Does My Company Need CRM?
That is a fair question to ask. But, because of all the half truths even now in the marketplace, the answer can be hard to pin down.
Each company has customers at some level. And each company needs to keep some basic information about their customers, like their names, addresses, purchases, contracts, invoices, and so on. So every company needs to have at least some simple "CRM Technology" to keep track of and assist their customers. Outlook, Quicken or other applications are used by small businesses for this reason.
For now, let's term CRM as "targeted mass marketing". That is, having a considerable number of customers and/or prospects that you want to correspond with selectively with depending upon their preferences, purchase history, demographics or other information.
With that uncomplicated meaning, companies that are not attempting to correspond in a way that is both major and targeted can walk away from CRM.
For everyone else, there are 5 important questions you need to ask yourself:
- Am I trying to correspond with a sizeable amount of listeners or maybe 500 or more on a regular basis (at least 4 times a year)?
- Will I be able to decrease my expenses or increase my takings by speaking to that audience through direct ways like regular mail, email, internet, telephone, salespeople or point-of-sale?
- If I personalize how I communicate with customers or prospects and provide my products/services to them, will they gain even more value? Personalization can begin as easily as using a name on direct mail, but should in the end incorporate customizing how you assist customers during their relationship with you. The advantage to the customer is that they obtain more value out of the relationship. The advantage to you is that customers grow to be more faithful and unlikely to leave.
- Can I learn things that will help me be more well-organized and useful if I study customer and prospect information? This is detailed data like transactions, sales stage, segments and demographics, not survey or focus group data. Your objective is to control this information so that it makes your sales more targeted, appropriate and personalized, letting you get customers quicker and keeping them longer.
- Is the data utilized to examine, segment, personalize and aim at customers available? This last one can sometimes be hard to solve. There are three additional questions to ask yourself for clarity: (I) Do I already contain data about customers and/or prospects on one or more systems? (II) Is this data distributed across different systems, like sales, accounting, service, marketing and internet, that would be more helpful if it were all in the same place? (III) Can I either combine this data together or start to gather it cost-effectively?