4 Little-Known CRM Secrets

John Follett


Everyone knows customer relationships are key to growing a business of any size. And customer relationship management (CRM) software provides an easy way to manage those relationships and stay on top of opportunities and leads.

CRM is by no means the new kid on the corner. You could say Rolodexes and contact databases from the 1980s were the predecessor to the tools we have today. But the users of early systems wouldn’t even recognize the CRM software and features we have now. Today’s CRM goes far beyond simply managing contacts, making it easy to track sales, assign tasks, and oversee projects.

Even though CRM isn’t new, there are still little-known facts you can use to give your company a competitive edge.

1. Not Everyone’s Using It
Before you assume that your competitors are using CRM, check out this statistic:

More than 23% of businesses are not using any CRM system.

What does that mean for you? It means if you’re leveraging the power of CRM, you have the opportunity to take more market share from your competition. Having a 360 view of your leads, their activities online, and your interactions with them can help you predict what their next moves will be.

2. It’s Not Just About Contact Information
Where early CRM systems focused on providing databases of customer information (the basics, like contact info, purchases made, etc.), now it’s much, much more. Tools like the Insightly Gmail Gadget, which lets you connect your emails directly to contacts in your CRM, assign tasks to your team, and manage projects, are taking CRM to never-before-seen levels.

The data you can view in your CRM helps you see patterns in purchases and alerts you if purchasing patterns change. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to your client and find out why their orders have shrunk.

3. Social Integration Gives You a Competitive Edge
Another way that CRM has evolved is by integrating social media streams within a single profile. This helps you deepen relationships, both with leads and existing customers. You can be proactive about your communication and find more opportunities to connect.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to close a deal with a contact and you notice on his LinkedIn profile that he was recently promoted. You can reach out with a note of congratulations. It might not be the thing that wins you the deal, but he’ll definitely be impressed that you were paying such close attention.

4. CRM Makes You More Money
Rather than focus on the investment of time and money (and realistically, it’s not much of a financial investment for most businesses), focus on the return. In a recent survey of CRM decision makers, Nucleus Research discovered that successful projects are generating a return of up to $5.60 for every $1 spent. This return is measured in various ways, particularly the improved productivity of users in key departments (up to 15% for salespeople, for example).

Many CRM systems are geared toward small businesses, and are priced accordingly. So don’t assume that you have to pay what enterprises pay. A simple and affordable CRM solution is out there waiting for you.

CRM is still a stealthy tool to help you close more deals and win more business. Just don’t tell anyone your secrets!

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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