What exactly is a CRM supposed to do?
When you hear the words CRM, you don’t quite know what to expect. CRM systems have been around for a number of years and many of them originated as simple contact management systems — kind of a virtual phone book. However, businesses these days aren’t looking for a simple phone book that can manage contacts. They want a single system that can handle all their external relationships.
Of course, the most important relationship your company has, is with your clients — at the end of the day, they are the source of profits. However, wouldn’t it be ideal if a single system can manage your supplier, partner, and channel relationships as well? Yes, but what exactly does it mean by “managing the relationship”?
Many things go into having a successful relationship with your client. Clients’ orders must be managed properly so you need an order management system in your CRM. Clients’ projects must adhere to all deadlines, so you need the CRM system to raise time-based and milestone based alerts and notifications. Clients’ special needs must be met so you need the CRM system to capture any custom orders and requests. Your sales team must be able to access the status of any order or project so that your clients are kept up-to-date. This means that an effective CRM system must reflect the workflow of your company. At the back-end, invoices must be issued and payments collected. So your CRM system must raise alerts for unpaid invoices and record payments.
Finally, as management, you would like to understand where your order and projects are stuck; which of your sales people is on track to exceed their quotas; what your biggest clients are buying; how much revenue is in the pipeline. So a good CRM system must generate reports and dashboards that are easy to read and generate.