Big tech companies eulogise the benefit of CRM, but does it really deliver?
No matter what your business, when it comes to sales, the customer is king.
Having a good customer relationship management (CRM) system in place can help you increase turnover today as well as spot where tomorrow’s sales might come from.
Sean McPheat, owner of MTD Sales Training, believes that implementing a CRM system has been responsible for a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the company’s sales.
‘I would rather lose a member of staff than our CRM. It’s that important to our business. It’s enabled us to target certain client types with similar problems. And because everything is logged, we always contact clients at exactly the right time. No prospect falls through the cracks. In a nutshell, it’s made us more efficient and meant that we’ve been able to effectively target our marketing.’
As well as ensuring sales opportunities are not missed, an effective CRM can also mean staff are being properly utilised. For Wayne Brophy, CEO of recruitment company Cast UK, one of the key savings has been time spent on admin. ‘Before we implemented our CRM, consultants were spending about 40 per cent of their time doing admin. Now it’s more like ten per cent.’
Brophy believes sales have doubled as a consequence. ‘We made the money back in three to four months, after spending tens of thousands. The only downside is we’ve now got a much more complicated system to manage,’ he adds.
Brian MacGregor, marketing manager at software company Sage, believes CRM systems allow companies to put the customer at the heart of the business.
‘It’s more of a strategy and ethos, rather than a piece of software. We just provide the tools to make it happen.’ he says.
‘Everyone in the business can access it, so relationships become more transparent. And for smaller businesses there’s cheaper, simpler software available, which can still help them understand all of the relationships with all their contacts.’
Forking out on a CRM system may not suit all businesses. David Marsden, client services director at PR agency EML, believes the costs for his business outweigh the advantages.
‘Certainly for some companies it’s useful. But I think for us depending too much on a CRM system would mean losing some of the personality of the agency. Our business is all about building up personal relationships.’
Instead of investing in IT, Marsden says he has improved the company’s sales by simply being more proactive about seeking feedback. ‘Since I took the role of client services director and we introduced six monthly customer satisfaction surveys, our client retention rate has definitely increased,’ he adds