The Beginner’s Guide to CRM

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of systematically identifying, attracting, converting, and retaining customers.

In short, it’s the lifeblood of your business.

Going Solo

In a small “solo-preneur” venture, it’s reasonable to assume that the individual business owner is able to – to a certain extent – internally manage a basic and cohesive view of their customer’s buying cycle.

Reaching out (marketing) promotes feedback (external responses) that, if paid attention to, will re-direct future marketing efforts and product development. Working with existing customers provides both positive and negative feedback that will also feed back into the product’s future development and industry positioning. In short, each component (sales, marketing, and product architects) provides their own unique set of data that impacts and informs the future of the product and sales/marketing strategies.

When a company is small enough that it doesn’t require employees, interpretting these signals intuitively is somewhat manageable. Human beings are hardwired to incorporate external feedback into our future actions and behaviors, a process which parallels the basis of an effective CRM strategy.

For instance, a high number of qualified leads generated by a marketing campaign serves as positive reinforcement for the effective components of that campaign, making it more likely that they will be incorporated into future marketing campaigns. In the solo-preneur scenario, one person is handling both the marketing and the sales, making it relatively easy for them to internally gauge the effectiveness of a particular campaign on their client acquisition bottom line, since they’re the ones both executing the campaigns and waiting for the phones to ring.

On the other hand, in a larger company, the marketing and sales departments are separate from one another. This is where a powerful CRM strategy comes into play: by setting up an effective infrastructure that allows marketing and sales to chronicle their efforts and results, it then becomes easy to cross-reference actions in one team (i.e. a marketing campaign) with its impact on the other (sales leads).

CRM Software Turns Teams into Networks

As a company grows, tasks relating to different aspects of the customer experience become delegated to different departments. As different corporate entities begin handling each aspect of the customer cycle independently, systems for communication and documentation become increasingly essential.  At this stage, it’s important that each team is recording consumer metrics related to each aspect of the customer’s interaction with the company/product in a way that is timely, effective, and communicable.

CRM Solutions

This is where CRM software solutions come into play.

Platforms like TrackVia allow departments and individuals to create highly customizable databases that will allow them to record these valuable metrics in a usable manner. By utilizing cloud-based applications to manage their departments, individuals within a company are able to share feedback with one another about each component of the client and product cycle. By having personalized applications that effectively link together and promote interdepartmental communication, larger business organizations can incorporate feedback as effectively as their solo-preneur counterparts.

Do-it-yourself applications like TrackVia have the advantage of speed, customizability,  and cost effectiveness. Most TrackVia users can design, build, and deploy an enterprise-grade application in 7 days or less that works the way they want it to. Further, since TrackVia can be used to build or replicate virtually any type of business SaaS solution, organizations can consolidate their software purchases (buying one customizable platform is less expensive than 50 disparate solutions) and save money. At a rate that’s 80% more affordable than generic SaaS solutions (like Salesforce), it’s the perfect solution for a business of any size.