Do you use a CRM?

Or do you continue to manage with a simple contact list that you maintain on a spreadsheet or smartphone address book? The problem with this approach is that it does not give you the intelligence when you most need it.

Many small business and practice owners often struggle with selecting and maintaining the tools that would make up their dream system and end up getting precious little in return for the effort they put in.

Here are  3 tips that could make a difference

Define the outcomes upfront:

Rather than go in with a vague idea of what you hope to get out of the system, write down the specific problems you want to see addressed. For example, if you are looking for  CRM applications, first clarify to yourself what exactly your business needs. Are you looking to improve your customer acquisition cycle and quote process? Track progress across stages towards sales closure? Tracing existing customer communications across email and other channels to ensure that customer CTQs (Critical to Quality issues) are not missed out? Being armed with the top 4 to 5 concerns that are very specific to your business is the first essential step. Today, CRMs have moved beyond being mere sales tools, as most people understood them. Team collaboration across departments and geographies, tracking of email campaigns and social media conversations etc are some of the  newer zones of value delivery for these systems

Map the current workflows for these outcomes as they happen for you today:

The mapping exercise may seem a bit cumbersome but it really helps clear things up for you. Once you have this on hand, you have an immediate advantage in evaluating what the tool has to offer. You will easily visualize the workflow alterations called for in the case of each tool under review. Now, don’t worry if this mapping exercise is not exactly your cup of tea. You can reach out to our workflow advisors who can assist you with it.

Assess the capability at your disposal:

Be realistic.  Thanks to cloud technologies and applications that are changing many rules in this digital age, the competencies demanded from various professions are changing. Accountants need to be far more tech savvy, for instance. However, don’t let this fact overwhelm you. Capability exists in teamwork, however small you may be. So the key question is about how you assemble your team. Are you innovating in this zone? You can take advantage of the talent spectrum of a virtual team. This talent spectrum can be engaged to just the extent of your need and managed on a continuous basis to provide you the capability that you need at a very affordable price.