Salesforce CRM

At the beginning of last year I attended Salesforce.com’s CloudForce Conference in Manchester. In one of the breakout sessions geared up for Small Businesses a guy asked “I’m just launching out, do I still need a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system or is it only for those who have more than 10 employees?”

The representative of course said “I believe a CRM system to be more important than any other when starting off” and I tend to agree.

When leaving the conference I started to chat with the chap who posed the question.  I said that you can keep contact information in Excel Spreadsheets and Outlook but updating activities and conversations is not so easy.  It is fine when it is just you and you have a great memory but when you are in a partnership or start employing people it is impossible to deliver a consistent service.

As a customer it frustrates me when I call a company for the second time (or more) and have to repeat the explanation… however this is normally with large organisations that already have these systems, they just aren’t implemented correctly.

The chap at the conference asked what I thought was the most important point of customer service and I answered that the customer feels important … reiterating that I think suppliers, staff and anyone else who comes into contact with the company should also be considered as customers.

Since then I have been managing my contacts in Excel, MailChimp, Outlook, on social media networks, a notebook (or 3) and memory and I don’t think I have done too badly but it certainly could be a lot more efficient.

I have also had the chance to use Salesforce over the past year to manage telemarketing and email marketing campaigns for two small businesses … luckily one is AstarCloud, a registered Salesforce consulting partner  … and I can totally see the benefit of it.  I work remotely 1 day a week and am able to manage and monitor campaigns with seamless communication between the management team, especially with the use of Chatter.

I think for the moment I am quite happy to proceed as I am (especially as I have had issues with Salesforce when e-marketing, and still favour Mailchimp) however I think I will be adding Salesforce.com or another CRM system to my Procurement Wish List.

How do you manage your contacts?  Do you use another CRM system?

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10 Comments on “Salesforce CRM

  1. Thanks Merewyn,I found this blog very relevant and will be forwarding this onto a lady who owns and manages a health spa in Mirfield. She raised the same question last night at a local business networking event . She appears to have 13 years of paperbased records of clients that needs updating and ‘weeding’. I’ll suggest she needs to speak to you!

    • That would be really great Pat, thanks. At least I could type up these records into an excel database, possibly at best I could put her in touch with some companies I am aware of that offer CRM solutions. Thanks!

  2. Just being me – I have been using SmartR – no idea if it’s a contact management system but I am able to see who I’ve been in touch with by email, linked in etc and what the communication was.
    It’s visible down the side of my Gmail page.

  3. I use CapsuleCRM for both my business and recommend for other businesses; which I manage for them. The earlier the better I believe. My clients came with over 1000 contacts with no emails and unsure whether they actually still exist. It is a large job to contact each one and get up to date information. So definitely, the earlier the better.

  4. thank you for this Merewyn, its chimes with some things that I have been holding in the back of my mind for some time. Like you, I use mail chimp,outlook, paper-based client files, Twitter and probably a number of other ways of holding information. Most of the time it’s absolutely fine, and when something goes wrong it’s not.So you’ve made me think about what I want to do in the longer term to hold information safely and conveniently. Thank you.

  5. Brilliant post Merewyn.
    CRM is important but what is vital is making that CRM part of your overall business management system. CRM is just a small part of the overall picture on running a micro business (less than 10 people).
    Before I started SpinLessPlates I became very frustrated with my CRM system that I used in my promotional gift business.
    You see for me it was just an over glorified address book.
    It was completely detached from the other key areas of my business – my sales process, my purchasing systems, performance reporting of my business, marketing my business via email, etc.
    Much of this could be solved by integrating my CRM with other cloud based apps – Xero for my accounting, MailChimp for my email marketing, Dropbox for my storage, etc.
    But then as I looked at growing and employing staff my subscription costs skyrocketed – multiple subscribers for 4 different services was costing over £100 per month.
    When any business, big or small, invests in a CRM system it is essential that they have a firm idea of what they require the system to do, how this will integrate within their business model and have a list of essentials functions that your system MUST do, a list of functions that would be great and a list of functions that would be good but aren’t essential.
    For me CRM systems have always been disappointing as they didn’t fulfil the essentials I needed in my B2B micro biz – storing contact details, managing enquiries, creating quotes, processing sales, raising invoices, processing purchases, organising and scheduling tasks, managing the time I spend on projects, giving me the essential reporting to see how my business is running and linking up to accounting software so my accountant can see what he needs without the need to duplicate invoices and purchase invoices.
    10 key things I need my software to do and a CRM only did 3 maybe 4 of them.
    Implementing the right system can take time and cost money but the benefits can save many hours a week and allow you to manage and grow you business much easier and cost effectively.

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