CRM Systems: Before You Start…

“A system for managing relationships with your customers” – HubSpot

Your CRM system is an invaluable tool for maintaining and enhancing the relationships you have with your customers. It also offers the ideal channel to facilitate interaction with your customers and partners to keep them up to speed with the latest developments, not only with your own product portfolio but equally across your industry sector as a whole. A supplier who can educate and advise its audience will always gain more respect and loyalty than one which simply ‘shifts boxes’.

What Can a CRM Do For You?

  • Compliance – Ensure you are collecting, storing and managing data according to GDPR and PECR regulations. You’ll also be able to keep track of their preferences and give them the option to opt out (unsubscribe).
  • Visibility and Tracking – When did you last speak to them? Where did you meet? What do they normally buy? No need to try and remember every detail with a CRM.
  • Customer Service – A modern CRM system will help you remain completely up to speed on your customer’s individual issues or projects, so you can offer a much more intelligent and bespoke service for them. Knowing what your customers specifically want means you can target information or helpful content that will actually be relevant to them.
  • Marketing – Your customers will know that if they get a mailing from you it will be tailored to their needs and not just a generic one-size-fits all promotion. This makes it much more effective when issuing important announcements or updating contact links, which are vital in maintaining an excellent working relationship.
  • Integration – Connect your emails, calendars, Facebook messenger, proposal and bookkeeping software, task list, email marketing etc.
  • Organisation and Time Management – With all your activity in one place you can get the big picture. All your appointments, tasks, proposals, meetings etc. without jumping between different systems.
  • Accessibility – Whether you’re in the office or on the move, have all of your data at your fingertips.
  • Capacity – Your CRM not only holds hundreds, if not infinite numbers of contacts

What Will You Use It For?

Modern CRM systems are more than just a database. There’s a whole host of features that are available in the free versions, including the following:

  • Store Customer Data
  • Manage To-Do Lists
  • Manage my Calendar
  • Send Emails
  • Manage my Sales Process
  • Collect New Leads
  • Track Sales Opportunities
  • Record Customer Issues

We recommend prioritising which of these points are most important to you and focusing on those first. Ideally if you can consolidate or replace existing platforms this will streamline your processes that bit more.

Choosing a CRM

There are many great CRMs out there (and equally some terrible ones!) Our favourite free versions come from HubSpot, Capsule and Zoho.

HubSpot
  • 1m contacts
  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited custom fields
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Calendar and task management
  • iOS and Android apps Business card scanner
Capsule
  • 250 contacts
  • 2 users
  • Unlimited custom fields
  • Gmail and Outlook integration
  • Calendar and task management
  • iOS and Android apps NO card scan
Zoho
  • 25,000 records
  • 3 users
  • No custom fields
  • No email integrations
  • Task management (+local calendar)
  • iOS and Android apps + card scan

Based on the capacity, feature set and general usability – we recommend HubSpot (check here to learn more).

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