Sixty-seven percent of businesses depend on customer data to make strategic marketing decisions. Many companies employ customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in the form of software platforms. Salesforce is one of the most popular and widely used platforms. There are a number of pros and cons to using this type of CRM, and many sales professionals have come to hate it. Whether or not your company requires you to use CRM, you can learn to love it when paired with software that involves automation rather than tedious data entry.
The Good, Bad and Ugly of CRM Platforms
Good customer relationship management is an essential part of the sales process. In order to see a good ROI, relationship building and tracking is a must, which is why CRM software, like Salesforce, quickly became immensely popular. It’s a great way for sales staff to keep all of their customer information in one shared location. Generating reports, calculating analytics and accessing information remotely are a few other benefits of CRM systems. When implemented correctly, CRM can help businesses increase customer loyalty and boost their bottom line.
As good as this may sound, serious problems exist with many CRM solutions. First, you have to manually enter customer information. Data entry is time-consuming and it can be demotivating. Second, the cost to implement a CRM system can be too high; especially for growing businesses. Third, staff must be trained how to install, deploy and use the platform, which can be time-consuming and inconvenient. Finally, to use CRM well, you are constantly flipping between the CRM, your mail, your calendar, your dropbox, your presentation/conference platform and others — trying to keep them all up to date.
High Cost and Dirty Data
Many additional issues plague CRM like Salesforce. The data entry involved often results in “dirty data,” or duplicate information and inaccuracies that can work against you. In most cases, the status of deal in the CRM system is not updated and does not represent the true status of whats going on. Folks are too busy doing there job on the front lines of sales to enter every scrap of information — despite the fact that these details may be key in closing a deal.
Salesforce can be very expensive. At a cost of $125 per seat per month, it’s simply not feasible for many small businesses. And, to make matters worse, if it works and you start really growing, it gets more and more expensive with every new seat you have to add. The good news is that recently new CRM solutions are available with comparable features at a fraction of the cost.
Automated Alternative Approach
The new adage of modern business is “automate, automate, automate.” Automating processes helps businesses keep all key data in one system without the data entry and dirty data that plague traditional CRM systems. Even if your company is large and complex, automation can boost productivity and ensure their is one accurate system of record for every prospect or client. Simply put, CRM tools with automation reduce the chance of human error. Managing the sales pipelines becomes less of a burden, and teams can focus on getting sales. The Harvard Business Review reported that companies have increased sales by 10 to 30 percent with automated processes.
Automated technology, like that available from Saleswise, gives you access to everything you need at your fingertips, requiring no data entry. By pulling in data that’s already on your calendar, emails, notes and tasks, we make it easy to consolidate and view your sales and customer information. In a single click, you can see all of your current customer’s information on one page. To keep your sales team and supervisor updated, simply share all the data without the cost of adding a “CRM Seat”.
The Power of CRM Integration
It can be difficult to choose from among the many tools available. While it may be tempting to employ everything, it’s important to focus only on tools that make working simpler and easier, rather than those that create more work. Salesforce and similar CRM systems have plagued businesses with problems in spite of their popularity. Understanding that CRM is merely a database—some call it a “glorified Rolodex”—is helpful when considering it as part of one’s sales process.
If you’re married to your CRM—whether you like it or not—there is hope. When a business pairs their existing CRM with new systems that automate all data, a love affair blossoms that enhances productivity like never before. For example, SaleWise technology “auto-magically” aggregates and organizes information from various sources, including Salesforce.com data, email, calendars, notes, documents, contacts, tasks and more. Information is stored securely, so you don’t have to worry about customer information being at risk. Even if your business doesn’t use Salesforce, you can still benefit from the many features available to you through Saleswise. Best yet, it’s free to use.
Love it or hate it, frontline sales professionals need some form of customer relationship management to engage successfully with customers. Even if you use a CRM platform that leaves much to be desired, you’ll delight in adding Saleswise, and you’ll find it makes sales much easier and maximizes your investment in any CRM you deploy. Our automated technology will save you time, energy and money like no standalone CRM system can. To learn more and get started, sign up for free.