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5Apr 2017

Tools to help you manage your prospects and customers

As you grow your business your customer database will grow. Having the right systems in place to track and manage your prospects and customers is fundamental. It’ll assist you in growing your business profitably and ensure you don’t miss opportunities. 

We work with a wide variety of business – from new software companies through to well established retail companies who share the same challenge in understanding;

  1. The best way to capture and manage data – to identify sales opportunities and understand customer behaviour
  2. What to say to prospects that will win their business and turn them into loyal customers
  3. What communications can be automated – especially around the on-boarding of new customers and how can this be done most efficiently.

We are fortunate that there are a lot of good software options available to answer these challenges, but with so many factors that go into choosing the best business applications, figuring out which is best for your business (now and into the future) can pose a bit of a dilemma.

To help you get started we’ve put together some tips for choosing a CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management Tool) based on the experience we’ve had with working through this process.

Finding the best business applications

  1. Take time to understand your core needs so you don’t carried away with the bells and whistles that aren’t really needed. Not only does it increase the subscription cost, you might find that the system is more complicated to use and takes precious time to learn and use.
    • Your core need may be just to hold all your customer data in one central place (so consider software like Insightly , Capsule, Zoho)  or it may extend into being able to send targeted communications based on prospect and customers behaviours that you would like automated (so you may look at Hubspot, Ubiquity Engage, or integration with software like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor to name a few)
  2. Look for a good fit now and into the future. Small businesses with two to twenty employees might be overwhelmed with a mid-market or enterprise-level solution, but if you’re forecasting big growth, make sure to you choose a solution that will scale with you.
  3. Look to the cloud. Cloud based software and apps benefit greatly from being accessible online and remotely, especially via mobile devices. Having a mobile app for your CRM will be especially important if you’ve got employees like sales people constantly on the move.
  4. Be realistic. As you are examining how much time, money, and additional resources implementing a new business application will take, make sure that you are looking at it realistically. You will need to include the amount of time it will take to set up, learn and integrate your new system with other systems.
  5. Check Integration. When you’re looking at cloud-based solutions, also make sure to check out what other applications it integrates with. This will be especially useful for things like accounting software when creating quotes, invoicing, billing and keeping track of customer sales, or marketing communications.
  6. Understand what workflows can be automated – for example, you may wish to create automated customer emails, triggered by an event.
  7. Look online for reviews and don’t be afraid to check out some free trials to see what they offer and how easy they are to use before you make a commitment to one system.

Getting the most from your data is the next step

We also with closely with our customers to help them understand what needs to be communicated and when – it’s all about engaging when the ‘moment is right’.

As well as looking at timing and messaging, we also consider how best to deliver this information. It might be a mix of blogs, emails, surveys or even direct calls. The options are endless but the businesses that are succeeding in growing and keeping their customers all have a couple of key things in common;

  • A good understanding of their sales funnel metrics
  • Strong customer on-boarding programs
  • Clear processes to logically take customers on a journey from first engagement, to qualifying their level of interest, making the sale and retaining their business.

If you’d like support in mapping how to engage with your customers throughout their customer life-cycle, what to say and systems that could support you to achieve this then let us know.