How, and why, to implement your first CRM

Business development without a CRM system is like running your accounts without a financial system; possible but very hard work.

Yet CRM has a poor reputation as clunky, expensive or overly complicated.

You can avoid these issues by recognising that technology doesn’t fix our problems, it empowers us to fix our problems.

A subtle but important distinction and one Mike picks up in the first lesson of this series.

1 – What is CRM?

CRM, or customer relationship management, is a process. It is not a technology.

Unfortunately, this distinction has become lost in recent years with the explosion of systems designed to support CRM but it’s an incredibly important distinction.

CRM is about efficiently managing a lot of relationships with your clients and prospects. Technology can help, but it can also hinder this process.

Especially if the process itself is not clear or poorly understood.

Mike brings this to life by showing how he ran his own CRM in the 90’s with nothing more than a Rolodex and day book.

2 – Loading your CRM data into Outlook

Hopefully, you now understand CRM can be very easily deployed without any technology but we don’t recommend starting with the paper basis Mike demonstrates.

However, technology can bring with it benefits such as data security, task sharing, reportability and visibility. Vital benefits for a scalable business.

Given the number of suppliers for CRM we felt it better to demonstrate the processes on something more widely accessible, Microsoft Outlook.

It’s secure or should be, and widely available with a small learning curve

Our first lesson has you loading your contacts into the right places to get started.

3 – Setting up Outlook Categories

The bedrock of any technical CRM is to understand where in the process each contact is, be able to zero in on particular stages of the process and to track contacts movements.

We keep this simple to get started and Kirsty will walk you through setting up categories in outlook.

Once done you’ll be able to easily monitor your progress, focus on the right people at the right time and all with just a few clicks of the mouse.

4 – How to Display your Outlook Tasks

So with your contacts loaded and appropriately categorised its time to get into the nitty-gritty of CRM.

Mike’s example with day book and Rolodex showed how he would have 100’s of contacts yet each day he easily focused on just the few that needed his attention there and then.

This is the beauty of CRM at scale, you never get overwhelmed by the number of contacts because you never really look at more than a few at any point in time.

Kirsty will show you how to repeat Mike’s steps by extracting just those contacts that need your attention here and now.

5 – Managing CRM Contacts in Outlook Tasks

With a focused list of just the contacts that need your attention here and now you’ll find you are much more efficient at keeping in touch with your contacts.

But it is important that you keep certain information as you move forwards and maintaining updates is all part of processing a task.

Kirsty will walk you through what to do as you process each task and connect with your contacts.

6 – Summary

Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a CRM all at no cost other than a bit of your time.

But we’re under no illusion that you are suddenly and seamlessly running it. New processes take time to embed but once they do the benefits will be more opportunities with less effort.

Mike just wants to round off the lessons with some encouragement and hints about making your CRM work for you.