Remember that as a child? At the top of the seemly enormous high dive platform that may have only been a few feet over the water - will I pass out on the way down? What's going to happen to me when I hit the water? Some think pure doom others are ready for the adventure. Some were able to jump off freely on their own, others needed a little encouragement to take the first step.
Like with trying anything new, taking a step into the unknown is, well, unknown to us. Selecting and 'implementing' a CRM (customer relationship management) software is really no different...but now, with our livelihood at stake, it's even harder to make a move to something different - for fear everything will come crashing down - or belly flop.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Over the years I have helped numerous people from the frozen panic of sitting on the proverbial edge of the pool - by focusing on one thing - simplicity. There are too many CRMs to name at present and they all do amazing things - some specialized for a particular industry others that provide incredible (but overwhelming) customization possibilities. We have narrowed down our focus to what we feel are the two best for any business: Zoho CRM Plus and Salesforce. Both of which are customizable to maximize any, yes any, business model. But you do not need to get overwhelmed by all of the things they can do...
Keep it simple.
What do you need to track - right now? That is the first question I would ask prospects and clients - after identifying the best CRM for them based on present needs, price point and future growth possibilities. Other posts talk about those features. Let's not worry about all of the other amazing things the software can do for you - let's focus on what's important now.
See, what CRMs do is help you keep track of stuff. With a CRM, you can log all communication with your prospects and customers, keep track of and measure the deals you're working on and much more - just by using it each day. The idea, if you're using it right, is that you do not have to continue trying to remember everything - just work towards moving things forward with your prospects / customers each day and record your activities and set tasks for the future. All of the information entered is instantly reportable at any time.
Most companies, if they do not have a CRM, typically manage their business with spreadsheets. If this is you, don't be embarrassed - you're not alone. Spreadsheets are easy to start creating the simplest tracking of what is happening in sales, operations, etc. The great thing about spreadsheets is they are basically the same structure as a CRM database - the columns equate to 'fields' in the CRM and the rows are the individual records. This means moving the data from what you have now to a new system is pretty easy.
So then what do you need really?
As mentioned before, there are a plethora of CRMs in the marketplace today. We have narrowed our focus to two - the difference between the two comes down to truly how much customization you may need in the future. If you are a larger enterprise, you are likely to lean towards Salesforce - it is the most customizable used by companies large and small - and likely will require a consulting firm to help implement it - but not always.
For most small businesses, Zoho CRM Plus will provide everything you need to support your customer lifecycle in an intuitive format without having to cobble together different software products hoping they fit together: from website engagement, social selling, product tracking, quoting, sales management, surveys, email/social campaigns, customer service portals and project management. Additionally, you have the ability to add on invoicing / accounting and inventory with connections to eCommerce options.
I know, it may seem overwhelming - again, do not think of all of the things it can do - just focus on what you need now...and go from there. The rest of it will fall into place.
If you use Outlook and spreadsheets to manage your business - you can emulate the same in either CRM - and be able to access from anywhere with any device. Think of the power! But start small - start by simply importing your accounts and contacts (look for other posts on how to do this) and learn how to then start tracking orders / deals / opportunities (other posts or our YouTube affiliate iLearnCRM). Everything can grow from that foundation. Take baby steps. Find a low cost advisor or coach to help you along the way if needed - sometimes it really helps to have someone encouraging you to just jump into the water.
Education / Learning how to use
Salesforce has developed their own TrailHead program to help people learn their software on their own for free. Zoho regularly provides webinars for their products - and you can find plenty of videos on YouTube if you have the time.
We are developing our own simple online series of courses to help people get started with Zoho Plus - as well as short videos on YouTube to help answer typical questions or to cover new features that may be helpful. It isn't rocket science - but some of the concept may be new to you - we like to keep it simple - keep the price right - and help our clients succeed. We would like to remove the anxiety - let us know how we can help. Feel free to comment below.
Need help choosing?
If you're not sure which one is right for you, feel free to give us a call, click on the chat icon in the lower right, or click the link below for our contact page for a quick consultation - we can help you identify your specific pros and cons of each as well as develop a simple migration plan to get started.
Contact us here
Dive in - the water is fine!
We would recommend starting with a trial - I guess this, in the theme of this post, is like testing the waters. :) If you go to the Salesforce website, you can easily start a trial there.
To start a free two week trial of Zoho Plus, click here.
David Edkins started his career at Hewlett-Packard; in finance. He thought he wanted to become a CPA and that HP would look good on a resume. After a year or two he realized he wanted to engage with customers directly by selling their consulting services.