You’ve probably heard the adage “what got you here won’t get you there” as it applies to career success. The same wisdom also applies to a growing business.
In the early stage, you may get along well enough using familiar tools like Excel or post-it notes to track your customers and incoming orders. As your business grows, however, so does its complexity. You’ll quickly discover that you need more scalable ways to track your customers and transactions to stay competitive.
Businesses ready for this shift will experience some tell-tale signs. Being able to read these signals early will save you from the chaos and inefficiencies that come with being a growing a business without a processes built for scale.
Here are the 7 signs that you are ready to trade in those old Excel spreadsheets and start managing your customer relationships in a more efficient way:
1. Your team does not have a single source of truth.
Today you store some of your customer contacts on a spreadsheet, others on Post-it notes that get lost, and your team members do not have visibility into each other's contacts. If you don’t store your customer data in one place, you are limiting your view of how your customer is connecting to your people and business.
2. Lack of visibility into your sales team's activities.
You lack visibility into your what the sales employees are doing and have an inability to keep them accountable. You need more insight into current opportunities and deals a sales team may be working on -- for example, what’s the potential value of a deal, what are the competing companies that may be vying for the same customer, and what stage the deal is in.
3. Reporting and analysis is time-consuming and painful.
In an ideal world, you’d like to see a report of your sales team monthly progress against their quota, or to showcase your top sales performers. However, today you either create no reports at all, or doing this is too cumbersome for your sales team to manage.
4. You are losing data.
It’s hard for you to schedule follow-ups with customers and prospects. You have great meetings on the road, but the sales teams don’t always transfer their notes and important details get lost. Not to mention the loss of data when an employee leaves the company.
5. You are not staying in touch while on the go.
Your sales reps are out in the field, meeting prospects and finding out valuable new information. The problem is that all this new data gets stored on handwritten notes or files on personal computers. You don’t have a fast and easy way to store the information in a mobile app that will share the information with your entire team instantly.
6. You treat every customer the same.
You don’t target prospects based on their value to the business. Rather, you are sending the same types of offers and messages to customers and prospects in very different stages of the buying process, as well as in different industries or geographies. The right CRM system will help you identify patterns in the customers most valuable to your business, help you group them by industry and region, so that you can start refining your efforts.
7. You don’t have a plan to scale fast.
What if your business grew from 20 to 200 this year? Are you confident the processes that you have will scale? If you know that you are going to grow and need to keep productivity up while scaling up.
If any of these apply to you or your team, don’t despair. These are exactly the pain points that a CRM system will address. You can start with a Contact Manager solution or consider editions with more advanced features for mass mailing, opportunity tracking, forecasting, and more.
A CRM system will give you visibility into your sales team’s activity, allow you to report your progress internally, and open up channels for transparent collaboration across teams. In other words, exactly what you need to take the next step as a successful business.
Take a free trial of the salesforce.com CRM, or find out more information by checking out these useful resources: