A CRM, at its simplest, is a system that allows businesses to manage business relationships, and the data and information associated with them. A CRM is not just for just storing client information – it can run your sales process, or even your entire core business process.
Customer relationship management (CRM) empowers you to build robust, lasting relationships with your customers by understanding their needs and delivering personalized solutions — before they even ask.
For small businesses and start-ups, managing relationships with suppliers and customers just ‘happens’, and doesn’t necessarily require a sophisticated system. However, as your business grows, you have more relationships to keep track of; there are more people involved, and your customer and supplier lists get longer and longer.
A good CRM serves as an essential information backbone to manage the many links and relationships that exist in a growing business.
- An online scheduling system to manage bookings. The system could feature calendar views for staff as well as automatic responses to allow users to keep up-to-date on the move. The system could also allow external users to view scheduling and information for upcoming events etc.
- An ERP system; The system could bring together an existing CRM, Job Costing, Time sheeting, Production and General Purchasing system and integrate all the information into one place so that the business can run more efficiently.
- An order management system; The system could automate the ordering process allowing the business to get quotes from suppliers and manage the entire process from one system and as simply as possible allowing more time to generate leads.
A CRM system can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be – tailored to the way you work. Buying an on off-the-shelf solution is not always the best solution as it often has features that are confusing and not relevant to your business now or in the future.
Off-the-shelf also means you have to adapt your processes and business to the CRM, rather than the other way round.
A CRM system can be robust, yet flexible enough to grow as your business does. You won’t need to buy a new system just because the old one doesn’t do what you want it to do.
With a CRM system, you can simply add on additional functionality and features of your own choosing, as and when your business needs it and your budget allows.