Customer relationship management: top 5 reasons you need a CRM

| By: Steve Farnan

In four words, here’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from years of sales experience. It’s all about me.

But before you take offense at—or revel in—this seemingly selfish declaration, let me clarify. How a customer feels about me (my company) and what I’m (we’re) willing to do for them sets the stage for success…or not. Businesses live or die—thrive or shrivel—by customer relations. Which, of course, in the end makes it all about them.

Granted, you won’t get very far with an undesirable product or service. But even the best offering will fall short if your customers don’t believe you truly understand or care about their needs. That’s why I’m so passionate about customer relationship management.

As the leader of the sales division for ConnectWise, I see firsthand how the power of our CRM tool can enrich the customer experience and drive sales growth. Let me share the top five reasons you need a CRM.

1. One source of truth

It’s essential that your business have one go-to source for accurate, detailed customer contact and preference data. Otherwise, among other potential problems, you’re setting yourself up for relationship-damaging scenarios.

Example: Let’s say a morning shift employee at Company X takes a call from a referral customer who needs immediate response to a service issue. Being new, their info isn’t in the system, so the issue is entered against an existing contact. The next day, another employee tries to pick up where the issue left off and valuable time is lost looking for the misplaced contact info. The new client is annoyed with what appears to be slow response time and inefficiency. These hiccups could have been avoided with an easy-to-update CRM database accessed immediately for contact verification during the initial customer call-in.

2. Team support

You want your business teams all working toward the same goal of customer satisfaction and greater profitability, right? Well, a CRM can be valuable toward that end. It offers an easy and consistent way for every department to both contribute to and benefit from the same tool.

Example: Company X realized some departments—particularly accounting and marketing—were often missing access to key client information that would make their roles more effective. They solved this by implementing a new system into their CRM of adding ‘???’ into fields where info was missing. Any time that any employee was interacting with a customer, they made a point of attempting to fill in those ‘???’ areas—a step that benefited the entire team by ensuring a more complete historical record and solid relationship with their clients.

3. Stronger relationships

Who doesn’t want to feel special? When you use your CRM to collect client preferences and histories, you’re ready to connect with them on a more personal level.

Example: Forward-thinking Company X uses their CRM to flag a call from a client’s CEO as VIP from the moment it rings into the receptionist. Imagine the potential benefits of that smart move.

4. Ability to predict the future

CRM historical data provides valuable insight into future client behavior, so you can anticipate needs.

Example: Over a few years, Company X stored relative data about their customers’ assets, as well as purchase and service histories. Then they sorted the data into groups they targeted with specific marketing campaigns. The high return on that marketing investment was no surprise. The same data also allowed them to be proactive about hardware renewals and expiring warranties.

5. Clients only start once

It’s the truth. You get one chance to make a first impression.

Example: After being in business several years, Company X decided to dedicate CRM resources toward a customer friendly onboarding process that included introductions, education, expectation setting and a full needs analysis. They found out clients who hadn’t experienced this onboarding had a tough time being introduced to the system later. Lesson learned?

Use your CRM to make it ‘all about them’ from the beginning.

My next post in this series will look at the ways to make best use of your CRM platform.