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Do you really need a CRM?

I have been using CRM systems on and off for about 15 years, including some of big company systems like Salesforce, Act and Maximiser. Currently I am using an Australian system called PeopleTray, as it is much easier and does what I need. I especially like the ability to switch to a map view of our customer locations, and the ability to use it on my phone when travelling. There are good reasons why CRM’s continue to be one of the most valuable tools for any business, even if you are a startup or small business. The benefits are:

  • Firstly, a CRM keeps your sales activities organized. It means leads and opportunities are followed up at the right time, and it makes it easy for everyone to see how sales are going during the month. Nothing gets lost and we can work together to ensure we are doing our best to close the larger sales.
  • You develop a better relationship with your customers as you have the notes from your previous discussion, and you can see what team members have discussed with the customer.
  • Your stress levels come down, as you don’t need to keep so much in your head. You can relax more easily when away from work. I am sure I sleep better, knowing my tasks and prospects are organized for when you arrive back on Monday morning.
  • Like many systems, I can access my CRM from anywhere, even when travelling – as can my colleagues. And I can assign tasks, such as following up a sales opportunity, to my colleagues back in the office if I need help while away.
  • I spend about half of my time on the road, so being able to quickly look up contact details is very helpful, and I can tap or speak notes into the system easily which avoids having to spend time updating notes when back in the office.
  • Getting a decent CRM also makes a business more – like a business. The business, as an asset is worth more. It is easier to sell to a new owner when the time comes, but it is also easier for new team members to hit the ground running, because our customers and opportunities are organized. They can clearly see the history of each customer and, if your CRM has a map view of your leads and prospects – gain a visual appreciation of their territory.

There are various studies on the internet that say a CRM will increase the sales of a business by 25 to 35%, which is great. But for me, the impact on my lifestyle and helping the team work together are the important things each day. Sure, we have our CRM up on the screen during sales meetings, to discuss forecasts and strategies for important business, but helping to stay organized and reducing everyone’s stress is still the most important thing for me as a sales person.

I suppose the other thing is that our current system took only a few minutes to start using. The online systems mean that anyone can get started with a decent CRM very easily. A good product will also d0wnload your CRM data to a spreadsheet with a single click – for peace of mind :).