Using Software to Better Manage Your Client List

Here is some advice on how to choose a Customer Relationship Management software option that best aligns with your business needs

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When you first launch a business, it’s usually pretty easy to keep up with your customer list.

As the business grows and the customer list expands, however, maintaining those relationships becomes increasingly cumbersome. If you’ve reached the point where you find yourself flipping between endless spreadsheet documents or juggling dozens of Post-It notes scrawled with client details, that’s a clear indicator that you need some help — specifically, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Not only does a good CRM system help you keep track of your client roster, but you can also integrate it with your sales and marketing activities to ensure a smooth, fluid sales funnel. There’s just one hitch: These days, CRM software options are more abundant than ever, and they’re not all created equal.

How can you ensure you’re choosing the right one for your business?

Taking it to the Cloud

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is whether you choose a cloud-based service or an on-premise one. Both have pros and cons.

Cloud-based servers are easier to work with and won’t require a lot of IT know-how, but you may be more limited in your ability to integrate with other applications. What’s more, you’ll face recurring cloud subscription charges. An on-premise CRM means you own the software and the data and can do with it as you please. But you’ll also need some real IT know-how to make it all work.

For mostcompanies, the cloud-based approach is probably the best fit for the first time using CRM software.

Knowing What You Need

You can get CRM software with plenty of bells and whistles. Of course, you’ll have to pay for those bells and whistles. 

Before you invest in features you may or may not need, make sure you have a good sense of what your business really needs in its CRM solution. Some of the most common CRM perks to look for include:

  • Keep track of all customer interactions
  • Take a more data-driven and automated approach to sales and marketing
  • Maintain strong relationships with your existing clientele
  • Improve communication between your sales and marketing teams

Along the same lines, think about any other apps or software tools you use in your business and make sure you find a CRM option that you can integrate with those existing systems. Think even about things like Office 365 and the Google G Suite.

Taking it for a Test Drive

It’s reasonable to request a demo of any CRM suite before you buy it. In fact, most of the best CRM vendors will give you a free trial, usually spanning about 30 days. Take advantage of this to get a feel for how intuitive and functional the software really is.

As you think about test driving a CRM program, I’d recommend starting with some of these industry leaders:

  • HubSpot
  • Insightly
  • Zoho Office Suite
  • Pipedrive
  • Nimble

Any of the options on this list will provide you with easy entry into the world of CRM, and hopefully you’ll quickly identify the perfect tool to help you manage your growing customer list.

About the Author

Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic, a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and she's currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, California and Dublin. Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects; often engages in content and social media marketing; and drafts resumes, press releases, web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.



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