By the title of this blog, I’m sure that you are thinking: “Why is a sales guru going to tell me that I don’t have to use a CRM?” or “Finally, someone is killing the myth and letting me off the hook!” Sorry, I’m NOT … Gotcha!
I meet with many SMBs, micro-businesses, and solopreneurs. One of the questions I always ask goes something like this: “So, how do you maintain information on your existing and potential customers – you know, your sales pipeline?” More than 80% of the time the response to this question is either (1) a blank stare, or (2) an enthusiastic recitation of how well their Outlook emails are organized or the size of their Excel files. In fact, one young saleswoman excitedly took me from the conference room to her cubical where I saw a 3’x4′ white board with multi-colored sticky notes laid out in a horizonal funnel with her sales process steps – I almost cried, but I had to chuckle. I wish I had taken a picture.
So, why bother using a CRM system?
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything about your customers in one place?
- Is your memory and filing system really that good? A CRM actually makes you look smarter!
- Do you really want to be efficient? Proactive, not reactive?
- Would you like to see trends, set metrics, and be reminded what needs to be done?
- Is forecasting next year or next month hard, or as easy as printing a report?
- What if a salesperson leaves? Wouldn’t it be nice to have their information?
- Would you like to make more sales, grow revenue, and increase profit?
But CRM’s are expensive and complicated!
First, CRM’s are not expensive anymore. The one I personally use is $15 per month. There are even free CRMs for micro-businesses and solopreneurs that have good functionality. Yes, you can find a CRM for $250 per person/per month but almost no SMB, micro-business or solopreneur needs that much functionality.
Second, today’s CRMs are very user friendly and their complexity is highly overrated. Many apps on your smart phone are much more complicated than a typical CRM. You can easily upload your contacts from almost any format and a CRM will walk you through how to automatically map your fields. You can easily send emails from a CRM or bcc an address to your standard email system that will attach them to a contact in the CRM. You can customize the terminology to match your company lingo and change the number of steps in multiple pipelines to match your sales process. You can add notes from calls or meetings, attach quotes or proposals, add drawings, link contacts, etc.
Yes, you have to use a CRM and add data, but this is far easier than looking for that notebook or email thread. Saying that a CRM is just too complex is just an excuse to do nothing.
How do I choose a CRM and get started?
I realize there are many CRMs (over 300), and it can be a significant effort to analyze, compare, and select the perfect CRM for yourself or your company. I have implemented many different CRMs for my clients, Trusted Advisors and friends. Frankly, I really don’t care which one you choose – just pick one! Don’t be like the >80% that do nothing!
I personally use Pipedrive and often implement it for clients that have little or no experience with CRMs. I choose Pipedrive because it is very simple to use/understand, easy to customize for your pipeline(s), very graphical, and has a great mapping feature helpful to those with geographical territories.
If you are ready to get started or at least try, this link will give you a FREE 30-day trial and then a 10% discount for the first year when you decide to keep it. There is NO obligation, and you don’t even have to give them your credit card. Simply login, upload some excel or email contacts (sorry, it does not accept multi-colored sticky notes), use the standard pipeline or customize it to your specific wording/steps, and TRY it! Really, this can be done in under an hour and if you want to learn more, there are some great YouTube videos that can help you become an expert. It is time for New Year’s resolutions – make a resolution to make your life easier, more productive, and significantly more successful! JUST DO IT!
You might also want to take this free, 10-minute Sales Agility Assessment. It will give you a customized report with action items that you can start implementing now. If you or your team is ready, I am also a certified Integrity Selling® Training facilitator and have open enrollment classes once per quarter or can provide company training based upon availability.
Prior to founding Stumptown, John spent 30 years leading sales and marketing teams ranging in size from 3 to over 40 people, with revenues from $1M to over $75M. He has led multiple companies included on The Fastest Growing Private or Technology lists (Portland Business Journal) for 18 years and on the INC 5000 for four years. John knows how to grow companies and is passionate about mentoring both sales teams and owners to obtain exceptional success.