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What is CRM anyway?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about a post I wrote back in December titled 4 Key Sales Tools you Shouldn’t Live Without* and it really got me thinking about the core functionality of a “Really Good CRM” and how one would go about even evaluating one.  First, let’s start with some definitions…

By CRM, I mean Customer Relationship Management software (we’re SaaS if it makes a difference to you).   CRM is one of those acronyms that means a lot of different things to many different people so let me take it one step further:

CRM (for the purposes of this conversation) = Sales Software.  The objective, help your sales team do their job faster, better, and smarter (#CouldntHelpMyself).  To find out how best to meet the goal I’m going to start by looking at the activities salespeople get up to every day: 

  • Research and find new customers
  • Meet with new and existing customers 
  • Call customers on the phone/answer incoming calls 
  • Find opportunities with new and existing customers 
  • Help customers buy (demo product/answer questions)
  • Follow up on commitments 

The list could go on forever but at it’s core we are having conversations with a wide variety of people every day.  These conversations a generating a good deal of notes and a few follow ups… 

  • Note taking 
  • Task manager & Calendar
We’re also going to want to keep track of everyone’s contact information…
  • Address book

Some of these contacts might want to buy something, so we’ll need a quick way to remember who wants what…

  • Lead/Opportunity manager (or whatever you want to call it)

There’s so much going on that we’re going to need a way to prioritize our time…

  • Forecasting

And some of us (or our bosses) LOVE stats & metrics…

  • Reporting

 Now to quantify “Good” I’ve created a scorecard using the above criteria to rate what’s important to us. 

I imagine the top half of the scorecard will do well with the sales reps while the bottom half will do well with the managers and owners.  We’re using a very similar scorecard internally to evaluate our progress and keep our heads out of the clouds.  If you’re still reading, I’d love to see how your scorecard worked out – email it to me at “collin” at “voltageCRM.com”. 

*TL;DR 1. A Really Good CRM, 2. Task Manager, 3. Note Taking System, and 4. Sales Presentation Library.  Doug breaks down the CRM component into three essential functions Contact Management, Opportunity Management, & Forecasting/Reporting. 

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