Use a CRM to Track Leads and Boost Business

Merav Levkowitz

Jan 16 2018

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Sometimes, running a business in 2018, whether large or small, can feel like an intense game of dodgeball. Clients and prospects can send emails, call, text, fill out contact forms on your site, chat with a live representative, and/or contact you via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. In an effort to make yourself easy to contact, these days it can feel like both your phone and desktop/laptop have become one big buzzing, flashing, about-to-combust notification party. How do you keep track of prospects across multiple platforms, especially when some of them are managed by different team members and at different times? How do you make sure no one falls through the cracks? And how do you stay on top of leads and ensure that they become happy customers?

Whether you’re a freelancer, you run a small or medium-sized business, or you work in sales or business development at a larger company, a CRM (customer relationship management) system can help you stay on top of prospects and leads and turn them into sales. Here’s why it might be time to ditch your Excel spreadsheets, whiteboards, and that wall full of Post-Its and embrace a CRM software.

Avoid dropping the ball

While you were away from your desk, you got a call about a potential project or new contract from an unfamiliar number, or a new prospect popped up in your inbox. These are the moments that make business managers thankful for their CRM tools. Instead of repeating to yourself, “I have to get back to so-and-so,” and moving that task from one to-do list to another – or worse, letting the email slip to the bottom of your inbox never to be found again – simply enter the lead into your CRM. There you can record the person’s name, contact information, and when he/she first made contact along with any other important details. A CRM also lets you set deadlines for responding, offers an option to use auto-responders, or delegate the task to someone else. You can track it all—points of contact, timelines, deadlines—in your CRM, so you not only never drop the ball again, and you’re actually one step ahead of the game every time.

Keep everyone on the same page

Shelby in Marketing connected with someone who is interested in getting a quote. Someone on Facebook left a comment asking about scheduling a free demo. How can a CRM help you capture these leads? It provides for easy, seamless communication between team members and departments – from social media to sales, marketing to business development, and beyond. Is your team distributed across different offices or even continents? Your CRM keeps you all on the same page and makes it easy to see where each lead and sale is in your funnel.

Make it personal

Miranda’s birthday is on Christmas Day, and most years she spends it diving in the Caribbean. Charlie has two kids, both of them in elementary school. Your customers aren’t just numbers—they’re people, too. Use your CRM to track the little bits of information they share about their personal lives (their kids, hobbies, favorite band, etc.), so you can give them a more personalized experience. This allows them to feel like the person on the other end of the line (or inbox) is actually interested in them as people and genuinely wants to provide them with the best possible service. When your customers are happy, they’ll keep coming back. (Note: don’t try to be overly friendly to the point where it doesn’t feel natural, and avoid being creepy or making the customer feel uncomfortable.)

Manage projects and teams better

Curious to see how your team is doing—who is making the most sales, how long it takes on average to turn a lead into a sale, or what proportion of leads actually convert, to name a few? Most CRMs allow you to create and share reports based on different parameters and that are customized to your industry. Plus, with a CRM, managers in different departments or partners in small ventures can stay up to date on the status of leads, make forecasts, and collaborate on data-driven decisions.

Ready to dive into the world of CRMs?

When choosing a CRM, consider how many team members will be using the software, what functionality you need, and what your budget is. Some CRM systems, like Pipedrive, are specially tailored to sales teams under 50 people, a great small business solution. Others, like Monday, are mostly team (or organization) focused but offer functionality for teams as small as five people and as large as over 200. This makes it easy to grow with the CRM software and to continue to track leads in the same way, regardless of how the office structure changes.

HubSpot, which focuses on sales and marketing professionals with its Sales Hub and Marketing Hub, offers a free CRM, called CRM Free, which promises to remain free forever. With no time limit and no limit on the number of users you can connect to your account, it’s a great way to get your feet wet in the world of CRMs. For devotees of G Suite and the Google ecosystem, there’s ProsperWorks, which was designed specifically for Google, including G Suite integration and a Chrome extension for Gmail. Design-wise, ProsperWorks even looks like Google’s products, making the learning curve more like a bunny hill than a double black diamond.

Conclusion

Almost all CRMs offer free trials, so you can check out features and pricing and give them a real, hands-on spin. It won’t be long before you experience a more streamlined workflow, including more successful lead tracking, follow-up, and outreach; better communication among your team, colleagues, or partners; and an overall boost in business.

So now, the question isn’t “to CRM or not to CRM?” but rather, “which one?”

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