What Is A CRM And Do You Need One?

One of the most popular and highest-grossing software in the world is CRM. CRM softwares are responsible for almost a quarter of all enterprise software revenue all over the world. They are also the largest and most quickly developing enterprise softwares.

In this post, I will address a burning question that crosses many entrepreneurs' minds who are trying to grow their businesses. Do you need a CRM as a startup and if yes, what advantages will you derive from it?

You need a CRM if you are facing any of the below situations:

  1. You’re unable to keep up with the lead flow.
  2. Your customer data is hard to locate.
  3. You don’t know what your sales teams are up to.
  4. Your customer service is coming up short.
  5. You have valuable, long-term accounts you need to manage.
  6. Your reporting process takes too much time.

I'd elaborate on these points for you to get a better understanding of how these activities are handled by a CRM:

Lead Management

In order to achieve efficient utilization of your sales talent, you have to have a lead scoring and grading system. That is necessary for lead distribution and follow up plan. If your leads are properly graded, they will be allocated to the right salesperson and that'll make a huge difference in conversion rates down the line. Imagine, if you know some salespersons are very efficient in converting warm leads, why waste their time by assigning them to cold leads.

Customer Data

Next is customer data. If you are having a lot of touchpoints with your customers and gathering data at each of those stages, it makes sense to feed that data straight into the CRM. That way there is a single view of the customer data and you don't have to look everywhere when you need to refer to a specific data point.

Performance Tracking

The third point is about the sales team's performance. It's natural that some members of your team will be super motivated to achieve more sales and by rewarding them for their good work you need to know the performance of all your sales team members handy. That way you can make a comparative assessment to reward the right people. This is also something where your CRM can help you. And having the CRM will also be able to tie your lead acquisition to ultimate conversion and retention, which can be a great asset in formulating your rewards. Just think, you have a salesperson who makes false promises to convert lots of leads but in the medium term most of the customers he/she acquired leave your company, would you really want to reward that salesperson? You can only know about it by having a CRM and tracking the performance of every customer acquired by a specific salesperson.

Interestingly, you will face some of the above situations only if you are a large company with thousands of customers or multiple-six-figure ARR. But that depends on your situation and if you are looking at having a multi-persons sales team or expand the sales team in the future, it makes sense for you to have a CRM in order to have a smooth flow in the customer journey.

Some other pointers to consider before acquiring a CRM:

  • Is it offering a cloud base system?
  • How much control you have over the data?
  • Where the data is stored?
  • Are you able to record each contact/ conversation with every business client?
  • Is it user friendly and easy to generate data/competitive pricing?
  • Can it send a group marketing email?
  • How many users can access the system?
  • Automated marketing features that are available?

CRMs Now Play Many Roles

Also, CRMs are not entirely marketing software these days. They are classified as enterprise software because they can now be used to manage customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle, spanning marketing, sales, digital commerce, and customer service interactions.

Since our focus is mostly startups and small businesses here's a list of CRMs that we recommend along with justifications:

  1. Salesflare: helps you to stop managing your data and start managing your customers. Not yet popular as Hubspot but the best solution for smaller B2B businesses.
  2. Hubspot: The most popular CRM for good reason and has a broader product range you can adopt in your next steps. Try this if you have a bulky list of customers because it is free.
  3. Pardot: Pardot is by Salesforce, it's armed with features that can close the gap between marketing and sales.