Recently, I decided to change banks. I decided to make the change because of the convenience the new bank had to offer. My prior bank had very limited hours and locations making the switch an easy choice; the switch was totally due to more convenience. Looking at interest rates never crossed my mind. At this time, looking for a competitive interest rate is a lost art. Whether my money is under my mattress or in an account, growth really isn’t in the works for me, which really got me thinking about investments. I am at a point in my life where I can be somewhat risky. I have stocks, IRAs, and a 401k – but that all comes at a risk. I am not a betting man so the casinos are out. If only I could invest my money in a savings account or CD and get a decent return I would be happy. If only I could invest in something that would give me a decent return at little risk. Unfortunately, those options are not available any longer.
As a business owner or decision maker, I am sure this weighs on your mind all day long. What investments are good for your company and what aren’t? Should I invest in marketing, sales force, company vehicles for better image, or should I stay put and see what happens? Because of the risk, decisions on investing money have been extremely difficult. Maybe things are going well so you decide to keep things the way they are, but before you know it you are behind the eight ball and your competition is breathing down your neck. Or maybe, you decided to invest in something new and things have not gone so well; now you are reluctant to move forward. The reality is we don’t have that gigantic crystal ball to look into to get the right answers. So we rely on advice and education to make the best decisions. These decisions are tough when running a company. One wrong investment could lead to a bad year which could lead to the competition gaining more market share.
I want to introduce an investment that any business owner who has a service or sales staff should take advantage of. An investment that is the closest to a guarantee as you can get: Customer relationship management, AKA CRM. CRM is a tool that helps engage, manage, and retain customers. There are many things that CRM can do: things like identifying all your accounts, leads, and opportunities. It stores all of your contacts and all the touches you have with a particular contact. You can also take advantage of CRM mobile which allows you access to contacts from your office, on the road, or at home. You have access to your customers 24/7 allowing for an increase in productivity from your staff. There are many other things that CRM can do but that names a few.
Obviously, this tool makes sense but at what expense? The cost of this investment varies based upon the number of users who need access. There are also integrations and customizations that can be done, making your CRM truly a perfect fit and streamlining the overall sales process. The more users, integrations, and customizations you add, the more expensive it gets, but the features and benefits alone makes investing in CRM an easy decision. What I am about to share with you makes investing in CRM an absolute must as a company: According to Nucleus Research, ROI on Customer Relationship Management projects was $5.60 per dollar invested in 2011, but today has blossomed to an unprecedented $8.71 return (http://www.improveit360.com/home-pros-investing-in-crm-yields-8-71-for-every-1-spent/). Even if the investment was only half right, that’s a 435% return. Right now, I know what you are thinking…impossible! The reality is…yes, it’s possible and yes, it is a smart investment. CRM works great when it is set up properly. The correct field customizations and implementation will set your staff up for success. If the onboarding of CRM is done the right way, you can expect this high rate of return on your investment. Returns like this have fueled the continued growth of the CRM industry…and maybe your competition.
I understand habits are hard to break and sometimes change can be extremely difficult. I can also see how hesitation on an investment can happen as well. A “too good to be true” light could go off, making CRM not even an option. I would recommend starting with a conversation and sharing your current situation. Technology makes life so easy nowadays and really helps increase productivity. For those of you who have CRM and do not see a difference, I would recommend speaking to someone as well. My question would be, “What is it about your current CRM you do not like?” Chances are, the onboarding process was not done correctly and your staff are not using CRM to its full capabilities. CRM can be confusing to some and possibly overwhelming because again, change is hard. I recommend making things right with your CRM; take advantage of that investment. Either way, whether you have CRM and it isn’t working or you don’t have it all, a conversation should be had. The power of CRM is there and is available. Invest in something that will pay off. Invest in CRM and watch productivity increase like you could have never imagined.