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?