Wednesday, September 24, 2008

5 Quick Tips On Increasing Productivity With A CRM Solution

A good content relationship management (CRM) solution can greatly assist your sales team in increasing sales and customer service effectiveness at each step of the sales process. From the early stages of gaining leads and investigating potential opportunities, to fulfilling orders and sending out invoices, a good CRM can keep it all under control--and increase productivity at the same time. Here are a few quick tips...

1. Choose the best solution for your company. There are a number of excellent competing CRM solutions available, all with their own good points. It can be hard to make the right choice, especially if you have no previous experience.

Take time to examine the available options. Do you want a desktop program, or a web-based solution? There are pros and cons for each, but generally the desktop solution has the edge in all round flexibility. Does it have all the features you need? The ability to report on just about everything is a big advantage. Not every CRM can do this. Ease of use with a low learning curve is another consideration. You don't want your staff taking weeks just to learn how to use it. The leading makes, like GoldMine or ACT!, and especially the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM, can do these things, some are better than others, of course.

2. Use the built-in reporting features of your CRM to maximize efficiency. This is one of the areas of a good CRM that is often underused. If you chose a CRM application that is unable to produce meaningful reports, or one that can only do a few basic reports, then you did not choose wisely.

The best CRM's will let you set up rules that force users to enter data in a certain way. That standardizes the input data, and when the data is always entered the same way, it can be filtered and output in the same way too. Meaningful reports from live data in other words. Reports that actually let you pinpoint the problems or weak areas and eliminate them or modify them. Reports that can highlight the opportunities or underused possibilities and exploit them or maximize them.

Most good CRM applications will do this for you. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for example, is one of the best and easiest to use to produce reports that can analyze and dissect everything imaginable.

3. Allow your sales people to effectively monitor themselves. Sales people want to do well. Their performance is crucial to results. When they can see where their weak spots are, and where their strong points are, they can adjust the way they work to produce better results in future. All this is child's play with a good analytics and reporting capability CRM, such as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Its reporting and workflow features allow operatives to monitor and view sales and lead data filtered in a variety of ways.

Increasing productivity with a CRM solution is easy when you make use of all its features. This is only possible when you fully understand what each feature does, and how it affects and complements other features. First and foremost, start out by knowing all there is to know about the application, and make sure that everyone else does too. Then, if that knowledge is not being properly applied, there can be no excuse.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM Analyst for a Toronto based company. His company, offers Microsoft CRM software Solutions www.crmsoftwareprovider.com Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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