Marketing Campaigns with CRM Software

A marketing campaign using CRM software can easily take your company to the next level.  CRM software can measure and fine tune all your marketing campaigns as well as identify areas in need of improvement as the campaign progresses with ease and simplicity. What’s more, a fully integrated, one click CRM system can provide immediate feedback to ensure that the time and money invested in marketing your business is always put to good use.

The success of CRM software in the marketing department lies in its ability to provide key details with the click of a mouse. The details provided with each click of any particular contact gives marketers access to a variety of information, such as product preferences or sales history, including logs of dispute resolution from emails. This information can easily be analyzed through detailed reports– a feature often added on to quality CRM software.

One of the best components of CRM software is its customizable flexibility. A diverse array of data types can be creatively linked to each contact. Your marketing team can also maneuver the contacts into easily accessible lists and categories designed and implemented according to designated protocols within the department. This means a complete arsenal of marketing information can be gathered in a single display with high visibility throughout the company.

Even better, the amount of time it takes to collaborate and plan marketing campaigns can be significantly reduced with quality CRM software.  Shared emails, documents and linked contacts means important information is immediately accessible to all who need it when they need it most. A dynamite marketing campaign that tracks and analyses progress and harnesses the power of marketing team collaboration begins with CRM software.


Why Sharing and Collaboration is Key for CRM Software

Sharing and collaboration is a key feature for CRM software users. The ability to leverage group potential can be invaluable, giving a company that proverbial competitive edge. With features such as document and email sharing, users have no need to create duplicate info or spend valuable time passing documents back and forth for review and updates. This and more can have profound positive effects on overall business.

Top companies understand and strive to utilize the unique benefits of teamwork and collaboration and often consider these “must-haves” in major business strategy. The right CRM software can help companies tackle the challenges of sharing and collaboration on many different levels within the company. Also, it can ensure targeted results for team efforts and shared participation for the benefit of each department and the entire business structure.

What does CRM software allow to be shared? Contacts, projects, company info, emails and calendar events are just a few examples. An excellent sharing and collaboration feature that some CRM software systems have is document sharing with document management.  Users can instantly share a document with other participants in the system and see a list of all the changes made to each document This document management feature is known as check-in and check-out with version control and it will allow a company to have an organized view of the life cycle of all documents.

When selecting CRM software for your company, be sure to look for the package that is readily adaptable to your business goals and outlook. Some CRM packages require an exchange server for sharing and collaboration which can be expensive so make sure to do your homework before you make this big decision.


CRM Integrated with Your Phone System

Considering a CRM integrated with your phone system? If so, you are not alone. This CRM software feature is in high demand as businesses look for better ways to increase prospects and generate leads, but how can a phone system integrated with a contact management software make business run smoother?

One way is by placing customer contact information, including sales history and other details right at the user’s fingertips during calls. A phone system integrated with a CRM has the ability to provide instant call display of the most important customer data with each incoming/outgoing phone call. This allows the user to always be fully prepared as the information is displayed right in front of them when the telephone call is coming in.

Another important feature of a CRM integrated phone systems is automatic recording of phone calls. When a phone call is made or received the integrated system will allow users the option to record calls and then automatically link those voice recording to the appropriate contact for future reference.

For companies hoping to move fast to close important deals on a consistent basis, it gets no better than having the opportunity to add a CRM integrated with your phone system to your company assets. The benefits are endless and the investment is worthwhile.


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Customizing Your CRM Software

Customizing your CRM software is a task that every company should undertake. It’s absolutely necessary to tweak and hone your software to fit your company’s unique and specialized needs, and with a few pointers and the right software, the process can be completely painless. Not customizing can leave your sales team or administration with software which falls needlessly below company expectations, so get familiar with and customize your CRM software as much as possible.

Not all CRM software allows customization, so be careful. When selecting the software that best fits your company’s needs, it’s crucial to choose a package with customizable features for a variety of unique processes. Software that allows users to customize contact fields, for instance drop-down menus, check boxes, date fields etc, provides an excellent level of customization. The best CRM software allows customization at no extra cost, so beware of customization that comes with added fees and expenses.

Additionally, it’s important to ensure that any custom choices you integrate into your software are not lost with system upgrades.This is especially important when the customized features selected cover critical or industry specific information. The goal of customizing your CRM software is to mold it into the perfect fit for your business and allow each user to have access and authority over each unique process. Thus the customization process should be designed to be just as easy as it is flawless.



Why Your Sales Team Needs CRM Software

The needs and responsibilities of most businesses are extremely numerous and diverse, but at some point almost every company will need to pose the question, why CRM software for my sales team? It’s a good question – one worth investigating further for a conclusive answer that’s ultimately best for the bottom line.

CRM software for your sales team, simply put, means an increase in the overall effectiveness of any sales operation. It eliminates the rigors of manually managing customer relationships or tracking sales progress and frees up a sales team to consistently meet sales goals and achieve desired results.

A CRM system is a reliable and secure investment that can improve the overall accountability and productivity of a sales team. Consider what business is like without a CRM system for your sales team. In today’s fast-paced, social network-driven society, businesses without secure and reliable data visibility, lead analysis tools and capacity to manage workload, follow-up and information capture often fall fatally behind the competition.

Some may argue that web-based solutions are better, given the amount of time and money that must be put into IT staff and infrastructure.  However, the very best CRM software places all customer information at the user’s fingertips and offers a fully integrated, customizable package at a one-time cost per user – creating a significant sales team asset and even more significant cost savings in the long term.

Why CRM software for your sales team? The list could go on and on. Our business world relies heavily on the cost- and time-saving solutions found in advanced technology reliable enough to ensure future profitability. Customer relationship management software for your sales team is an essential ingredient for survival in today’s changing economy.



How to Define Your CRM Software Requirements

Learning how to define your CRM software requirements begins with a basic understanding of what an effective CRM can do for your business. A CRM system is a great way to manage and support business activities such as, incoming and outgoing emails, calendar events, projects etc.

The best CRM software can even provide increased visibility and organization for many more office management activities.The next step should be to compile a definitive list of your top software requirements based on company goals, internet research and vendor demonstrations. This will allow departments to clearly outline the necessary requirements for moving your business ahead both in the short-term as well as the long-term. It can also help keep costs down and shorten the implementation process.

When defining the requirements for effective CRM based on company goals, consider what your company hopes to achieve with the software. If it’s an increase in overall sales, the software should provide support for your sales team that integrates communication lines among and between departments and saves time and effort in tracking and monitoring customer relationships and sales progress.

If the goal is to streamline office management processes, it may be smart to go with a fully integrated software solution that combines the ability to manage contacts with tools for overseeing document archiving and sharing and that offers phone integration and full collaboration among departments. Whatever the outcome may be, using a goal-oriented, business savvy method to define your CRM software requirements can be a very wise decision.


Do we need Contact Management Software

Contacts are a business’s bread and butter. They’re the points of forging ahead with continued lines of business; they’re the points to target when new businesses want to be developed. Now, the question is for most SMBs: is there a contact management software that (A) works, (B) is cost effective and affordable, (C) appropriate to your business and organization?

These are the fundamental points to run through, while trying to figure out whether or not a CRM system for managing contacts is the right fit for you and your business. Point-A is self-explanatory: you just want to make sure that the system does what it says it will do. See it in action; ask if you can trial the system or if there’s a live demo (with demo data to work with) online somewhere. Point-A also implies that the system has room for growth. And more and more these days, this implies being a cloud-based system—something that is hosted and accessible via the internet. This alleviates stresses and burdens (and costs) on your organization, so that your business can focus on its core competencies (instead of having to tinker with the latest set of security patches for a server or whatever).

Point-B is also straightforward. Given your budget, does the system’s price fall within an affordable range? But point-B also prods the evaluator to dig for value. “Okay, this system might cost a tad above market-, but it delivers on a ton of features, and we could possibly do a ton more business with this.” This might be a scenario you find yourself in.

Point-C is very contextual. “Appropriate” first has to deal with the culture of your company. Are the employees at your organization tech savvy, for instance? How will they take to this particular system’s interface? What sort of legacy issues, in terms of user habits, will you run into while transitioning from a current CRM for your contacts, to the new system? Again, a quasi-quantitative approach can be applied here: how much will it cost your business for staff to adjust to the new system? Do those costs outweigh the potential benefits at various time horizons?

These are some of the general points that one should weigh while trying to assess whether or not a new CRM (and particularly its contact management component) will lead contribute (or not) to higher profits for your business.


How to Profit with Contact Management Software

Contact management software choices can be quite baffling when you consider what’s available. Making the best choice for maximizing profit can be even more difficult. For businesses with existing CRMs, owners may be only skimming the surface when it comes to profit potential. With a few hints and tips however, you can yield the return your investment deserves.

First, contact management software is most beneficial to business when it’s easy to use. The less cumbersome the better. Simple systems are easier to learn which will decrease the time it takes to get things up and running, and what saves time, saves money. Beyond that, the ability to streamline communication between different users- clients, customer service, execs and bookkeepers – is best achieved with the least complicated CRM software available. Better communication means, you guessed it, better profits.

Data security features should be top priority when considering how to profit with data management software. Contact management software can only be profitable when it’s as safe and secure as possible. Without the right security features in place, the risk of having information stolen or mishandled can outweigh any legitimate investment costs, so be sure to include this factor when selecting the right CRM for your business. For CRMs already in use, stay ahead of the curve by equipping your system with the latest updates frequently.

All in all, how to profit with contact management software can be summed up with one word: flexibility. Go beyond being synched with Outlook and shoot for software that transcends functionality limitations across as many different platforms as possible. If you’ve already selected your software solution, try to increase usefulness by ensuring that top execs are are well-informed of the system’s quirks and functions and are willing to lead the way forward with implementation and improvements down the line.


Can Outlook be used as your complete CRM solution?

Many individuals and businesses are using Outlook as their personal information manager. This is useful if you want to manage basic contact management information, calendar events and emails. However, there are many limitations to Outlook that most businesses cannot overcome. As a result businesses today will simply use Outlook as the front end contact management software solution but require an additional CRM package on top that can fully integrate with Outlook and provide features like document management, complete email management and full sharing and collaboration without the need of a complex exchange server.

A basic but key feature Outlook does not have is the ability to archive documents let alone link documents to a contact. Almost all users require the functionality of associating documents to a contact so they can access files, pics or pdfs that are related to the contact. Some more feature rich CRM systems take it even a step further and provide a full blown document management system with check-in/check-out and versioning control. With this users can edit documents without having to save multiple copies of that document and still see all the previous versions.

Outlook is great if you need to just manage a small number of emails in your inbox but most people today have multiple email accounts and receive hundreds of emails every day. Many business users of Outlook tend to create email folders and then manually drag and drop each email to the specific folder. This is useful but if you need to do it 100 times in a day this can of course be a huge waste of time. However, there are CRM solutions on the market that can provide auto email linking. This means your emails will automatically be linked to a contact as long as the contact has been added to the database.

Outlook also does not include an easy solution for SMB’s that need sharing and collaboration. With Outlook a company can set up an exchange server and begin sharing contacts and calendars but this is usually very expensive and requires an IT person to properly set up. The best option is to purchase a CRM software that has all sharing and collaboration built right into it and that way it does not require any exchange server implementation.

Overall, Outlook is a great tool if you want to perform basic tasks but I would not recommend Outlook as the complete CRM and contact management solution for any professional business or individual user. The best option is to purchase a CRM software that integrates with Outlook that way you have all the additional functionality but can keep using Outlook, an already familiar system.


Successful Email Marketing with your Contact Management Software

Email Marketing is still the most popular medium when trying to send a personal message to your leads or customers. Sure, social media is easier to use and can instantly reach all of your desired recipients, but it is missing that personal touch included in an email marketing campaign. This personal touch at the very least should include the recipients first and last name and should give the feeling that each recipient is the only one receiving the email. Most contact management software solutions should include such an email marketing tool and if they don’t, I would recommend switching to one that does.

The alternative would be to use a 3rd party software that only does email marketing, but this presents many problems. The most prominent problem is that it creates inefficiencies and becomes very time consuming. Rather than using a single software for your email marketing needs, you would now need to export the contact list from your contact management software to your 3rd party email marketing software every time you want to update your list. Another problem would be that you could not view all email communication between yourself and the recipient but rather than only view the bulk emails sent out. If you have an integrated contact management software with email marketing, you could view all these emails within the software.

When sending a bulk email please remember to include links to all of your social media accounts, such as your Twitter and Facebook so that interested recipients could follow you on Twitter and like any of your posts on Facebook. If you have any videos promoting your product, it would also be beneficial to include a link to them, or even better, create your own YouTube channel, upload all of your videos to there and send a link to your YouTube channel.