• Ian Baker

Why is CRM so difficult?

No matter which video you watch or podcast you listen to, there is a very familiar theme when it comes to driving true sales growth, we hear a lot the beloved acronym C-R-M or Customer Relationship Manager(ment).

Having worked in sales pre-web based software (yes I am that old) when CRM was a stack of paper in a folder, we still managed to deliver results – because its not about the paper, but how you use it.

With the new digital world, it seems the prospect of recording everything about the client and the numerous conversations, orders, meetings will fill the majority of salespeople with dread as time is money.

Whether you are in field sales or account management for small or large businesses; a sole trader; or trying to raise investment, how do we maintain records of enough detail about our customers to continue to deliver great results?

Typically, a CRM database (Be it manual or digital) might contain as a minimum:

· Who your customer is, where they are and how you contact them

· What does their business do

· What are they buying from you

· If they have bought, how much and how often and for what price – which informs your sales performance.

· A list of meeting dates and /or telephone conversations

Most staff and managers think that by completing this, then they are following a CRM process…

This is not a process; but some basic facts as an OUTPUT from a CRM database. Because the CRM systems aren’t used properly, my clients aren’t maximising their revenues.

Let’s start thinking about using a CRM system as a PROCESS, rather than just data.

It is almost impossible to remember what was said to who and when without documenting the details – and what is an absolute truth is “IF YOU FORGET, YOU CAN BE DAMN SURE YOUR CLIENT HASN’T”.

But CRM isn’t just about reminders, it slots into the SALES PROCESS and the CLIENT MANAGEMENT PROCESS (Customer Services).

What do I mean by the SALES PROCESS?

1. The key to great results is identifying the “pain points” for your IDEAL customer. How do we find those pain points? Research, questioning and building RAPPORT! Use the system to prepare proactively and store your target client’s details.

2. By preparing in the system and following a script or questions and detailing the answers, anybody in the organisation can see what has been asked, and how it’s been answered. A client receiving a duplicate call or having to repeat themselves, is not giving them any confidence in you or your business.

3. If you don’t convert to close in the first call/meeting, your process should tell you what you do next (based on how you might have scored the prospect). This shouldn’t be a faceless follow up email – but with good information in your CRM, you can call/meet and use the data from your notes to build the additional rapport to close the deal.

4. After the sale and having recorded the what and how much – ask them if they are happy. By obtaining feedback on the process you used and the product, anyone following you can look to improve for the next time. Repeating the same mistakes is criminal.

So, what in fact should a CRM system do?

  • Store who your IDEAL customer is, where they are and how you contact them.

  • What their business does and how is it performing, what are their frustrations and issues

  • Show what are they buying from you or what are they planning to buy from you and can they afford to buy more

  • If they have bought, how much and how often and for what price - if they haven’t then document your offer and their feedback (why haven’t they bought?

  • A list of meeting dates and /or telephone conversations but as a series of questions and answers that helps your build knowledge on their issues/pains

  • Status – “new prospect”, “converted but not ordered”, “regular buyer”, lapsed buyer”, “No thank you, maybe later” or “get lost” (you might have your own words here)

  • Have you permission to call again? If so, report a date and time for follow up.

  • Notes – if you have any personal details about the clients that they have shared eg favourite wine, sports etc etc

  • Details of any returns, missed payments, complaints all with addressable actions.

What does this now mean for your business?

You have used your CRM as part of your process for building information on your customer but more importantly being informed builds TRUST and RAPPORT, the key drivers for sales.

At Ian Baker Consultancy, we help businesses of all shapes and sizes deliver great processes and great RESULTS.

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