone calls, then a web based approach will probably be right for you. 
 
Web based CRM software however may not be as flexible as you want and have limitations on how you can customize your CRM because they are multi tenancy. This means that you have many people using the system and so parts of these systems must be standard. Therefore, you can't make the changes you need for own situation. It may well be that web based CRM is a good fit for you if you want a stock standard CRM system for marketing, sales and customer service teams. 
 
Your decision point is therefore whether you need to integrate into your other business systems or not. 
 
A typical CRM strategy is to begin with a web based CRM. Small, but growing companies might deploy their CRM in a hosted environment initially with a view to migrating into an in-house system when financially appropriate. The initial cost of ownership does not justify an in-house system and budgetary constraints may prevent owning a system. Today, such options exist. For example, Microsoft Dynamic CRM can be deployed in a web based CRM software environment but later the configurations and data can be redeployed into an in-house solution. This is incredibly flexible and totally seamless. 
 
Planning CRM strategies is therefore a key element of your business strategy. Having a three year cost of ownership analysis, together with understanding your integration requirements into other systems will determine whether an in-house CRM is suitable or initially you will be better placed with a web based CRM software solution. 
 
Antony Dutton is Managing Director and co-founder of Aaromba - CRM software & service management software specialists. 
 
Aaromba uses best of breed technology and methodologies, designing solutions to improve sales and marketing for CRM software. Working with over 800 clients Aaromba specialises in Microsoft CRM Software and web based CRM software. Leveraging its knowledge and experience, Aaromba develops comprehensive workflows and best practice methodology to provide performance visibility for managemen 


CRM Software - Finding the Right Solution 


CRM software solutions have progressed considerably in recent times. While the key ingredient in a successful system is always the design and planning, the software solution can also make or break your CRM. The first step is to plan your system based on your needs - and then match a best of breed solution that best fits those requirements. 
 
Obtaining expert knowledge of the market leading CRM platforms is critical if you want a truly tailored CRM system - designed to improve your business from day one, and be robust enough to grow as your business grows. 
 
What is CRM? 
 
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. You can find a number of different definitions for CRM. CRM does not stand still; it evolves as "CRM solutions" and is used in a greater number of ways. This has now been termed xRM - Anything Relationship Management. 
 
CRM is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. Traditionally, the more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends. 
 
CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behaviour of customers and the value of those customers. 
 
Using CRM, a business can: 
 
Provide better customer service 
Increase customer revenues 
Discover new customers 
Cross sell/Up Sell products more effectively 
Help sales staff close deals faster 
Make call centres more efficient 
Simplify marketing and sales processes 
CRM software traditionally has a number of 'out-of-the-box' modules that can be turned on and off. Each vendor application has different features. 
Sales Force Automation 
Most companies today look to achieving the highest levels of efficiency. With CRM, they are able to automate various tasks that can be made available to anyone involved in customer service. This includes direct sales staff, management, accounting, ordering and customer service. Automating your sales force means you can free up time spent on repetitive tasks, and use that time more effectively. 
 
Considering sales force automation, you need to answer of a few basic questions: 
 
What tasks are my staff doing repeatedly 
How much time is spent on this task 
Can the "thinking" be easily defined? 
Does the human element make the task more correct or more likely to contain errors? 
There are a number of primary benefits of sales force automation: 
Storing contacts allows you to track and manage your clients and prospects with an up to the minute view of where they are in the sales cycle. 
Managing sales leads is often difficult, but essential to the health of a company. Being able to forecast and track leads in your sales pipeline enables you to have a clear understanding of predicting your revenue and profit. 
Lead management can assist you to manage specific campaigns, improve conversion rates and measure ROI on that campaign. 
Sales force and sales management productivity will increase with a more simplified and easier access to greater information on each client/prospect to give a view of the end to end sales process. 
Customer information is shared and easily used across your sales, marketing and customer-service divisions. 
HostedCRM or SaaS (Software as a Service) 
Web based CRM is a simple customer relationship management solution for growing businesses. 
In a hosted environment, all the software, hardware, and technical support and administration are made available by the CRM hosting provider via the internet. Some of the advantages of hostedCRM include: 
You gain all the benefits of a more traditional CRM solution, but the maintenance and support of the infrastructure is managed by your web based CRM provider. 
A distributed workforce is able to work more effectively satisfying customers with the most up to date client information. This works particularly well for a mobile sales team needed to keep track of orders. 
HostedCRM solution is a cost effective solution as you pay a monthly subscription. 
Customer Service 
Call Centre Software allows you to manage a large number of calls. By queuing calls and processing them as quickly as possible you can maintain high levels of service. 
Help Desk Software helps you manage problems and enables a quick response to your customers or employees. By having a repository of problems and resolutions, you create a knowledgebase for faster issue resolution. Additionally, you can create problem escalation processes and service level agreements (SLA) and report on them. 
Service Desk Software is the evolution of Help Desk Software. By incorporating ITIL best practices with management best practice, Service Desk Software now does more than resolve a 'Case' or 'Incident'. 
Partner Relationship Management 
Contract management software automates the contracting process from contract creation, through tracking, managing, compliance and renewal. 
 
Distribution Management Software enables you to work more effectively with your partners by creating, tracking and managing your distributorships and partnerships. 
 
xRM 
 
xRM (Anything Relationship Management) has evolved from CRM. Today, companies require a more integrated approach to managing their business and a key component of this is the access to mission-critical applications and information. As such they are managing anything (X) in their organisation going beyond just the customer relationships. 
 
Essentially xRM does not distinguish between the traditional customer view and your "internal" customers. Having uniformity in the entire process, regarding all those in your company involved in satisfying your clients requirements requires uniformity of data, applications and processes accessible at all times from a single place. 
 
xRM is a strategic approach to systemizing how your business runs in the most cost-effective and customer oriented manner. 
 
Aaromba uses best of breed technology and methodology for solutions designed to improve sales and marketing including CRM software [http://www.aaromba.com/31_crm.asp], Service Management Software [http://www.aaromba.com/33_servicedesk.asp] and customer service with ITIL Service Desk. Working with over 800 clients Aaromba has developed comprehensive workflows leveraging its knowledge and best practice methodology, ensuring clients receive unrivalled solutions and provide performance visibility for management. 

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