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CRM – Critical For A Small Business

August 9, 2012 2 comments

Sales is a very complex process involving relationships between multiple parties to achieve one goal…the sale.  You have to manage the needs of the client with the needs of your firm and always balancing that with the actual capabilities of what you can provide.  It is an ever-changing, dynamic evolution and it is very easy to suddenly realize it has gotten away from you.  At the very least, you need to have a CRM, (Customer Relationship Management), software package you can rely on.

In every case, the CRM will never provide you with all the functionality you desire.  However, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.  The free models available on the net are quite good.  FreeCRM is a web-based solution.  Being a web-based program it can be accessed by up to 50 users just by opening a browser.  It offers a variety of upgrades from the base model but if you are just starting to explore CRM solutions then the free version is a good place for you to begin. The upgrades relate mostly to support availability, the capability to sync with Outlook and your devices and storage.  However, since it only provides 10MB of storage you may find the need to upgrade in short order.

Sugar CRM is another free crm that is worth taking the time to learn about.  Unlike the web-based FreeCRM, Sugar CRM also gives you the option of storing it on your server.  However, it is much more customizable than FreeCRM.  You will require the help of a programmer with PhP capability to do so but once you have the finished product you won’t be disappointed.  Of course, you can always go with the available modules provided by Sugar.  Upgrading is more expensive than with FreeCRM but it is a more robust system.

There are other systems, of course, and the functionality of the programs expand to include marketing, order processing and forecasting just to name a few.  You can, with some research, find the crm package that best fits your business model.  However, ultimately, it is only as good as the information you put in it.

If you’re a small business or even a one-person shop, CRM will help organize your work and make it seem as if you have more than one employee.  If you have a multi-person sales team, CRM gives you the ability to run your team more efficiently and truly understand the relationships established with your clients and prospects.

The use of the crm has to become an organic aspect of your business and used 100% for what it is intended.  CRM is not just software…it is a process adopted by EVERYONE in the company.  Every employee must understand the significance of the system and why it should be kept up to date.  How do you plan on interacting with your clients and prospects?  Are these the reports to base the health of the firm on?

I will be the first to admit this is a very bird’s-eye view of the process and you will need to do plenty of research so is a waste of all your efforts and time.  Properly vetted, a solid CRM package can help elevate your firm to a level you never thought possible.