Cons & Pros of CRM. Why CRM is important and why it should not take up a lot of you time to feed it.
The CONS and PROS of CRMs
Over the past few months I have been giving a presentation on how you can multiply your revenue by using 7 simple steps, which you will have read in my last article. The bottom line of this presentation was that alongside these steps you also need a very robust method and efficient CRM (Customer Relationship Management). A good CRM system that is designed to your specific needs and enables you to keep, track and analyse the important information you need to know about your customer and business.
After my last presentation, I was posed with the following question/comment “Interesting how CRM has been overly used these days by companies and their sales reps complain big time… my last company used ‘Salesforce.com’, and the amount of updating we had to do on a daily basis was unbelievable… have you heard of such complaints and what is your response to it?” The question included a link to a linkedIn comment, that suggested 35-37% of a sales person’s time is spent simply updating CRMs. (See Below)
First of all I am shocked by the amount of time they spend updating CRM. A CRM is supposed to be updated on the spot, while you are making the call, answering the phone or even talking to a client. It is not something that you are supposed to do before or after. If this is how you are using it, then you are wasting your valuable time. My experience with sales people is not huge, but on the other hand it has been a lifeline in my business over the past 20 years and if it were to take up even 15% of our working time, I could not have made any profit.
The key to any successful CRM is that it should allow easy input of the important information and it should allow easy retrieval of the same. Each business is unique, but most businesses will have many things in common as well.
In my view, using a CRM slows you down only marginally, but no more than the cashiers do at any shop or commercial centre needing to scan every item you purchase, produce a sales receipt and record the payment information.
Here is my take and the scenarios:
Scenario 1. Paperless or Free of any record New client arrives. We say hello, maybe ask their name. They tell us what they need, we meet their need and finish the job. They pay. (For the payment there maybe a requirement for an invoice and some accounting notes).
This is possibly the fastest method. It is fine if you don’t need to look back on this job and if you don’t need to track the source from which that client found you, or the type of job they requested or for any need of future reporting, accounting). This is the fastest way of doing business and hardly any records kept. However if you need to understand more about your business and you have repeat clients, then you may need to look at recording the information.
Scenario 2. Paper Format. Information was required. Before PCs you recorded this information on paper. Accounting books, ledgers, address books, client files and folders. Almost all companies had this, however getting any business insight was difficult and would have required accounting and other staff, keeping paper records of many different type of fields. For example, your client file might have kept the source from which a client was acquired but in order to get any meaningful data, would have meant that one or several staff be required to go through all the client data sheets and write down the information on a separate sheet and then work out the average over time or different periods.
It is easy to forget all the above, if you don’t need the info but can you really grow your company without it? PC based accounting packages have been successful, not because they helped with the end of year tax and financial reports, but because they can also provide you with a wealth of other information.
Scenario 2. CRM. Paperless, paper, & CRM. I admit it takes a few seconds longer to click on the “New Client” icon, enter all relevant details, create a job sheet, print it and then update it. However it only takes a few seconds more and in return what I get is the most vital information that provides me with numerous important reports in the short and long run. Furthermore once I have entered the client details; to update, create new jobs, add comments does not take any longer than if I were to write it on a piece of paper or record it on an excel or word sheet.
If you have built the right system it should not take you any longer to update your system and you should be doing it on the go, not before or after. If you are doing it any other way then something is wrong and you need to review how the system should work or how your users should be using it.
I am still surprised by the number of companies I visit and meet that are still running without an efficient CRM system. Yes they are profitable, but I can guarantee you one thing, they are inefficient. They are inefficient in as much as they do not have a full overview on the ROI from advertising, return clients, how much work has been done for each client or even when and what has been done. Their information retrieval system is archaic and in many they suffer loss(es) of revenue which cannot be identified.
To recap, if salesreps or any staff for that matter is spending 35% of his/her time updating CRM, then something is wrong with the CRM system or the way it is being used. A salesrep should be updating the CRM on the go, as they speak to the client and as they finish the conversation. It is the CRM system that should help suggest who to call next based on what the salesrep has fed into the system. A well fed system should function seamlessly and never take up more than a fraction of the time to require updating. Like any system a CRM is only as good as the quality of information it is fed by its users.