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CRMs: What, Why, How

Tuesday, 05 February 2019 Posted in Insights

CRMs: What, Why, How

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager, but I bet you knew that. There are many CRMs out there. Some have been around for many years and they vary from the very basic to the very complex. How do you navigate all that and make the right decision?

Nowadays, more often than not when someone refers to a CRM, they are really referring to a marketing and possibly sales automation platform. That is really quite a bit beyond the traditional definition of a CRM, but more and more, businesses are looking for at least some marketing automation capabilities from their CRM platform. In this article, by ‘CRM’, I’ll be referring to this more advanced-type platform.

OK, I assume that you see the benefits for having a CRM platform in your business. But if not, we’ll talk a little bit about why later. Since we are making the assumption that we need one, the question becomes, which one? Not all that long ago, there were only a few decent CRMs available. Some quite expensive, others less so. Today expensive ones still exist (and I am not saying the expensive ones are not worth it, but are they worth it to your business?), but there are also many less expensive options (one website lists 530). Let me just name a few: Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, Salesforce, Hubspot, Pipedrive, Monday, Zoho, Ontraport and there is even an open-source CRM called SugarCRM.

ARGGGGGH! How do you choose?….Well, first figure out what you want it to do day one, and then what you want it to do in the future.

Additionally, some CRMs are designed for larger or smaller companies. Some include eCommerce, some do not. Some do a couple of things, others do many things (including even your website platform). Once you have your list of requirements, you are certain to find several that meet those requirements.

But perhaps the most important criteria in choosing a particular CRM is support and availability of independent partner experts. While you could do it all yourself, you have a business to run, and you do not need to become a CRM expert too.

Revisiting your ‘why’

I shouldn’t assume that you see the benefits of a CRM platform to help with keeping track of the behavior of your customers and prospects, delivering content to your customers and prospects, and maybe even selling them something.

In case you don’t, first let me tell you that, after it’s set up, it saves you time and money! Here are examples of what I and some of my clients use their CRM platform to automate.

  • I have a client who owns a martial arts school. He has an automated campaign that markets to the parent of each child-student to invite them to have their child’s birthday party at the studio. When the child’s birthday has passed, the campaign waits until next year to ask again. After a certain age, it stops asking. He has to do literally nothing and he gets birthday parties booked!
  • I have an integration product that is managed by the eCommerce of my CRM.
    • When the product is successfully purchased, the new customer is given access to the product’s membership site
    • he is sent an email with his login information
    • then I send him a greeting card with a gift in it thanking him for his purchase
    • Again, all automated.
  • Here at Zacaw, we, along with many of my clients, send out regular newsletters to our clients and prospects. All managed by our CRMs. How do you think this newsletter was delivered?

In today’s business and entrepreneur’s world, we need all the help we can get by automating processes and staying in the front of our customers’ minds. A CRM can help, especially when coupled with an expert marketer and implementer for a particular CRM platform. At Zacaw, we are Infusionsoft Certified Partners and ActiveCampaign resellers. Plus we have a feel for many of the popular CRMs out there today. If you have any questions on how a CRM might help your business, please reach out to us.

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