On demand CRM — is it time?

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Cosential CRM
Cosential provides CRM software specifically for AEC organizations

Sometimes I admit to being behind the times, and this is the case undoubtedly with the knowledge and implementation of CRM programs/systems. Sure, I know they exist, are not too expensive to implement/administer, and can, properly integrated, provide incredible data management, measurement and relationship-building capacities. You can track your leads, assess conversion points, remember key client details to build increased responsiveness and connectivity and everything lives in real-time, and I’m told in this Business Marketing Institute posting, the systems are relatively easy to use.

What makes on-demand CRM unique is that it is a fully Web-based, far less expensive alternative to the very complex, costly, software- and training-heavy CRM systems offered by the usual players in this business. on-demand CRM gives sales teams a very affordable, easy to use, yet very powerful, online tool that dramatically increases their productivity in their ongoing interaction and execution of the sales process: Communications with prospects, and associated sales management functions, such as sales report generation, sales team communications, document storage, and measurement features, such as estimates of potential sales revenue “in the pipeline.”

When companies implement on-demand CRM, its biggest benefit to a company’s sales function is the massive increase in productivity and efficiency on-demand CRM brings to their sales teams, as they utilize the powerful contact management and communications features of on-demand CRM to streamline the interactions between sales reps and their prospects during the long sales cycles most companies experience in the B2B field. These positive changes happen both when on-demand CRM replaces older, clunkier CRM systems which are always difficult to get salespeople to use and also when they replace haphazard, catch-as-catch-can manual or spreadsheet-based systems still used by some sales operations.

Writer Eric Gagnon suggests these programs include Salesforce.com, Microsoft and Oracle, and of course there are industry-specific services such as Cosential, as well as some free web-based applications.

Yet we’ve never really implemented these systems/processes in our own business. Our salespeople use a hybrid collection of self-managed approaches, loosely integrated through general policies emails/meetings, but these aren’t managed in any cohesive manner.

Bad, eh?

Do you have experiences/recommendations with CRM you would like to share with me as I work on a longer-term solution?  Please email me at buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com.

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