I've been asked this question by customers and prospects in just about every industry. From start-ups to 50-year old manufacturers, security companies to a dentist's office, folks are wondering how much attention they should pay to this term CRM. To be clear, I run in circles where things have always been done a certain way, so even many of them are just now starting to pick up on buzz words like CRM, inbound marketing, content, etc.
For those who are wondering and too afraid to ask anyone, here's a few reasons why you should use a CRM in your sales/customer acquisition process:
Keep track of your contacts
If you're responsible for selling, you get into at least 1 sales-related conversation each day.
That's 22 new contacts per month, and north of 250 new contacts every year. If you factor in one or two conferences and a handful of networking events, you've got to be pushing 500. That's a ton of business cards! You don't actually want to hang onto that many business cards do you?
A CRM can help you keep track of all those contacts, where you met, what they do, and what you last talked about.
Maintain a log of touch-points
Most sales processes take multiple touches with the same person or company. Phone calls, emails, and face-to-face visits can all be tricky to maintain from memory with multiple prospective customers at once.
Within each contact record of your CRM, you can log calls, emails, and meetings with each prospect, so you don't have to rely on memory to recall where you left off and when you last made contact.
Set reminders for yourself
Even the most basic CRMs have certain functionality, including the ability to set reminders for yourself to follow up with a specific contact on a specific date and time.
Jotting down reminders in the margins of planners or on the side of your desk calendar only goes so far. With a CRM, you can be automatically reminded via email to circle back around to a certain contact days, months, even years later (hopefully your sales cycle is a bit shorter than that!).
Need I say more? Most major CRM names have some sort of freemium account. These accounts have no or very low monthly fees, so it doesn't have to become a major line item on your budget quite yet.
Most freemium accounts come with basic functionality, and you have to be diligent about maintaining it without some of the more robust automation that accompanies more expensive accounts, but if you're just looking to start out, it does the trick!
Personally, I use the Hubspot Sales CRM, but have also used Salesforce, Dynamic, and Pipedrive. It's free and has a relatively robust set of sales tools that I leverage. I would love to hear from others what CRMs they use, recommend, love, or hate.