How can CRM help manage a business?11 May 2020
We have a lot of blogs discussing how to use your CRM to manage the various departments and teams within your business. We talk about getting your sales team on board. Using OpenCRM to manage projects. And the tools you can use to support your customer service team.
But what about your business as a whole? How can you use CRM to improve at that management level?
And in a single phrase, the answer is:
Managing the Strategic Plan for your Business
Strategic planning is vital in managing a business. You have to know where your company is going and that you have all the resources necessary to support it when you get there.
And the project management tools within your CRM system can certainly help with that. But there are so many other tools that will inform your plan, help you implement that plan, and impart the details of that plan to the people who need to know.
Informing your plan: using your CRM Reports
This is the stage of business management that most people associate with CRM systems.
And why not? At the end of the day, your CRM system holds a ton of valuable and important data that relates directly to your customers’ relationship with your business.
It can tell you what people are spending, what they’re purchasing, what is causing them problems, who is interacting with your marketing collateral, and so on and so on.
Gathering that data, reporting on those numbers, and using them to guide your decision making around your strategic plan is huge.
Is the data always right?
It’s hard for me to say this coming from a background in academia…you also need to know when to follow your gut and when to follow a graph.
There will be times when all the data is pointing to a certain pattern that doesn’t fit with the management plan you have for your business. And in some cases, the best outcome will be to change your plan.
In other cases, however, the right decision will be to strike out on a different path. Go out into the great unknown and discover that new territory.
A CRM won’t help you in those cases. But if you’re gathering the data, it will tell you if that part of your plan was a success.
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Implementing your plan (and getting everyone on board)
The various elements of your strategic plan will require changes to be made within your business. And then managing how those changes are implemented and adopted.
These changes may be new products, branding or messages for your customers, new processes or adjustments how you manage existing processes, or even entirely new departments.
Most of these will require (at the very least) small changes to be made in your CRM system.
New products will probably “just” be created, but changes to your branding or company messages will need new email templates (or adjustments to existing ones). New and adjusted processes may require new custom fields, layouts, picklist options, or templates. Some changes may even see your business jumping into a previously unused area of the system.
And that means configuration and training.
Spending some time as part of the planning process to work out how changes will be reflected in your system is essential.
But how do you get people on board with them?
All of these changes can be disruptive your team. Making the adjustments in your CRM is the simple part…getting your team to adopt them? That’s a lot harder.
We’ve discussed the idea of implementation troubles in other blogs, so I don’t want to talk about it too much here.
But the big take away from a business management point of view is really down to communication! Tell people why the changes are taking place and how it will benefit both them individually and the wider business.
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Imparting the details: the art of communication
And that takes me neatly down to my last example of how you can use CRM to manage your business: communication.
When it comes to communicating important news and information about your business, you really can’t go wrong with using a CRM. That’s because communication isn’t just about sending out an email or text message.
The true art of communication is about sending that message to the right people at the right time. And for that you need a way to generate a list of people who meet certain criteria, craft a message that fits in with your branding, send the message, keep a record of that message, keep track of the replies to the message, and let everyone else in your organisation know that the message has gone out.
And you can do all of this in a CRM system…keeping these vital communications within the history of all the other communications you have with your customers.
It isn’t just restricted to your customers either! You could be sending out important information to prospects, suppliers, former customers, personnel…pretty much anyone who’s information you hold in your CRM.
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Managing a business takes a lot of time, effort, and resource. If you can find tools and systems that make this easier and more efficient, you will. It’s just sensible. And CRM is one of those tools…honestly, we couldn’t run OpenCRM as a business without using OpenCRM as a product.