Written By Charles Atkinson

The ABC's of CRM

December 15, 2010 | omniprise

There comes a time when you, as a business owner/manager, have an epiphany; the realization of the symbiotic relationship between customer and vendor. Whether it happens during a clap of thunder or the whisper of a summer’s breeze, you realize that without the customer, there is no business. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest product in the world, without a customer to buy the product; the company is destined to fail. This is the time when you start to reflect on your current situation. You start rubbing your temples with your thumbs, open your desk and take out some pain reliever swallow it down with a cup of coffee, break into the 30 thousand excel sheets that you are currently using and call a company meeting to figure out the “state of the business.” You think to yourself, there has to be a better way. Possibly something that allows me to be able to define, track and maintain my relationship with my current and prospective customers. The next step seemingly comes natural, you would settle in for a long and tedious internet search of available solutions. Let me stop you right here. There is a solution for you and its called CRM. What is CRM you ask? Is it the buzzword of the year? Is it the business Rosetta stone? Well, I cannot sit here and tell you that CRM is the ALPHA and OMEGA of business strategy, but if you’re looking to manage interactions with your customers, contacts, prospective customers and sales opportunities, CRM is the way to go. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it is a tool that assists companies, large or small, and manages all aspects of your Customer Relationships. It’s as simple as A+B=C. *“A” equals your company, whatever size, and with whatever product you offer. *“B” equals your customers or potential customers, with all their lovable quirks and imperfections. The people who actually buy your product. *“C” is the tricky part. “C” can be positive or negative. “C” is the result of the interaction between “A” and “B” or to sum it up in one word “Relationship”. A company cannot succeed without customers and the customer has to be convinced that they can’t succeed without your company. Right now, who actually communicates and dictates the relationship with your customers and how is that relationship tracked? Normally your relationship is defined by the interaction of your Sales Department with a Sales Manager or in some cases the Company Owner overseeing the effort. Many times, the sales department simply consists of a group of individuals looking for opportunities that do not necessarily put the relationship of the business first but strive to establish a relationship of Sales Person to Customer. While a personal relationship between the Sales Person and the Customer is important, as a Sales Manager or Company Owner, you want to ensure that without a doubt, the relationship between your company and the customer comes first. CRM is the tool that provides you the ability to maintain, nurture and track your relationships throughout the business life-cycle. A CRM tool, with strict adherence to process, can turn your group of sales individuals into a fully interactive team; enabling sharing, instant access and insight into your Customer Relationships. So go ahead and put that bottle of pain reliever back in the drawer. Take off early and take those 30 thousand excel sheets home, put them in the fire pit and make s’mores with your kids. Before long you’re going to have instant access and insight into all aspects of your sales department. You will not be bamboozled when a sales person leaves and takes all your customers with them leaving you high and dry. You do not have to wait a week to see your current opportunities and the status of each. You do not have to spend 16 hours a week just organizing excel sheets and emails. You are back in control and you know that your customers are being taken care of in turn taking care of your business. Next time I’ll introduce you to OmnipriseCRM and explain how it can work for you.

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