What is CRM?

CRM means Customer Relationship Management.

It is a software package that stores all information about your contacts and customers. It can help you track your customers’ buying preferences and the typical products that they purchase, the price paid, discounts given etc.

It can also help you track your new enquiries, leads, prospects, telemarketing or marketing campaigns designed to generate more business, as well as track your entire sales process. A good CRM package lets you run forecast and revenue reports to help you maximise on all your sales opportunities. It can also track lost business to help you align your sales efforts to where they are most successful.

Why do I need it?

It will allow you and your colleagues to access information quicker and more easily. Customer and contact information, record details of telephone conversations, meetings, actions and activities that need to be completed will all be stored in one place.

Is it something that I can install myself?

It is very possible to install CRM yourself but naturally this will depend on your requirements and numbers of people using it. It can get quite complicated so you may wish to take advice. It may be more economical in the long term to make sure that it is set up correctly by using a supplier than waste much of your valuable time to do so.

What is CRM on demand?

On demand or hosted CRM is a service provided by a third party company whereby you can access your information via the web. However, do appreciate that because you access information via the internet, if for any reason you can not get to an internet connection you will not be able to get the information that you require.

That said, both systems have the advantages and disadvantages.

What do I need to look out for when purchasing CRM?

There are some fantastic vendors (manufacturers) of CRM software. These have superb technology and a wide array of certified resellers who understand your business, and the technology.

How do I find the right supplier to buy from?

Use Conjungo’s ‘Find CRM Suppliers’ search facility at the top right of this page. Conjungo is a great starting point because it will let you search for a supplier according to your location, company type, size and whether they have the right accreditations. Furthermore, Conjungo is completely unbiased, lists most of the major vendors’ resellers, and it’s free to use. 

What’s the downside of installing CRM?

The main potential downside is that unless it is used properly by everyone and kept up-to-date, it will not be effective. CRM software is only as good as the information within it.

How do I measure whether the package I’ve purchased is making me money or saving me money?

You should be able to measure a number of ratios, such as time from receiving a lead to closing it, across the company and against individuals, profitability per sales person, best selling items and ultimately if your sales have increased since installing CRM versus your revenues and margins prior to installation.

Is CRM easy to use?

Yes – or at least it should be! If it isn’t then people won’t use it. This can be overcome by some training but generally speaking, CRM packages are very intuitive and easy to learn.

You may want to look at and trial a few before making a decision to ensure it will work within your working environment.

Do I need a technical team to support CRM?

No, unless you are a very large organisation. With hosted or on demand CRM, this is one of the key benefits, in that you will not require any resources to support or configure the system.

However, if you decide that you want the software installed on site, then this is the point when you should work with a vendor’s reseller as they will be able to provide the service and support that you require.

I have an accounting software package – can I get my CRM package to integrate with it?

This depends on the CRM package and the accounting software that you are using. Some do work together, and some cover both areas within the same package, but it best to qualify this before making a purchase.