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How Do I Choose The Right CRM: 5 Non-Negotiables

With so many CRMs on the market today, choosing the right one for your business is an overwhelming task, especially when you don’t have a clue what to look for.

Before you flip heads or tails or take Barbara’s advice on the latest and greatest CRM, take 5 minutes to read this article.

You’ll be glad that you did because it could mean the difference between scaling your business or maintaining status quo.

The right CRM will help you determine who will buy and when, reducing the anxiety and uncertainty of selling. The last thing you want to do is pick a CRM you don’t use or feel trapped in. Avoid the frustrations and expense of choosing the wrong CRM by making sure it meet my 5 non-negotiable conditions.

 1: Review the customer support plan

Purchasing a CRM is a long-term commitment. All the time and effort you put into learning and entering precious customer data takes work so face it; you’re basically putting a ring on it. Should something go wrong with your CRM, who would you contact and how would it be resolved? Some people are perfectly fine with training videos and FAQ blogs. Whatever level of support you’re good with, know what it is and be prepared to walk away from a CRM that doesn’t provide the support you need.

2: Integration capability

 Not every CRM that looks good is good for you! No matter how robust a CRM is, if it doesn’t integrate with other programs run; run fast and don’t look back. CRMs that don’t play nicely with other programs limit your ability to coordinate data with systems you currently use or want to use in the future.  Look for CRMs that can integrate with calendars, email, project management software and Zapier.

3: Mobility

We live in a fast-pace world that requires us to have access to client information while in the field. Some assume all cloud base CRMs have this capability, but you never know. Some systems require that you have a specific web browser, are not mobile responsive, etc. I know it sounds crazy, but you don’t want any surprises so just check to be sure.

 4: Look for a CRM That will scale with your business

If you’re investing in a CRM, find one that can scale with your business. I know entrepreneurs who settle for anything cheap out of convenience then grow increasingly frustrated when they have find something different. There’s a lot of time invested in learning and customizing CRM. Switching to a new system can feel as torturous as getting a divorce!  No matter your budget think long term and take time to date a few CRMs before making the commitment. 

5: Contact management features

If you believe that data entry is a time suck then this tip is definitely for you. Data entry and time spent searching for administrative “stuff ” doesn’t add direct value to your business. It’s not a profitable way to spend your time so if disorganization is slowing down your productivity, look for CRMs with features like card scanner, email tracking, follow-up and  reminders. Investing in a CRM that has at least three contact management features will help you organize your business, increase consistency and be more productive.  It’ll reduce distractions so you can work on the projects that matter.

Still need clarity? Schedule a free strategy call.

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What is Customer Relationship Management CRM?

When I started my business, I didn’t know anything about anything. All I knew was that networking was essential to my business success (Not that I knew how to network, but that’s a different story). So I hit up all the free networking events I could. It wasn’t long before I accumulated business cards and had to figure out what to do them.

As the business cards grew, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an electronic program I could use to help me sort and track my connections? A program that could help me track sales or something to remind me when to follow up and stay organized?”

As it turns out, there is such a system. It’s called a CRM

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. It’s a series of systems companies use to manage their business relationships. These systems are bundled together in one software for your convenience.

Think of your local cable company. They have a series of systems that they bundle together for your entertainment needs. They combine internet, cable and telephone services into one plan for your convenience.

CRMs operate in similar way as they combine multiple systems and house them on 1 platform to help manage your business relationships. Each system is made up of different functions for easier relationship management.

So what systems make up a CRM?

There are four main systems to a CRM. Some software platforms have features from all four, while others have features from two or three systems.   Functions from at least two systems are considered CRMs. I’ll list and briefly explain the four systems.

Contact Management:

Are you looking for a program to track conversations and connections? Do you need software that segments clients, import contacts and delivers newsletters to your people? Contact management systems automate data entry, appointment scheduling, and organize your contacts to deliver personalized communications to your clients. If you’re relationship focused, look for a CRM that specializes in contact management.  These CRMs are usually the least expensive in price.

Conversational Management:

Do you have a team heavily involved with the sales process?  Do you make decisions about clients as a team and need a system that includes an area to house group conversations? A conversation management CRM will include features that create transparency for your team.

Sales and Leads

Are you focused on sales goals? Do you need a way to track sales conversions and pipelines? Project management tools, lead scoring, and close rates are all features you’ll need to meet your goals. Sales and Leads CRMs are great for increasing sales by delivering data analysis and automating your sales process.

Marketing Automation:

Are you focused on sales funnels and email marketing? Maybe you need landing pages and opt-in widgets? Marketing automation CRMs are the most expensive and robust. They are great for increasing your online presence.

CRMs have been around since the 70s and companies use them to scale their business by increasing productivity, streamlining sales, improving client retention, etc. The -ways in which  a CRM can improve business are plentiful. In fact, those who successfully implement a CRM see revenue increases between 16%-1,000% (smallbizcrm)

No matter where you are in your business, using a CRM will drastically improve your business, saving time and increasing revenue.

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
Are you looking for ways to stay top of mind?
Contact Us to discuss your CRM needs!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett

 

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How To Nurture Your Network

We all know the importance of having a strong network.  In fact, Porter Gale’s famous quote, “your network is your net worth,” sums it up nicely. Yet the problem lies in how to keep the connections going.

Sure, it’s simple to have the first coffee meeting with someone you’ve met from an event, but it’s the structure the first meeting helps determine how the relationship plays outs.

Building your network can be intimidating and awkward initially, and like every new skill, it takes repetition to master. So here is a simple process I use to build and nurture my network.

  1. During your first meeting ask a lot of questions. Being interested in the other person means you’re asking questions about them. Small talk helps to loosen things up and build trust. In fact, small talk is vital to learning what drives your new friend. The personal stuff is what matters to us so asking about family and hobbies do more than build rapport. It’s intel. I’ve had people ask me how they can support me and I rarely ever have a definitive answer, but ask me what are my challenges, and well, I can talk for 5 minutes on that. So think about what information you want to learn about that person and have a few questions on hand in case you freeze up or forget.

Hint: Think F.O.R.D Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Ask questions from each group.

  1. Clarify your intentions for the one on one meeting. Why do you want to meet this person? Are their clients your ideal clients? Are you interested in making a purchase? Do you have possible referrals for them? If you’re interested in meeting with them to pitch your business and it was not agreed upon, you should rethink your meeting. Networking is about exchanging information, developing contacts, exploring collaborations, etc. It’s not about pitching your products unless the other person agrees. If someone agrees to meet for networking reasons and then wants to hear how you can help them, that’s a sales conversation and should be scheduled for a different time. BOOM! Easy follow-up! Actively listen for how you can help them.We often listen to respond and when this happens, we can’t remember what was said. Active listening help you pick up on nonverbal communications and see the full picture your new friend is painting for you.

Hint: Think of the conversation as time of possession. The goal is to all the other person to talk more than you. If you’re doing the majority of the talking, either you’re pitching, or you turn into a prospect.

  1. Agree on the next steps before parting ways.By the end of your meeting there should be 1 or 2 action items to exchange. This could be an introduction, the start of a collaboration, cross marketing, sending information, becoming accountability partners, etc. If they are interested in hearing more about your solution, the next step is to schedule a discovery meeting/ sales conversation.The next steps should be mutually agreed on and restated before you part ways.

Hint:If you’re being genuine about wanting to help the other person succeed, it’ll come through so don’t worry about being salesy. Just have a desire to help. This alone can add value.

  1. Send an email follow-up/ Thank you card. A super easy way to increase business and strengthen connections with your new friend is sending thank you notes. Yes, it’s old school and I’m sure you’ve heard of this. If you haven’t tried it, or fell off the wagon, YOU’RE MISSING OUT! Sending a personalized thank you via snail mail is uplifting. It also keeps you top of mind, which is what you want. With most advertisement switched to online marketing, most of us only receive bills in the mail. There have been times I sent a thank you notes to new friends and the saw them at an event. They were happy to see me everything time and appreciative of the note. It’s an easy way to build influence in a non-salesy way.  Sending follow up emails is also a common way to keep the connection going, especially to reiterate action steps. You can and should do both.

Hint:Send the follow up email right away then send the thank you note the following week.

  1. Check in with your new friend.Once the first connect happens and action items are completed, it’s time to check in with your new friend. Ask them about a project they’re working on, their latest accomplishment, follow up on an introduction you made, etc. Then share what you’ve been working on. You can send a message via email, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. If you start to wonder about your friend, then that’s a perfect time to check in. If you’re concerned about how often you check in, you can do it once a month. The frequency will vary depending on the relationship and what is being worked on.
  2. If you made several attempts to reached out over a period of time without a response, it’s time to move on. Not everyone you meet with will be a good fit or will be responsive to your communications. It happens to us all. I have a follow up system I use where I reach out 6 to 8 times over 2 months. If I don’t hear from them after the 8th communication, I’ll move their contact to my cold list.I’ll reach out to them less and use different methods to communicate. If they’re still non-responsive after 6 months, I’ll archive them. Whatever your follow-up sequence is, including a cutoff point is essential to keeping your CRM current and functional.   Your CRM is the heart of your business and if it’s cluttered with people who aren’t helping you do business, then your CRM isn’t of much value. Keep your CRM healthy and clean by clearing out those contacts who you’ve haven’t heard from in years.

Hint:Your follow-up system should include 2-3 communication methods. Using email as the only way you contact your people grows stale and sends the message you don’t really care.

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!
Are you looking for ways to stay top of mind?
Contact Us to discuss your client retention blueprint!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett