In order to secure a steady income stream from your business, you have to track and maintain a client base that includes not only your current clients and prospects that are already in your sales funnel, but also a healthy list of future prospects. See it a little like feeding a plant…You need to feed your business constantly to keep it growing or else it’s going to get sick and die.
That’s why I always recommend using a CRM system. It’s amazing to hear how entrepreneurs are still using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of their clients and prospects. I’m a strong believer in using systems and technology to improve the effectiveness of the daily management of a business.
For those of you who don’t know, CRM stands for Customer Relationships Management. CRM systems can improve client satisfaction, increase productivity and boost profits. Remember that you always have to be in your client’s mind for them to think of doing business with you.
Here’s a great definition of CRM from Wikipedia:
Customer relationship management is a broadly recognized, widely-implemented strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with customers and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales related activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new customers, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former customers back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and customer service.
Some of the reasons why you should be using a CRM system:
- Consolidated and automation of sales and marketing processes.
- By being able to store and access client/prospect personal information, activities, correspondence, etc. you can work in a team environment using the same up to date or live data about your clients and prospects.
- Schedule of activities, reminders and calendar sharing for a group.
- Increased cross-selling opportunities.
- Segregate and categories contacts according to specific criteria (A, B, C clients, per company, industry, interests, etc.) which will allow for a higher client profiling and targeting.
- Improved client service, loyalty and retention. Since you’re keeping track of all activities and important information about your clients and their business, it will allow you to be proactive instead of reactive with your business.
- Higher overall profitability.
There are many different great products you can use and I would recommend taking advantage of any free trial offers to try to figure out which CRM system is right for your business. Some systems that I have tried and liked are Salesforce, Highrise, Zoho CRM, Maximizer and IXACT Contact for the Real Estate industry.
Do you have a system in place to grow your business?