CRM: Do You Really Know What It Is and Why It’s Like A Great Date

couple.jpgCRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a term you’ve heard about for so long. You know it’s important to your business but either think you have it already, you do have it but are not maximizing your use of it or you know you don’t have it but don’t have the time to implement it or think it’s too expensive to implement.
Have no fear, you’re not alone.
Most of you, according to a recent survey by CRM company Avidian, makers of Prophet, think that Microsoft Outlook and Intuit QuickBooks are CRM. In the survey of 200 business owners, across a range of industries and business employee sizes, Avidian’s research found that the person in charge of IT support was: the company executive or manager (25%), a dedicated employee (33%), consultant (20%) or no one (14%).
Only 16% of the respondents are sure they know what CRM is and 14% think they know what CRM is. 70% of respondents are not using CRM, yet 20% are at least discussing it.
Why is this survey important?
Using technology to better know your customers, anticipate their needs and sell them more of what they want or might want is a way to increase your own revenue while also ensuring that you build deep relationships with customers. Whether in a retail store or online, everyone wants to feel that they are special. A properly built CRM lets you convey this feeling over and over again, every day to customers.
CRM is more than just storing customer contact records. it takes 3 things:
1. Being able to capture the relevant information about customers to build the next relationship
2. Being able to find the information you captured about the customer
3. Being able to use the information to boost sales
Let’s use the analogy of a date.

You have your first date with the the young lady (I’m a guy so I’ll stick with young lady, if you’re a lady well you can pick a guy) and she tells you at the conclusion of the date how much she loves pecan ice cream. You are going on the next date and you can’t remember anything that she said in the first date. Well let’s pretend you miraculously bumped your head and you can remember that she loves pecan ice cream. For desert you decide to take your girl to a chocolate mint ice cream store. You bump your head again and realize that maybe you should take her to get pecan ice cream.
This was a stupid example, but technology is that bump on the head the young man in my example had. We have hundreds and hundreds of customers (or maybe you’re a solo consultant with 5), whatever the number you have customers feeding information to you. You’ve got to have a system in place to capture that information. Once you have the information you’ve got to find a way to use the information.
CRM helps you go on a successful date each and every time. Hopefully the customer gets so loyal and is so happy with your service that you “get married”. Maybe you have to raise prices a bit, the customer does not mind. Maybe the customer wants something out of the usual – you deliver. Why you have a deeper relationship than just a pure transaction based on price or convenience.