What are the benefits of a CRM system in your business?

We've already spoken about how a CRM is, in many ways, a glorified address book. On top of that, your CRM asks as a to-do list, scheduling activities that you need to do in order to achieve your goals.

If you're managing your prospects and leads, then you want to model your sales pipelines in your CRM. Normally this means defining "deals" and tracking them through various stages. And when done right, this gives you some real predictability to your business - you can measure your conversion rates, your sales cycle and then predict your revenue over the next few months. If you'd like to know more about this, take a look at my free book "Six Steps to a Sales Pipeline".

If you're managing your existing customers, your CRM should show your order history. Who's bought what? What can you up-sell or cross-sell to them? How satisfied are they with your service?

And if you sell physical items, your CRM could possibly manage your stock levels too - should you run a promotion on product X because you've got a few too many in the warehouse?

No matter what happens, your CRM wants to be involved with your accounts package - when people buy, you don't want to be dual-entering the data. So some sort of invoicing option is useful too.

As you can see, a CRM can touch on pretty much any part of your business. Which is why the bigger packages take so much configuration and setup, and why those consultants charge such hefty fees.

Take action: Which parts of your business do you need to track? Which parts could be better organised?

Rahoul Baruah

Rahoul Baruah

Rubyist since 1.8.6. Freelancer since 2007, dedicated to building incredible, low-cost, bespoke software for tiny businesses. Also CTO at Collabor8Online.
Leeds, England